Hope you all had a lovely Christmas off with your family and friends. I’m going to share with you a very special recipe today. It started out probably about 9 years ago. My Dad aka. Captain Oddball isn’t a fan of turkey – shock horror! And you know what I would agree. It tends to be dry and it just seems like a bland meat to carry all the other flavours from the veggies and sauces. So for a while when I was young my Dad would make a Beef Bourguignon and it was delicious. But going up I foolishly thought we were missing out on the traditional turkey and all the trimmings. Meh. It was nice but compared to our current Christmas meal, it blows the turkey out of the water.
It is based on a Gordon Ramsay’s Beef Wellington from Good Food Magazine in 2004 but we have taken it so much to the next level- sorry Gordon. It has evolved over the years and this year was probably the most tasty it has ever been. There is a little bit of prep to do but once you get it too a certain stage it can happily stay in the fridge until you need it. There are some extra special ingredients here, this recipe won’t be an every day dinner so treat yo’self!
- 1.4 kg beef fillet
- 1 bottle of good red wine, like a Merlot
- 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 2 sticks of celery, diced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 2 sprigs of thyme
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 250g chestnut mushrooms, finely diced
- 50g butter
- 40g dried porcini mushrooms
- 3 small black truffles, finely diced
- 12 slices of prosciutto
- 500g puff pastry (ready made is fine, life is too short, it will be two packs of ready rolled – one for the top and one pack for the bottom.)
- 1 egg, beaten
- Two days before you want to eat the Welly, in a large non-metallic dish, add your beast of a fillet with the red wine, garlic, celery, carrots and thyme. Cover and leave for 6 hours, turn the fillet over and leave in the fridge overnight.
- One day before Chow Time, Heat the oven to 200C, drain the beef from the marinade and place in a large roasting dish and brush with 1tbsp of the oil and season all over with ground pepper. Roast the beef for 15 minutes for a rare Wellington or 20 minutes for medium. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
- Pour the marinade into a large saucepan with the veggies and over a medium heat reduce the wine down by half. Drain and keep the vegetables to freeze down to add to stews after. Leave to reduce while you make the duxelles.
- Using boiling water, rehydrate the porcini mushrooms until nice and plump. Scoop out the mushrooms not tip as there will be grit on the bottom of the dish. Finely chop the mushrooms.
- In a large frying pan, gently melt the butter with the two remaining tablespoons of oil, add the finely chopped fresh and dried mushrooms, cook over a low heat for about 10 minutes. Spoon of the mushroom liquor from the dried mushrooms on to the mixture – being careful to not add any grit from the bottom. Reduce the mixture until the liqour has been reduced to nearly nothing.
- Add the reduced red wine marinade to the mushroom mixture, cook until again most of the marinade has cooked into the mushrooms and the mixture is fairly dry but still moist. Leave to cool.
- When the beef and mushrooms are cool, lay out two layers of cling film horizontally, overlapping and double the length of your beef fillet. Lay the proscuitto slices slightly overlapping in a double row on the cling film. Spread the mushroom duxelles over the proscuitto leaving a one and a half inch boarder from the ham’s edge.
- Place the cool fillet in the middle of the mushrooms, using the cling film draw up the proscuitto to cover the fillet, then roll it into a sausage shape, twisting the ends of the cling film to tighten as you go. Chill overnight.
- THE BIG DAY! Remove the fillet from the fridge to come up to room temperature while you roll out the pastry. Preheat the oven to 200C.
- If your pastry is ready rolled, roll out one pack on to a parchment paper covered baking tray, brush liberally with the beaten egg all over.If not ready rolled, roll 1 third of the pastry to 18×30 cm rectangle or the length and width of your fillet with a 2 inch boarder of pastry. Remove the beef from the cling film and place on the pastry base. Brush all over the beef with more beaten egg.
- Using the last pack of pastry, unroll and drape over the top of the beef, making sure you don’t trap any air between the beef and pastry. Or roll the pastry to a 28×36 cm rectangle. Bring up some of the base pastry to create a crimp, cutting away the excess pastry as you go.
- Brush all over with more beaten egg and decorate with scraps of pastry – we like some holly leaves on ours. Bake for 35 minutes until the pastry is crisp and golden. Allow to stand for 10 minutes before carving. Again we use an electric knife my parents got for their wedding 35 years ago. It doesn’t get used any other time then to cut into this beast.