Beef Wellington is a simple dish to make but there are cooks out there who just won't attempt it. I suppose it's the thought of ruining a whole fillet of beef in just one go. The expense of it AND not just the beef but the dinner too – there's the chance the whole evening could go down the gurgler.
But, for those who dare, the following method is pretty much a foolproof way to successfully cook and present one of the world's classiest and classic dishes.
Take your whole fillet and trim it of any excess fat and any white sinewy pieces. If there's a skinny piece at one end cut it off and save it for another day. The beef fillet should be of even thickness throughout.
Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a pan and sear the beef all over. This means all sides and both ends. Do this quickly then remove the beef onto a plate. Paint the top and sides with mustard of your choice and place in the refrigerator to cool.
Now comes the decision of what you would like to include in the pastry along with the meat. You could use a smooth paté and some sliced mushrooms or one or the other. Some spinach would be good for colour, too. If you choose to include mushrooms whizz about 500gm of them up in a food processor then sweat them in a pan with no oil until the water evaporates.
Lay a large piece of cling film on the bench and gather the chosen ingredients around you .
Lay as many slices of prosciutto on top of the cling film, short ends facing you, so they will cover the entire length of the fillet.
Spread, alternating layers of paté/or/and mushrooms and fresh spinach leaves all over the prosciutto.
Lay the whole fillet on top and roll up with the aid of the cling film.
Twist the ends of the cling film, torchon style, as tight as you can and put it in the fridge for 1 hour or over night.
Remove the fillet from the fridge.
Lay a piece of cling film on the bench. Lay a sheet of puff pastry on top of the cling film large enough to enclose the whole fillet or if necessary join two/four sheets of pastry together so it is big enough. Lay the unravelled fillet on top of the pastry. Roll the fillet up in the pastry as tightly as possible, torchon style, using the cling film as an aid and place in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
Place a piece of greased baking paper on a flat oven tray. Unravel the fillet from the cling film, lay it on the papered tray and make some attractive decorations on the top with a sharp knife (optional).
Brush the fillet with egg wash and sprinkle a little sea salt on top.
Cook on 190C for 35 mins or until the pastry is brown
Rest the cooked fillet for 10 – 15 mins. Slice and serve.