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Simple Beef Wellington with Dijon mustard

December 17, 2020

Beef Wellington on a plate

Beef Wellington was first thing I cooked when I had people round for a ‘proper’ dinner party i.e. sitting round a dining table rather than crammed into the kitchen. Entering the room triumphantly with a generous rounded golden dome of pastry, cutting into it with a satisfying crunch to reveal moist, pink fillet steak surrounded with a soft blanket of Dijon mustard, soft mushrooms and onions, the thrill of serving something to your friends which is definitely not a weeknight meal but something delicious to be shared.

The first cookery book I remember buying was The Cook Book by Terence & Caroline Conran from Habitat. I carried it back on the bus in a carrier bag with a chicken brick (a 1970s trend) which was so heavy my arms ached for days. There were no pictures of the recipes but some lifestyle images of aspirational occasions including one where they broke chunks off a huge slab of Parmesan and floated lighted Amaretti wrappers up to the ceiling after eating Beef Wellington. I longed to be part of this (very affected) world but came down to earth (or modified my dreams) to just the main course.

Beef Wellington on a baking tray

Some recipes call for some eggy crêpes to be wrapped around the meat which is a bit fiddly. In recent years, a recipe that uses prosciutto instead of crêpes has taken off, promoted by Gordon Ramsey. This is not traditional and the porky saltiness fights with the beautiful beef in my opinion. The classic original calls for pastry, beef fillet, mushroom stuffing and a generous coating of good quality Dijon mustard around the beef to enhance its flavour. I use Maille – this is a French recipe after all.

Making Beef Wellington takes a little bit of courage (rolling the pastry is a knack and getting the temperature in the middle right a bit nerve wracking) but this is a simple recipe where all the ingredients shine. It can be made ahead up to the stage where you wrap the pastry around it and put in the fridge. Just paint it with beaten egg and put in the oven. It might take a little longer to cook as the meat is not at room temperature (but you need to keep the pastry nice and cool).

Try it for your next celebration dinner or as a fantastic thing to share when your friends and family come round.

Beef Wellington or Beouf Wellington

  • Servings: 5-6
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 1kg centre cut of beef fillet (from a tenderloin)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons of Maille Dijon mustard
  • 60g country bread without crusts
  • 600g mushrooms (white, chestnut or mixed)
  • 1 knob of butter
  • 1 red onion, chopped finely
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped finely
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 500g puff pastry
  • Plain flour (to dust)
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • Sea salt and ground, black pepper


Directions

Preheat oven, and a baking sheet, to 200˚C (180˚ fan) and arrange shelf in lower third of oven.

Pat the fillet of beef dry with kitchen paper. Put a tablespoon of oil in a frying pan and heat it until it shimmers. You want it to be as hot as possible. Sear the fillet of beef on all sides and the ends, browning in parts. Turn it regularly so that it doesn’t cook inside.

Remove and, with a brush, liberally coat the fillet with Dijon mustard in an even layer. Leave to cool.

In a food processor blitz some fresh bread into medium-sized crumbs. Remove to a large bowl.

Break the mushrooms into large pieces with your hands and blitz in the food processor. You might have to stop and stir the mixture a couple of times so the mushrooms don’t blend to a mush. The pieces must be quite small but leave some texture. Alternatively, you could chop by hand.

Melt a knob of butter in the frying pan over a medium heat. Sauté the onion and garlic with the thyme leaves until it softens but doesn’t colour.

Transfer the mushrooms to a sieve set over a bowl. Take out the mushrooms a handful at a time, squeezing to remove as much water as possible and put into the pan with the onion mixture.

Cook, stirring frequently, until all the water has evaporated and the mixture holds together. Take the pan off the heat, season the mixture well, leave to cool then stir into the bowl with the breadcrumbs.

Dust your work surface with flour and roll out the pastry evenly to a large rectangle, about 30cm x 40cm.   It should be about 3mm thick so you might need to roll it larger. Trim to size (you can decorate the Wellington with the trimmings later if you wish).

Carefully transfer the pastry to a piece of greaseproof paper slightly larger in size. Paint a 5cm margin around the sides and the top edge with beaten egg.

Starting at the edge nearest to you, spread the mushroom mixture evenly over the pastry up to the 5cm margin on three sides but right up to the bottom edge. Put the fillet of beef lengthways in the centre of the pastry. Roll up the pastry away from you around the fillet using the paper to smooth it firmly around the meat. You want to remove any air pockets. Press the overlapped edges together with the handle of a spoon and then position it with the seam underneath (if it overlaps too much trim the excess – a big double layer of pastry may not cook through). Fold the pastry at each end of the Wellington like you are wrapping a present. Use an extra dab of egg wash if you need to, sealing it firmly. Brush all over with the beaten egg.

Transfer the greaseproof paper and wellington onto the hot baking sheet and cook for around 25-40 minutes depending on how well done you want the meat, and the pastry is golden (if it starts to brown too much cover loosely with tin foil. Carefully insert a meat thermometer from the side right into the centre to check the temperature. It should be 50˚C for rare, medium rare 60˚C, medium 65˚C and well done 70˚C.

Remember that it will carry on cooking while resting and the ends might be a little bit more well done.

Remove from the oven and leave to rest for 5 minutes, then cut into large slices. Serve with gravy and lightly cooked greens.

This recipe was commissioned by Maille, and, as I have always used their mustard, this was a pleasure. I only write about things that I genuinely cook with or endorse.  All opinions my own.

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. December 17, 2020 5:35 pm

    I love these classics. It looks wonderful. And happy Christmas to you!

    • December 18, 2020 2:20 pm

      Happy Christmas to you my dear – thanks for all your lovely comments this year. It’s the feedback that keeps us going sometimes.

  2. December 17, 2020 6:12 pm

    Oh my gosh Sally!
    My children requested Beef Wellington for Christmas Day this year, and I was wondering how to go about it! You are my angel from culinary heaven!!
    Thank you!
    Hope you are well darling, and enjoying life in the beautiful rolling hills of England.
    Sending lots of love and Merry Christmas!
    T.xxx

    • December 18, 2020 2:19 pm

      I am thrilled that the timing was so great. Seems like a lot of people are considering making this instead of turkey. Your children have the same good taste that you do 🙂 And culinary angel … Merry Christmas and much love to you all

      • December 28, 2020 11:37 am

        Well culinary angel – you delivered the goods! As always. Followed your recipe to the letter and the result was sublime! Perfect in every way – not least because it looked amazing, tasted delicious and didn’t create last minute panic in the kitchen! Loved having you by my side on Christmas Day – hope your day was wonderful too!
        Thank you for always inspiring and guiding us through the deliciousness of recipes and ingredients.
        Much love Sally!

      • December 28, 2020 4:10 pm

        You are so so kind Tara, I am thrilled to hear it turned out so well. I’m sure you r culinary prowess and style also contributed. Wishing you the happiest of new years – we all deserve it don’t we.

  3. Preethi permalink
    December 18, 2020 8:36 am

    Gosh, its been a while since I made my first Beef Wellington and I was contemplating doing it for Christmas instead of chicken this year. It is actually a simple recipe and gets the wow when you bring it out…haha.

    • December 18, 2020 2:27 pm

      You are so right about the wow factor! Would love to see yours if you make one. Merry Christmas

  4. December 18, 2020 10:05 pm

    This looks incredible! I really need to make a Beef Wellington one day!

    Merry Christmas Sally!

  5. January 15, 2021 11:44 am

    Looks greattt! I am so happy to find your blog. I hope you like mine too but yours is very unique and thoughtful!

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