This hugely popular celebratory dish which can appear intimidating at first, but is actually quite reliable once you get the hang of it.
It is however a dish that takes care and time to do properly because it works best if you let it chill after each stage of preparation. Follow the steps below and you are in for a treat.
(Serves 4 – one 2 inch slice per person)
3-500g fillet beef in a single piece
Half a chicken breast
250g shop bought puff pastry, preferably pre-rolled
3-400g chestnut mushrooms
Handful of spinach
Desert spoon of AP flour
Oat milk (or normal milk if you prefer)
Beef stock (home made or very low salt shop bought)
1. Trim the fillet so that its of an even thickness across the entire piece. Now wrap tightly into a cylinder in cling film and put in the fridge for an hour to set the shape.
2. Put the mushrooms into a food processor and blitz until finely chopped. Transfer into a large heavy frying pan on high heat and cook until almost all the moisture has been driven out and the mushrooms have taken on a little colour. You will need to scrape the bottom of the pan regularly to stop it burning. Season liberally. Let cool completely.
3. Blend the chicken breast with a table spoon of creme fraiche. Season, and then incorporate the cooled mushrooms leaving a well mixed pate. Refrigerate.
4. Blanch the spinach and squeeze as much water out as possible. Now blend with the flour, one egg and enough milk to make a thin pancake batter. Season. Cook the pancakes as thinly as you can on a non-stick frying pan at medium heat. You do not want any colour on the pancake – the idea is simply to set it and dry it out a little. Take your beef out of the fridge and test to see if you can completely wrap it in one of the pancakes – bear in mind you will have a mushroom layer too so you need a few centimetres extra. Depending on the size of your frying pan you may get away with one of these but if you need two, make two.
5. Place a length of plastic wrap on the kitchen surface then add the pancake(s). Unwrap the beef and season very liberally with salt. Brush the surface of the pancake with dijon and now paste the mushroom mix across the pancake. The aim is to have it as evenly distributed as possible so it forms a consistent ring around the beef. Place the beef onto the mushroom base and roll up. The idea is to have a single layer of pancake and mushroom around the meat so it it looks like it will overlap, remove a bit of the extra mushroom mix and trim the pancake accordingly. Wrap tightly in the plastic wrap into a cylinder and refrigerate for 30 mins.
6. Take the pastry out of the fridge along with the beef parcel. Unwrap the beef and place onto the pastry. Roll the pastry up around the beef and tuck in the sides. If you really want to make it perfect you can now roll it up again in plastic wrap and set in the fridge again for 30 mins. This is not strictly necessary but will help it keep a very consistent shape.
7. Mix one egg yolk with a teaspoon of creme fraiche and brush the wellington liberally. You can now let set in the fridge again and then brush it again if you can be bothered – it will help bring out that dark mahogany colour once it bakes. You can also decorate the wellington at this point with lattice work or little cuts, but again this is not necessary. Put it back in the fridge.
8. Heat your oven with a sheet pan inside to 215c. Once ready to cook, remove the wellington from the fridge and put straight into the oven. It will need somewhere around 20 mins for medium rare and for the pastry to get nice and brown. Check it regularly and do not keep it in for much longer than 20 mins or it will surely over cook.
9. Reduce the beef stock with a glug of Maderia until beginning to thicken. Add a knob of unsalted butter. Season if necessary but it very unlikely it will need more salt given how reduced it is. If you can only get a stock cube or pre-seasoned stock this will not work as the final reduction will be unbearably salty. Better to skip this stage in this case.
10. Rest on a wire rack for at least 10-15 mins. It will stay warm for much longer than this so don’ t worry about it getting cold. This stage is very important to let the temperature even and for the meat to relax so it wont bleed too much when you cut it.
11. Reduce the beef stock with a glug of Maderia until beginning to thicken. Add a knob of unsalted butter. Season if necessary but it very unlikely it will need more salt given how reduced it is. If you can only get a stock cube or pre-seasoned stock this will not work as the final reduction will be unbearably salty. Better to skip this stage in this case.
12. Cut 2 inch slices with a serated knife and immediately turn them face down to stop any juices making the bottom of the pastry soggy. Serve with sautéd mushrooms and the sauce.