- 1/2 cup water, cold
- 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup pastry flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1¼ cups butter, divided (1/4 cup softened; 1 cup chilled)
- 8 ounces beef tenderloin
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- canola oil
- 8 cups assorted mushrooms
- 1/4 cup minced shallot
- 1/4 cup minced garlic
- 1/4 stick butter, softened
- 1 cup red wine
- 2 teaspoons salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 2/3 cup milk
- 2/3 cup spinach puree (spinach and water blended)
- 3 eggs
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 teaspoons butter, melted
- puff pastry, store-bought or homemade (recipe above)
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup milk
This recipe might seem like a long process, but don't be discouraged! It is certainly worth the effort. We make this dish every year for our anniversary with venison and it is our absolute favorite. The duxelles is the secret to the luxurious flavor of this dish. It is a finely chopped mixture filled with mushrooms, shallots and garlic sauteed in butter. It is very fragrant and flavorful, and cooked down so much that it almost becomes a paste.
Technique tip: Before searing your tenderloin, put it in the freezer for 20 minutes so that the outside begins to cook, but the heat won't cook the internal portion of the beef. Before you are ready to roll the beef in puff pastry, be sure to allow the puff pastry to rest at room temperature (or temper) so it can be rolled thinner and be easier to work with.
Swap option: Puff pastry is one of the most labor-intensive parts of this recipe. No time to make it? Pick some up at your local market to cut the time of this recipe in half. You can substitute beef tenderloin for venison or pork loin if you want to experiment with different proteins.
For the puff pastry:1.
Combine the water, both flours and salt in your stand mixer with a dough hook. Mix on low until combined, then add your soft butter. Mix until the butter has worked itself into the dough, then remove from the stand mixer and wrap, allowing to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.2.
Take the chilled butter for your butter block and spread it out into and 8-by-8-inch square on a piece of wax or parchment paper. Ensure this is soft and smooth, meaning that it is easily spreadable with a butter knife. Roll out the dough to 16-inch wide and 8-inch high, placing the soft butter directly in the center and folding the dough around it.3.
Gently roll out the dough width wise only until a half-inch thick. Imagine you can break this dough into thirds; that is how you will fold it. You will see three layers. Turn the dough 90 degrees to the right and again roll out to a half-inch thick, then fold into thirds. You need to turn the dough again and do one more three-fold. After the last three-fold, cover the dough and let it rest in the refrigerator. (If using store-bought puff pastry, omit these last two steps, because you already have everything completed! Just allow your puff pastry to thaw to room temperature so it is easier to work with.)
For the beef tenderloin:
Prepare your beef by setting it in the freezer for about 20 minutes. Remove from the freezer and season heavily with salt and black pepper. In a preheated cast-iron skillet over high heat, quickly sear the beef to obtain a beautiful crust on the outside. This will take about 3 minutes per side. Remove from the skillet and place in the refrigerator to rest.
For the mushroom duxelles:
While the beef is chilling, using the same cast-iron skillet, add your mushrooms, shallots, garlic and butter, and cook until they become golden brown. Take the cup of red wine and deglaze the seared mushrooms, and continue to cook until the wine has evaporated. Season the cooked mushrooms with salt and pepper to taste, then remove to a plate and refrigerate. Once chilled, place on a cutting board and chop finely. The finished product should resemble a paste-like consistency, like a mushroom spread.
For the crepes:
Mix all of the ingredients together in a mixing bowl using a whisk to ensure there are no clumps. Once fully mixed, heat a large nonstick pan on low and spray lightly with nonstick spray. Put a ladle full of batter into the pan to create and ultra-thin layer of batter (it could take a few tries to get these thin enough, but that's OK, because they're great for snacking on!). These should cook fully within 30 seconds. Remove from the pan onto a cool surface.
To assemble the Wellingtons:1.
You will need 4 to 8 crepes depending on the size of your nonstick pan. For a larger 16-inch pan, you'll likely only need 3 to 4, but for a smaller pan, it never hurts to have prepared extra.2.
Start by smearing a thin layer of mushrooms on all of the crepes, as if building a burrito. Line up the crepes so they slightly overlap, then place the beef on top of the crepes and mushrooms and roll it so the crepe is on the outside and the mushroom layer is between the steak and crepe. It helps to use plastic wrap or parchment paper to give you a tight roll.3.
Remove your puff pastry from the refrigerator. Roll out as thinly as you can; a quarter inch is ideal, but less than a half inch is perfect. You will need two sheets for the Wellington: one for the base and one for the top. Your sheet for the base only needs to be two inches longer than your tenderloin, so measure accordingly.4.
Combine the eggs and milk for the egg wash, using a fork to beat until combined.5.
At this point, it's time to put the beef inside the puff pastry. Simply lay out your base sheet of pastry and place the rolled-up beef on the center, lengthwise. Using some water or egg wash, outline around the beef log. Take the second sheet of puff pastry and place it over the beef log and press the edges down. Be sure to make sure the seals are very tight as this creates the internal "oven." Use any excess puff pastry and use it to either make a design on top or to decorate your Wellington.6.
Lastly, before cooking, do a generous coating of egg wash over the entire Wellington. This will help create a beautiful bronze look as well as seal any gaps that may have not fully sealed. Refrigerate for 10 minutes before cooking.7.
Preheat your oven to 375 F.8.
Before placing your Wellington in the oven, stick it with a meat thermometer to ensure doneness. Once oven is heated, place the Wellington inside and immediately drop the temperature to 350 F. Bake for 30 minutes, then check internal temperature. For a perfect medium-rare, pull the Wellington from the oven when temperature reads 115 F. Allow to rest for 10 minutes, as the internal temperature will continue to rise. If you're looking for a medium, allow to cook until internal temperature reaches 120 F.