A traditional English dish, Beef Wellington is beef tenderloin coated with pâte, wrapped in puff pasty and baked in the oven. In this version by Chef Timothy Barton, beef tenderloin is topped with sautéed mushrooms enhanced with red wine, cream and veal glaze, a preparation known as mushroom ragout then wrapped in puff pastry and baked in the oven until golden brown. Two kinds of mushrooms are used to make this recipe: oyster mushrooms and button mushrooms.
Traditional Beef Wellington was named after Arthur Wellesley, the First Duke of Wellington and the man who defeated Napoleon at Waterloo. The original version of this dish, however, was probably quite simple: A paste of flour and water placed over the beef, which was then baked. Later, it became a fancier dish, featuring puff pastry and pâte.
The common problem encountered when creating classic Beef Wellington, aside from its fussiness, is that the pastry on the bottom inevitably becomes soggy. In some recipes, the coated meat is wrapped in crepe to prevent the pastry from turning soggy. Chef Timothy Barton’s version, however, comes up with a simpler solution and turns the dish into something even amateur chefs can pull off.
A mushroom ragout is essential to this version of Beef Wellington, and consists of cooking oyster and button mushrooms sautéed in a pan until golden. Then aromatic garlic and shallots are added. With red wine, the whole is flambéed and veal stock is added for additional flavor. Finally, cream is added to thicken the ragout.
To keep the puff pastry from becoming soggy, the mushroom ragout must be cooled completely before it is topped over the grilled beef tenderloin, which should have been cooled too. After the whole thing is wrapped in puff pastry it is chilled in the fridge to keep it in tact as it bakes.
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