Turn your every day steak dinner into a celebration perfect for the holidays and learn tips how to make an epic beef wellington for beginners.
Turkey doesn’t have to be the only star of your holiday table. I created this epic and surprisingly easy version of the classic Beef Wellington as part of a sponsored campaign with the Florida Beef Council and a group of beef-loving friends, just in time for the holidays.
Let’s celebrate #Beefsgiving! (Think of Friends + Thanksgiving + Beef = Awesome!)
I think you’re going to love this Epic Beef Wellington!
Why Mess With A Classic?
The Classic Beef Wellington is a classic for a reason. The gorgeous beef, beautifully wrapped in mushroom duxelles, pâté de foie gras and crisp, buttery puff pastry is luxurious. It’s served at fancy events and restaurants around the world. Why? Because it looks spectacular, but it’s actually surprisingly easy to make. (and most of the work can be done the day before!)
However, the recipe and the long preparation can be daunting, which is why I’ve never attempted it before. It has been on my cooking bucket list for years. It’s definitely not the recipe you think of as part of an “easy entertaining” meal plan. But, I tried it and I’m here to show you how you can wow friends and family this holiday season, or make any day of the year into a celebration with this epic beef wellington!
Don’t let the 30 steps in the recipe scare you. Follow them and the tips below and you’re guaranteed a winner.
Do you have a cooking bucket list or “someday list”? You know, those dishes you’ve always wanted to make but keep putting off to someday? I have a long list and I can finally cross off Beef Wellington from it. Go Make Someday Happen!
Travel Inspiration: Savoy Hotel, London
Beef Wellington is one of the signature dishes at the famous Savoy Grill at The Savoy Hotel in London. This is now one of Gordon Ramsay’s acclaimed Michelin star restaurants. However, it was once run by none other than culinary legend, Auguste Escoffier!
The Savoy Hotel was Britain’s first luxury hotel when it opened in late 1889. It introduced electric lights throughout the building, electric lifts, bathrooms in most of the lavishly furnished rooms, constant hot and cold running water and many other innovations. Could you imagine? Those things were considered “luxury” back then. We take so much for granted today. This is something we can all be thankful for.
César Ritzwas the hotel manager (yes! he eventually opened the famed Ritz Hotel and the rest is hotel history). Auguste Escoffier was chef de cuisine – who is known as the father of modern French haute cuisine and the one who codified the mother sauces I had to learn in school! They established a standard for excellence in hotel service and dining that the industry still holds in high regard today. As a hospitality professional, I grew up learning about all they established at this historic hotel. Today the hotel is managed by Fairmont Hotels and recently underwent a £220 million renovation!
A popular destination for royalty, dignitaries and Hollywood elite for over a century! Winston Churchill dined with his cabinet. James Dean and Marilyn Monroe had steak dinners. Charlie Chaplin, Humphrey Bogart, The Beatles, George Clooney… the list goes on! You may just see a celeb at the table next to you.
Dining on gorgeous Beef Wellington for two (£88!) and Crepes Suzette flambéed tableside, luxuriating with bubbles and afternoon tea, happy hour cocktails at legendary American Bar and perusing all the intricate details of the historic Savoy Hotel in London is on my “someday list”. I hope to cross this experience off the list soon and “Make Someday Happen!”
What dining or travel experience is on your bucket list? Has it inspired any of your culinary creations at home?
The Classic Beef Wellington vs. My Epic Beef Wellington
The classic recipe calls for a whole tenderloin to be extravagantly topped with pâté de foie gras in addition to the mushroom duxelles. It’s also often wrapped with a thin herb crepe to hold the moisture as well as the puff pastry, made from scratch, of course. This sounds fabulous and if you want the classic, check out Gordon Ramsay’s recipe. But who has time for that? For me, it’s not as approachable to make the classic at home and keep it “easy” so I made some changes.
My Epic Beef Wellington version takes our favorite steak dinner: filet mignon wrapped in bacon with a side of sautéed mushrooms, caramelized onions and garlic, topped with fresh horseradish (which we make regularly) and dresses it up in a beautiful pastry. Instead of bacon, I used prosciutto. It gives added flavor, it is fancier and wraps easier around the beef. Plus it is less fatty, which would make the pastry soggy. (a big no no!)
This recipe has a bit of my “anything goes” mentality. I like to use ingredients that I can find easily in my local grocery store and that I keep on hand. You can wrap anything around your tenderloin, as long as you keep the ingredients as dry as possible. How about spinach and blue cheese?
I may change up ingredients around to update the recipe to my liking, but two things I don’t compromise on: technique and quality ingredients. You can take any recipe and make it your own but never skimp on using the best ingredients you can buy or take short cuts in preparation that impact the final product.
This recipe requires a bit of patience to go through all the steps. You may need a glass of wine, or two. But trust me. Turn up the music and start cooking. You got this!
A well-prepared Wellington is heaven. If not done right, it’s a mushy soggy mess. No one wants that on their holiday table.
I watched Gordon Ramsay’s video for his updated Beef Wellington recipe to learn the technique from the master chef himself. He is the king of Beef Wellingtons!
I followed most of what is seen in the video, however he omits and doesn’t show a few steps in the video which are probably assumed by a pro but crucial for a beginner. You will see the directions of my recipe give you a bit more explanation to help beginners tackling a beef wellington for the first time just like me. If you follow the steps, you will do just fine.
I am not a fan of Ramsay’s screaming at cooks in “Hell’s Kitchen” but I do enjoy his cooking videos. He makes this Beef Wellington sexy. It shows a different side of the talented chef.
I wonder what he would say about my plate on Twitter? He is known for his zingers!
Tips to Make the Perfect Beef Wellington for Beginners
1. Choose high quality beef. You want beef tenderloin. It’s a lean cut so you don’t have as much fat juices and as the name implies it is tender. If for any reason you overcook, it will still be edible. And if you undercook, it will be perfect. Be sure to trim it of all fat and lining.
2. Get organized before you start. Gather all your ingredients and equipment. It will help prevent your kitchen from looking like it exploded (and preserve your sanity!)
3. Sear the beef. It’s absolutely crucial to add flavor and keep juices in.
4. Mustard on Beef? I thought basting the beef with mustard was ridiculous, until I tried it. Wow. The mustard and the horseradish, which I am a fan of adding on the side after it’s cooked, do wonders for the beef during the cooking process. You can try this on any beef roast or thick steak. It adds an extra level of flavor that your guests will not be able to discern it is mustard. The acidity and spice take it to the next level. I decided to combine the mustard and horseradish and it was the perfect combo but you can do either one. You can also use your favorite mustard, English, Irish, Dijon, Spicy Brown, or yellow all work. They each do have different levels of sweet, tangy and spicy flavors so test them out first.
5. Don’t be afraid to do your thing. I’m a fan of sautéing mushrooms, garlic and onions to serve along side steaks. In the classic wellington, the mushrooms are turned into a duxelle, a French recipe that goes back centuries, where finely chopped mushrooms are cooked down into a paste. This paste is then used to surround the beef. In my version, I am using a variety of mushrooms, sweet caramelized onions and garlic in a small dice as opposed to a paste. I want to preserve some of the texture. Use any mushrooms you prefer. Mushrooms are always luxurious. Baby portobellas, white button, and cremini work well but don’t be afraid to use more exotic ones like morels, chanterelles and even a bit of truffles at the end. Some recipes call to add butter as you sautée them, however I kept the pan dry as Ramsay suggests and it was perfect.
6. Get rid of the liquid. You don’t’ want the liquid from mushrooms and onions making your pastry soggy. Cook for longer period on low heat and make sure to squeeze out all the liquid.
7. It’s important to cool down all the ingredients before you wrap them with the beef to prevent them from cooking further.
8. Don’t be afraid to season liberally with salt and pepper. Fat is flavor when it comes to meat. In the absence of fat you need to add other components to give it flavor. This is where the salt, pepper, mushrooms, caramelized onions and ham come into the picture. They bring the flavor. You are basically packing flavor and fat around a tender bland cut of beef.
9. The assembly process is a bit tricky. Not going to lie. My kitchen looked like a bomb exploded from all the dirty pans and equipment. I even set off the smoke alarm! Organize your steps and your equipment in the order you will use them, and follow the directions one step at a time. Breathe. Take it easy. Don’t rush the process.
10. Use lots of plastic wrap. You want to wrap tightly so don’t skimp on the plastic wrap. Wrap like you would wrap a sushi roll.
11. Wrap the beef really tight in plastic to hold shape, which also helps it to cook evenly. The tighter the better. I did not wrap tightly the first time but you an always go back and do it again. The trick is to turn the beef into a cylinder.
12. The key to not overcooking the beef, especially to get that beautiful medium rare red, is to completely chill the beef before you wrap it in the puff pastry and then again before you bake it. This is why it’s best to assemble the day before and chill overnight. This allows the pastry to cook for the desired time while the beef takes longer to cook than usual because it is cold.
13. You can make your own pastry (who has time?) or buy from grocery store. When you buy puff pastry, follow package instructions to thaw it before you use it. It can get sticky if it gets warm so be sure to put back in the refrigerator to cool.
14. Work magic with pastry. If the sheets of puff pastry are not big enough for the size of your tenderloin, combine sheets by overlapping them and using egg wash to bind them. Put the seams on the bottom and no one will know.
15. Get the ends of the puff pastry wrapped and sealed tight to hold in the steam. It’s like wrapping a present, folding the sides.
16.If you’ve handled the pastry too much and it doesn’t look smooth, add some decorative touches with extra puff pastry. I did a lattice on mine to “dress it up”. It came out pretty good even though I couldn’t cut a straight line of pastry to save my life.
17. Brush a lot of egg wash all over the pastry right before baking. This gives it a glossy sheen. Don’t skimp on this. You can use an extra egg yolk or the egg yolk alone if you want more golden color.
18. Sprinkle liberally with coarse sea salt before baking. It may seem like a lot, but it’s not. It gives the pastry a nice crunch.
19. Always use a digital thermometer and remove beef from oven at 110F to 120F. It will continue cooking the longer it sits. Be careful when you insert the thermometer to do it in an inconspicuous area and to pierce to center of the beef.
20. Let the beef rest. Always. But in this case, don’t wait too long to serve as the pastry does lose it’s crispness due to the steam coming from the meat. 10 – 15 minutes rest time is perfect.
21. Slice it thick. You want a 2 inch wide slice to present beautifully.
22. Go smaller but beware of going bigger. This recipe can be reduced and even made into individual portions. I would not recommend making it any bigger as the tenderloin will become difficult to handle.
The classic beef wellington recipe is given an epic twist with parma ham, mushroom duxelle, caramelized onions, garlic and fresh horseradish. Take your favorite steak dinner and wrap it in beautiful pastry, perfect to make any night a celebration!
- 2 lbs center-cut beef tenderloin trimmed of fat and lining
- Kosher salt
- fresh ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp fresh ground horseradish
- 2 tbsp mustard English Mustard, Dijon, or Spicy Brown
- 1/2 lb prosciutto ham thin sliced (16 slices)
- 2 frozen puff pastry sheets thawed
- flour for dusting
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp milk
- Coarse sea salt Maldon or Fleur de Sel
- 1.5 pound mushrooms portabella, cremini, white button, assorted mix, cleaned, trimmed and roughly chopped
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
- fresh ground black pepper
- 1 large sweet onion medium dice
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- fresh ground black pepper
Clean mushrooms to remove any dirt. Trim the stems and roughly chop. Mushrooms have high water content and tend to absorb water when soaked. I prefer to brush off the dirt without using water to keep as dry as possible. If there is a lot of dirt, then do a quick rinse in cold water.
Add mushrooms, garlic and thyme to a large food processor and pulse to get a chopped mixture with spreadable consistency but with a bit of chunkiness (think of chunky peanut butter). The classic recipe calls for the mushrooms to be processed until smooth like hummus but I liked to keep a bit of texture. You may need to do this part in batches depending on the size of your food processor.
In a non-stick skillet over medium heat, add mushroom mixture to the dry pan. Season with salt and pepper (I also like to use my favorite garlic salt). Spread the mixture evenly over the surface and cook on a medium-low heat for about 10 minutes or until the moisture in the paste has reduced and the mixture has the consistency of a spreadable pâté. Remove from heat and let cool. It is very important that this mixture is as dry as possible to avoid the pastry from getting soggy during baking.
When you have finished cooking the mushroom duxelles, remove the mixture to a plate and set aside to cool completely.
In the same skillet, add olive oil and sautee sliced onions on medium low heat until browned and soft. Season with salt and pepper. You want this mixture to become as dry as possible so cook until the pan is dry. Remove from heat, place in a bowl and refrigerate until ready to use. You may need to squeeze out any remaining liquid before you add to your wellington.
Pat filet mignon dry with paper towels and season generously with Kosher salt and black pepper.
Heat clean non-stick skillet on high heat and add olive oil. When the oil begins to smoke, add the tenderloin and brown from 1 to 2 minutes on each side, including ends for no more than 8 minutes. You want to sear the outside but leave the inside raw. Remove from heat and place on a plate.
Combine mustard and horseradish in a small bowl.
Brush filet with mixture of mustard and horseradish on all sides. As filet cools it absorbs the mustard. If you prefer you can omit the horseradish and only use mustard or vice versa. I like the combination of the two flavors as the horseradish adds a bit of heat, the mustard adds a bit of tanginess, and combined they will make the filet taste amazing.
On a cutting board, lay out a long piece of plastic wrap. It should be wider than the piece of beef and long enough to allow you to wrap it around the beef completely. If needed use two sheets overlapping.
In the middle of the wrap, layer prosciutto slices wider than the piece of beef. Be sure to overlap and shingle them so they don’t separate. Lay them vertically in front of you. Season with fresh ground pepper.
Spread mushroom duxelles in a thin even layer over the prosciutto using the back of a spoon.
Spread the caramelized onions over the duxelles in an even layer.
Place filet horizontally on top, in the center. Gently wrap the prosciutto around the beef using the plastic wrap to roll the mixture away from you. Wrap tightly and twist ends to get it cylinder tight. The tighter the beef is wrapped the better it will hold its shape and cook evenly.
Place the beef in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes to firm up.
Lay out a clean, long piece of plastic wrap. It should be the same length as previously used so that it is long enough to allow you to wrap beef completely.
Dust board or countertop lightly with flour. Spread puff pastry on board and, using a rolling pin, roll it into a rectangle at least 4-inches wider than the beef roll on its shorter side. It should be large enough to wrap the beef, leaving some excess on the sides. You may need to put together two sheets. Use egg wash to bind the seams.
Remove the beef from the refrigerator. Remove the plastic wrap from the beef wrapped in prosciutto, and place on one end of the puff pastry.
In a bowl, beat egg and milk to create egg wash.
Brush puff pastry around beef roll with beaten egg wash. Carefully wrap beef in the puff pastry using the plastic wrap to pull tightly. The long ends of the sheet should meet and you can trim off any excess. Tuck or pinch the short ends closed so the beef is perfectly encassed. Use the plastic wrap to tightly seal the puff pastry. Return to the refrigerator for at least 5 minutes to firm up again or leave in overnight.
Adjust oven rack to center position and preheat oven to 425°F.
Place a sheet of aluminum foil on a baking sheet. Remove Wellington from refrigerator, remove the plastic wrap, and lay the Wellington seam-side down on the baking sheet.
Brush the top of the puff pastry with egg wash.
Using the back of a knife, score a leaf pattern into the pastry but be careful not to cut through the pastry. You can also cut out shapes with the leftover pastry and lay those on top to decorate. Brush with additional egg wash after you decorate.
Sprinkle liberally with coarse sea salt. I used Maldon.
Bake for approximately 25 to 30 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and the internal temperature of the beef reaches 110º F for rare, 120º F for medium rare. The beef will continue to cook as it cools. Check at 30 minutes, if the beef is not at your desired temperature, leave in for longer but check it every few minutes. You do not want to overcook it. The use of a digital instant-read thermometer is very important.
Remove from the oven and let rest for at least 10-15 minutes before slicing.
If Wellington is browning too quickly and it has not achieved your desired temperature, cover it with a piece of foil to stop it from browning further.
To serve, Use a thin metal spatula to loosen Wellington from foil, then carefully transfer to a carving board. Slice off the ends with a sharp knife. Carve Wellington into thick slices, sprinkle cut surfaces with coarse salt, and serve.
Serve with your favorite side dishes.
There you have it! I will admit this experience was not free of anxiety – especially when I carved into the Wellington secretly praying it would be perfectly cooked and not overdone. It was perfect! This Epic Beef Wellington is guaranteed to turn your dinner table into a luxury affair worthy of The Savoy Grill!
Check out what my friends are making for their #Beefsgiving holiday table:
Cranberry Orange-Braised Instant Pot Beef Brisket from The Crumby Kitchen
Instant Pot Beef Roast from April Go Lightly
Italian Beef Braciole from Love and Confections
Roast Beef from Katie’s Cucina
Slow Cooker Beef Bourguignon from Girl Abroad
I would love to hear about your cooking bucket list and travel inspired recipes. Also if you make this Epic Beef Wellington recipe or if you have any questions, be sure to leave a comment below and post your photos on Instagram tagging #GoEpicRecipe.
Happy #Beefsgiving everyone!
Disclosure: This post is part of a sponsored campaign with Florida Beef Council. All opinions are my own and as always I only partner with brands I love to inspire you to #MakeSomedayHappen one delicious bite, sip and trip at a time. For more information about my guidelines, please read my disclosure policy. Cheers!