Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Beef Wellington, Take Two

Gordon Ramsay's beef wellington turned out really well last time, I made it with Laura, so I thought I'd make it again for my friends for Easter. The real selling point of Beef Wellington is that almost all of the prep can be done well in advance. My the time everyone arrived, all I needed to do was pop it into the oven and let it cook.

The last time I made beef wellington, I got my fillet from Schwab's at the Stanford Shopping Center. It was good - but not the ideal cut for a wellington (it's a cross-section of the tenderloin, rather than a cylindrical section). I went to Schwab's again this time, but they didn't have any go pieces of fillet - only 4 very small pieces. I gave up on them and went to Whole Foods instead. They didn't have much fillet on display, but the they took out an brand new whole tenderloin, cleaned it off, and let me select the piece I wanted - it was awesome. I'm definitely going to be shopping at Whole Foods for meats more often! Here's what I got:

What a perfect piece of meat for a beef wellington! It's a bit bigger that you'd normally aim for, but I was trying to get one make one beef wellington for the five of us.

I got my Portabellos from Sigona's again. Six portabellos seems like a huge amount, but they shrink a lot once they're cut and and the water is removed.

My sorry excuse for a food processor barely chops one at a time. Woe is me.

Removing the excess water from the mushrooms.

I kept left the mushrooms in the pan for even longer than last time, to try to reduce the sogginess - I think it worked out quite well this way.

Seared tenderloin. I can't wait until I get a good skillet - I find that I can't really get our current pans as hot as I'd like to, in order to give the meat a really good sear.

Brushed with English mustard.

Pancetta again, since I don't know where to find "Parma Ham". I was talking to a colleague today about Wellington and he told me that "Parma Ham" == prosciutto. Why didn't Ramsay just say that! I'll have to use the correct thing next time, although I don't think the Pancetta has been hurting the recipe very much.

Added the mushrooms to the pancetta

And the meat goes on top

All wrapped up and into the fridge it goes.

This monster of a Wellington took a double helping of puff pastry to wrap. Attaching the two pieces of puff pastry was surprisingly easy, and wasn't noticeable at all after it cooked. I of course trimmed large pieces off.

Ready to wrap in the pastry.

Almost ready for the oven - egg washed the pastry. Two more things after this - score the pastry, and add a sprinkle of salt along the top. I scored the pastry a little too deep, and cut all the way through - oops! It looked good in the end though.

Out of the oven. I removed it at 125°F, which is supposed to be the bottom of the medium rare range. I knew it was supposed to keep increasing in temperature, but it increased all the way up to 140°F!! Next time I'll take it out even earlier.

Doesn't look too bad, does it?

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