I’ve always been interested in beef wellington ever since I started watching Gordon Ramsay videos, steak and pastry isn’t a combination thats common where I’m from, but the way Ramsay talks about wellington makes it sound so good, and his constant reminder that you should “never cut wellington too thin, it has to be at least an inch thick” has been stuck in my head ever since. Christmas seemed to be as good an occasion as any to try the dish out, after all, I’ve seen Ramsay cook it, how difficult could it be? I could not have been more mistaken, this dish was riddled with unforseen problems that only present themselves when its too late and you have to compromise. I did, however, turn this into a sous vide dish, it was a match made in heaven.
I failed arts and crafts in school
– Get a nice piece of beef tenderloin, this is where I met my first problem, on TV, Ramsay uses a perfectly beautiful cylindrical cut of beef. Reality? You’d be lucky to get anything remotely oval in shape. Oh, and it’s alot easier to work with a cut thats less wide (diameter), which of course, I didn’t realise untill I had bought the biggest one I could find.
– Season beef with salt and pepper, sous vide beef. I started out at 55C (medium rare), but pushed it up to 57C after about 1.5hrs because not everyone in my family enjoys overly bloody meat. Total cooking time was approx 4hrs.
– Brush the beef all over with olive oil, then sear it well with a butane torch
– Brush the beef all over with english mustard. English mustard, specifically requested by Ramsay, wellington is an English dish after all, you wouldn’t use none of that Dijon crap would you, you donkey.
– Get the biggest piece of cling wrap you can possibly get your hands on, this is serious business, it will make your life a lot easier. Because of the sheer size of the tenderloin I was using, I had to combine 3 sheets of cling wrap, which made it a lot harder to roll. Lay out Parma ham in a sheet on the cling wrap, to form a sort of plate. (Side note: I bought a really good piece of tenderloin and I was trying to save on the ham, so I used a mixture of bacon and Iberico ham, which I had lying in my fridge. You could use bacon, but be sure to render out as much fat as possible, the oil will seep into the pastry when its baking and make it soggy)
– Blitz mushrooms in a processor, then scrape the paste into a non-stick pan and cook out the liquid. Let the mushroom paste cool before spreading it over the parma ham.
– Place the tenderloin on the mushroom/ham, and roll using the cling film, similar to rolling a ballotine. Twist ends and chill for at least 10-15 mins.
– Roll out pastry dough, remove the cling film from the tenderloin, cover the tenderloin with pastry, sealing the ends with eggwash, brush the entire thing with eggwash before baking, and salt lightly.
– If you did it sous-vide, remember that you only really need to cook the pastry, mine cooked at 220C for about 20 mins, which was longer than I thought it would take, but I think it had something to do with the pastry I was using.
– Let the pastry/tenderloin abomination rest for 10-15 mins before cutting. And cut it at least 1inch thick at least.
– This is a great dish to do sous vide. Look at the photos, the beef is perfectly cooked end to end. It looks a little more uncooked than it really is, it had a much less chewy consistency that I associate with rarer meats than I expected, but I’ll admit that it was very red. Cooking wellington raw also means that you have no way of telling how cooked it is untill you actually cut into it.
– Everything was delicious, the meat drew really great flavours from the mushroom and bacon, it had great depth.
Served with Duck fat-Chive Mashed potatoes
– What a massive pain in the ass this dish was. I’d love to do this again on a smaller scale, but this is quite frustrating when you’re cooking a huge log of meat, having to vacuum seal it, make sure that the water bath is big enough to hold it.
-Sous vide does add a few extra steps to the dish, but it ensures that your meat is perfectly cooked, a small trade off if you ask me.