My new version of Beef Wellington pertains the luxuriousness, which made it bully in the first place. But gives it a seasonal lift, if you want to really spoil your friends this Christmas, this is the perfect special occasion dish.
Beef Wellington has to be the ultima indulgence, one of my all-time favorite main courses, and it will definitely be on my last supper menu. My version is a lot lighter and sexier, and for Christmas, I'm gonna give it a lightly twist. First of all, the fillet beef. Now, look at it! It's beautiful. First, the most important part is to sear it. Salt and pepper. The fillet is the leanest and the most expensive cut on beef. It comes from underneath the lower backbone, a part of the animal, which has barely a little muscle, and this is what makes it such a tender cut.
Very very hot pan, olive oil, and let it roll around the pan. We're not cooking the beef. We're just searing it, which will really help to give it a little layer of flavor. And beef in! Lovely!
Now use the side of the pan for the beef. Sizzle down the back when you tilt it. It's a secret to get it done quickly, and gives that really nice roasted flavor. Delicious! When you have color, very carefully, lift up the beef, and sear on the top, and sear on the bottom.
Out, and onto the plate. English mustard. What this does now? It gives it a bit sort of...a bit of heat. Just lightly brush the mustard over the beef. It's really important that you do this as the beef comes straight out of the pan. As the beef starts to cool down, it absorbs all that heat from the mustard. Horseradish is a really nice alternative as well. Just leave that to sit...and relax.
After the fillet rest, prepare the filling, which is called Duxelles. Put seven hundred grams of chestnut mushrooms into a blender, add a chopped clove of garlic, season with salt and pepper, and blend.
Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without chestnuts. I just crumble them in to the mushrooms. The chestnut's sweet nutty flavor works brilliantly with the earthy taste of the mushrooms. And because they contain more starch and less oil than other nuts, they have a much softer texture that is perfect for the filling.
These nuts are amazing. Smells like Christmas. Once the mixture is finally chopped, cook it in a hot dry pan. This removes the water from the mushrooms and intensifies the flavor. You see the water coming out? Instantly? Such an essential stage, really critical to the success of the Wellington that you dry...those mushrooms out and get rid of that water. To take the mushrooms up even further, some fresh thyme in there, which will make it really nice, light and fragrant.
When all the water has been fried off, remove it from the pan, and let it cool. Then start assembling the Wellington. Stage one, wrapping the beef fillet. First of all, these wonderful slices are Parma ham, and look, beautiful! Overlap it and sit it there. So the secret of overlapping the Parma ham is to make sure it contains all those juices coming out of the beef.
In the traditional recipe for Beef Wellington, a thick chive and spring onion pancake is used instead of ham. But the Parma ham makes this dish much lighter, and its sweet, salty flavor, really complements the mushroom and chestnut filling. A little touch of pepper, no salt, because the ham is naturally salty. Just a little twist of pepper, and then from there, get mushrooms.
And basically, mushrooms go on. Use the back of the spoon to spread them nice and thinly, half an inch from the ends. Rumpoles, no! Hop it! Every time there's meat, out he comes. Next, lay the beef on top and very carefully fold that over. Now, we're gonna lift that up and wrap the beef nice and carefully, so all that mushroom and Parma ham is incasing the beef, all over. Push it, nice and tight. Roll it, nice and tight, and you're all the way over.
Now, the secret from here is to really let the cling film do the work. Just nip it at the ends and squeeze. The more we do it, just creating this wonderful sort of cylinder shape. Off, and then just twist it nice and tightly. And the tighter it is, the more perfect the shape. Then place it in the fridge for fifteen minutes to firm up. Once it's sat, it's ready for the final wrap.
Then put the cling film, puff pastry, beef. Now, very carefully...first roll the puff pastry over the beef into the two edges of meat. Then trim off any excess pastry, and twist the ends together, to ensure the beef is completely sealed in its pastry case. To set that perfectly and get it really nice and firm, to make it really cylinder type, cling them over, and just pull that nice and tight.
But the big secret behind this is that it can be done the night before. And the tighter the cling film, the better the shape. The more even the shape, the more even it cooks. Put it back in the fridge for five minutes to firm up again. Then take off the cling film. Also the perfect Christmas cracker.
To give the pastry a lovely rich golden brown color when it bakes, brush it with the egg yolk. And then finally, you don't have to do this, but it's a chefy thing: a little bit of decoration. Back of the knife down, and then just twist and mark the pastry. When that comes out the oven...it's called the wow factor. Add a generous sprinkle of salt, to ensure the pastry become lovely and crisp. Then bake it in the oven at two hundred degrees for around thirty-five minutes, depending on how rare you like your beef.
Once out of the oven, it's crucial you let the Wellington rest for at least ten minutes. This allows the meat to relax and reabsorb its delicious juices, making sure it's tender and succulent.
Nice and gently. Hear that pastry! How crisp that is. This is the bit that we are waiting for. Oh wow! My god! I'm in heaven. And for me, if I want a really nice change to roast turkey, this has to be ultima from the table. It smells Christmas eve: the chestnuts, the mushrooms and that nice crisp pastry from the outside. Look at it! I'm ready to die and go to heaven.
For really special occasions, or as an alternative to turkey for Christmas dinner, serve my Beef Wellington with glossy creamy mashed potatoes, and shavings of exquisite white truffle.