• 1 to 1-1/4 pounds beef tenderloin (filet mignon), in
  • one piece (traditional) or two pieces (simplified)
  • 1 recipe puff pastry [see notes] or flaky short crust
  • pastry [see notes]
  • 1 cup white mushrooms
  • 2 to 3 shallots
  • Madeira (a medium-dry, neither rainwater nor malmsey;
  • or substitute medium-dry sherry)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: pate with truffles or Madeira, about 1/4 lb


1. Make the duxelles: Mince the mushrooms and shallots as fine as possible, to the size of sesame seeds or smaller. In a medium skillet, melt half the butter over high heat and saute the mushrooms and shallots in it till all the water renders out of the mushrooms. Add a tablespoon or so of Madeira, then cook slowly till just moist, with no liquid. Test for salt; you won't be adding any more to the beef, so this will have to do. Remove from heat and let cool.
2. Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
3. In the same saucepan (or a larger one if required for the single piece of beef), melt the remaining butter. When it sizzles, brown the beef filets lightly on all sides. If using single-serving pieces, just let the outside edges sear quickly for rare beef; for medium-rare, cook for up to a minute on each side, adjusting cooking time upwards for those who prefer more well-done beef. Remove and let cool.
4. If using pate, slice it thinly (remember that you'll be able to spread it) while still very cold.
5. To assemble the Wellingtons (no, not boots:-), place the pate on top of a piece of beef, then half of the duxelles mixture. Roll out an 8-inch square of pastry about 1/4-inch thick and wrap around the beef, spreading the duxelles around all sides as you go. Seal the open edge with a little water and place, sealed-side down, on a baking dish. Beat an egg yolk and brush the top of the pastry with it. If desired, cut decorations (leaves, flowers, representations of the Duke of Wellington's family crest) out of spare pastry and fix these to the crust with more egg yolk.
6. Bake for 15 minutes, or till the crust looks golden-brown and flaky. When done, remove from the oven and let stand for 5 minutes, so that the meat draws in its juices.


Tricks and Tips

Make sure that the pastry is cold when it goes around the beef. Make sure that the beef is cool when the pastry goes around it. Otherwise, the pastry will soften, droop, and sag before it cooks. Likewise, cool the duxelles before spreading them on the pastry.

Some restaurants cook this at a higher temperature for less time, resulting in a more brown crust with a more rare interior. It's fine, as long as the crust is cooked. Nothing ruins a beef Wellington for me like saggy, gooey crust.



MacGourmet downloadBeef Wellington -- Original and Simplified. To import, drag image to your MacGourmet recipe box.


2 servings