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20100512

Blighty's Beef Wellington Recipe

Good old Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington is destined to be forever remembered more for his boots than his military prowess. Despite being a brilliant general, it is Wellington Boots that spring to mind whenever his name is mentioned.

But what is the connection between a pair of "wellies" and a popular and delicious meal made with beef? Probably only that the beef is encased in a "boot" of pastry. It is certainly one of my favourite meals; here is how I made it:

Ingredients
  • One tenderloin or similar cut of beef for roasting
  • Pastry (I used my favourite high-rise puff pastry but regular pastry will do just as well)
  • Quality mushrooms (go for flavour - I used Shiitake mushrooms)
  • Liver Pate

Preparation
  • Rub the roast with oil and cook in a pre-heated oven (400F) for 20 minutes or until the outside of the roast has browned - do not overcook!
  • Allow the roast to cool then cut into individual serving sized pieces
  • Roll the pastry out into squares big enough to wrap around the beef portions
  • Spread liver pate on the pastry and set aside
  • Finely chop the mushrooms and cook gently in a little milk until tender
  • Spread the cooked mushrooms on top of the pate
  • Lay each piece of beef on top of the mushrooms and fold the corners of the pastry over the meat, taking care to seal the joins carefully
  • Bake at 400F for about 20 minutes or until the pastry turns golden
  • Serve immediately

John's Notes
I was really very surprised how well this recipe worked. The total cooking time for the beef was only about 40 minutes so I was pleasantly surprised at how tender the meat was. Beef Wellington is traditionally made with Fois Gras which is produced by force-feeding ducks until their livers swell. Like many people, I have reservations about Fois Gras so I substituted ordinary liver pate.

You can use almost any mushrooms (Gordon Ramsay even recommends wild mushrooms but, in my humble opinion, that is dangerous lunacy that could get you poisoned). I chose Shiitake mushrooms for their strong flavour.

This recipe makes individual servings of Beef Wellington, but you can also wrap the entire uncut roast in pastry and then cut the finished product into slices for serving - your choice.

Beef Wellington is easy to prepare but, because the meat must be partially pre-cooked, you should begin preparation a day ahead. Give it a try - I guarantee you will enjoy it.

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