Beef Wellington

Sliced Beef Wellington Stuffed with Mushroom Duxelles and Jamon Serrano

My father is a big Beef Wellington fan.  There was a restaurant in Hato Rey back in the eighties, Maxim, that served filet mignons with a spread of mushrooms and paté, wrapped in puff pastry and baked until the pastry turned flaky and golden.  When we were planning my wedding, he suggested having it as the main course and we even tried it at the menu tasting.  When Papa’s birthday came up, I knew I had to give this dish a try even though I had never made it before.   Anyone can get by with a decent recipe and a healthy (?) dose of atrevimiento/chutzpah, right?

I don’t watch “Hell’s Kitchen”.  Gordon Ramsay’s on-screen persona does not appeal to me at all.  My sister and her boyfriend do, so when we gathered at my parents’ (where I cooked the meal) my chosen menu of Beef Wellington and risotto was met with some of that reality TV stigma/infamy.  Turns out that both of those dishes – along with scallops, as I learned through the FFwD crowd – are recurring tests at that TV show.  I could have used a viewing of one of those Beef Wellington episodes in hindsight.  Let this post be yet another cautionary tales on the perils of overcooking beef tenderloin.

The recipe I selected, Tyler Florence’s Ultimate Beef Wellington, states that the tenderloin needs to be removed from the oven when it reaches an internal temperature of 125°F, so that after resting it would come up to 145°F (medium rare).  Since Papa likes his steaks cooked to medium (160°F), I took the meat out when it hit 145.  By the time I sliced through it, it was already cooked to medium well on the verge of losing its pink center.  The layers of Dijon mustard, mushrooms duxelles,  serrano ham, and pastry captured the heat in the meat, speeding the cooking process during the resting period.  There were some redeeming qualities: the meat remained tender and moist despite the higher temperature.  Searing the tenderloin before wrapping it in the pastry and allowing it to rest between steps ensured the juices stayed in.

I doubled the original Tyler Florence recipe to generously serve eight persons and take home some leftovers. The recipe as written states it yields six to eight servings, but I know my people.

Beef Wellington
Adapted from Tyler Florence’s Ultimate Beef Wellington
(serves 4-6)

The Mushrooom Filling

  • 1.5 pounds white button mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the mushrooms with the shallots, garlic and thyme and pulse until finely chopped.  If you are working in batches, try to distribute the shallot and garlic pieces evenly by “load”.  On a large sautee pan, heat the butter and olive oil over a medium flame, and add the mushroom mixture.  Cook for at least twelve minutes, until the mushrooms have browned and all of the liquid  has evaporated.  Season the mushrooms to taste with salt and pepper and allow to cool.  This step can be prepared a few hours in advance – just make sure to press any remaining moisture in the mushrooms with a paper towel.

The Beef

  • 1 3-4 pound beef tenderloin
  • olive oil for searing the tenderloin
  • 10 slices of jamón serrano or prosciutto
  • leaves from 4 sprigs of thyme
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 sheet of puff pastry, thawed right before using
  • 1 egg, beaten

Season the beef tenderloin with salt and pepper, and coat with olive oil.  In a Dutch oven or large heavy bottomed pot, bring about an extra tablespoon of olive oil to medium high heat.  Sear the tenderloin on all sides, until browned  on all sides.  Remove from the heat and allow to rest until cool.

While the meat rests, lay on a large cutting board  a piece of plastic wrap large enough to wrap the tenderloin in.  Place the slices of ham on a single file on top of the plastic wrap, and with a spatula, cover the ham with a layer of the mushroom duxelles, about 1/4 inch thick.  Sprinkle the thyme leaves on top of the mushrooms.  When the meat has cooled down, rub the tablespoon of Dijon mustard, and place the tenderloin on top of the ham/mushroom slices.  Roll the tenderloin in the plastic wrap, forming a log like this:

Beef Wellington - Tenderloin Wrapped in Mushroom Duxelles and Jamon Serrano

Seared Beef Tenderloins, Wrapped in Jamon Serrano

Place the tenderloin the refrigerator, and let it rest for 30 minutes. After 20 minutes, preheat the oven to 425˚F.  On a large floured surface, roll the puff pastry out to 1/4 inch thick rectangle.  Place the tenderloin in the center of the pastry, and fold over the longer sides while tucking in the edges.  Trim any excess puff pastry, and seal the edges with  beaten egg.  Brush the pastry with the remaining eggs, sprinkle with extra salt, and cut a few slits on top of the tenderloin.

Beef Wellington - Tenderloin with Puff Pastry, Egg Wash and Slits

Bake tenderloin for about 25 minutes, or until its internal temperature registers 125˚F. Remove from the oven, and allow to rest until it reaches the desired level of doneness.  Cut into thick slices and serve.

Baked Beef Wellington

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Adriana is a financial analyst by day, avid home cook in the evenings, and food blogger and runner in the strange hours between those two. When not in the kitchen concocting meals and stories to pass around, she is out looking for the next great bite (or the ingredients to make it at home), checking what's new at the market, or planning a trip around great food and wine.

19 Responses to “Beef Wellington”

  1. November 16, 2011 at 10:25 pm #

    Oh – very nice!
    I almost thing the chutzpah is the most valuable ingredient in the kitchen 🙂 What a lucky dad to have such a thoughtful daughter.

    • November 16, 2011 at 10:33 pm #

      He has two of those! My sister made bienmesabe, my grandmother’s signature dessert (think coconut/cinnamon tiramisu). It was definitely a special meal!

  2. November 17, 2011 at 12:02 am #

    Sounds good. Love it.

  3. November 17, 2011 at 12:40 am #

    Wow – that looks delicious! I’ve never made Beef Wellington – although my daughter (who doesn’t cook a lot) makes it frequently. Thanks for the tips and for some reason, I zoomed in on mustard being added…that sounds SO good!

    • November 18, 2011 at 11:23 am #

      I really liked how the mustard balanced the meatiness of the mushrooms… It’s funny, the mustard was the step I almost missed, so I was very aware of the flavor afterwards.

  4. November 17, 2011 at 1:06 am #

    Your beef wellington came out so pretty!! I love this dish but have never tried making it myself. I agree, great tips!

  5. November 17, 2011 at 4:43 am #

    Adriana, this is absolutely stunning – including your lovely wee added pastry decorations on the top! One suggestion is change them next time to stars, as your Beef Wellington totally deserves it. All great tips for an extra special dinner. First class!

    • November 18, 2011 at 11:28 am #

      Thanks Jill! I actually got those cookie cutters because of the Beef Wellington. I had seen such pretty decorations with the pastry in the days before making it, I knew I had to give it some flair.

  6. November 17, 2011 at 10:01 am #

    So impressive! This dish is still on my “to-do” list.

  7. November 18, 2011 at 7:20 am #

    Stunning dish, Adriana!!!! I may have to make this one for Christmas! Congrats on the Top 9 today!!

    • November 18, 2011 at 11:29 am #

      It might be a great dish to make during the holidays, especially since you can work on it ahead of time. Thanks Lizzy!

  8. November 18, 2011 at 10:45 am #

    Considering just how much i love beef wellington, I haven’t had it in way too long. I lvoe your little puff pastry flowers! 🙂

  9. November 18, 2011 at 11:01 am #

    I’ve had this on my list for sometime to make, thanks for the caution regarding the temperature. Congrats on the Top 9.

  10. November 18, 2011 at 11:23 am #

    Wow! Talk about impressing your dinner guest. Congratulations on the Top 9!

  11. November 18, 2011 at 12:35 pm #

    I’m suitably impressed. Nicely done.

  12. December 4, 2011 at 7:54 am #

    Wow, just found this on foodbuzz and im glad, going to grab a coffee and do some sunday morning reading!

  13. December 15, 2011 at 9:55 am #

    Yeah, i pretty much watch Hell’s Kitchen and believe in the hype that Beef Wellington is a diificult dish to master! Bravo to you for trying and making it look good / easy. Some people just have “the touch”!

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