Christmas beef wellington

I hope everyone had a great Christmas. This year was a bit different for us. For most years in the past quarter of a century, I’d gone to my sister’s house on Christmas morning, after first doing the present opening thing at my house, wherever that was at the time. My sister lives in Atlanta now, though, so there wasn’t a house nearby to go to.

Lensbucky

Instead, my wife and I had a nice morning, opening our presents to each other and watching our giant kitten (he’s been with us 1 year now as of December 22) play in the tissue paper. About 3:00 pm, I started getting things ready for dinner, and my mom, my nephew and my niece and nephew-in-law showed up for dinner.

For some reason, I like beef on Christmas, I am finding. We’ve done the hams before, and even a goose, which was really great. But beef just seems to be what I want to fix for Christmas dinner. Maybe it’s because we ate later in the day, I don’t know. The first time I had everyone over for Christmas dinner, I did a nice prime rib.

This year, I decided, with the help of my wife, to do a Beef Wellington. The meal was heavily inspired, by the way, by two of my favorite Food Network chefs, Tyler Florence and Ann Burrell.  Tyler Florence does some really appetizing updates on recipes, and Ann Burrell has a show that is all about doing restaurant quality food at home. The Ann Burrell potatoes will be my next entry, followed by one on the salad we had, also inspired heavily by Tyler Florence.

Before moving to the wellington, I had an idea this morning in a book store, looking at Tyler Florence cook books. I picked up “Dinner At My Place” today, and I’m going to be doing my own take (using the grill or smoker) or just doing the straight recipe on dishes from the book over the next year, maybe 1-2 per month. I really like his approach to cooking, and I’ve found myself wanting to try more of his dishes. I don’t find that with many chefs, so I thought it would be fun to explore that. Hopefully, those of you reading will think so, too!

Doing a Beef Wellington meant I needed just a few things:

  • a whole beef tenderloin
  • 1 1/2 pounds of button mushrooms
  • puff pastry sheets
  • 12 slices of proscuitto
  • one shallot
  • fresh thyme
  • dijon or grainy mustard

Beef Tenderloin tied for Wellington

I had originally thought I would do the wellington in the oven for convenience, but our oven was out for the week due to what turned out to be very simple.  This meant, though, that I was going to be doing everything on the Big Green Egg, which I was perfectly alright with doing!

The process of doing the wellington seems complicated, but I think it only is the first time you do it.  I made a couple of mistakes along the way…  I forgot to take the string off that was tied around the tenderloin, and I got proscuitto slices too thin, so the mushrooms tried to make a run for it along a couple of spots, though this wasn’t too bad.  I also forgot to spread on the mustard, but I’m not sure if this changed anything, really.

Mushrooms for Beef Wellington

The first thing I did was to chop up the mushrooms as finely as I could.  I don’t have a food processor due to lack of counter space, but that would have made this part much quicker!  I added the mushrooms to a dry skillet, along with a chopped up shallot, and put it over medium heat, trying to get out a lot of the water.  I took the mushrooms off once it seemed no more water was really coming out.  They were still springy, but not wet.

I set aside the mushrooms, and used the same skillet (after cleaning it) to sear the beef tenderloin on all sides, about 30 seconds per side.  I set aside the skillet for a sauce to be made later.  The tenderloin has already been trimmed of any fat.  it was kind of folded over on the thinner end and tied together to make the whole thing about the same thickness.

Searing Beef Tenderloin

I laid out the 12 slices of proscuitto, overlapping by about half, then spread the mushrooms on that, along with fresh thyme.  I put the tenderloin along one edge of the proscuitto/mushroom layer, and did my best to roll all this up.  Thicker proscuitto would help here, and doing this on top of plastic wrap would help, too, as I had to lift the rolled up tenderloin to get it on plastic wrap.  Once rolled up tightly, the whole thing went into the fridge for 30 minutes.

Proscuitto for Beef Wellington

Beef Wellington wrapping

I bought frozen puff pastry, so I had to take the 2 sheets in the package out and press them together into one longer sheet.  I then rolled the whole thing out thinner, to about 1/4″ thick.  The tenderloin went into the middle of this, and I pulled the pastry up over the tenderloin.  I used an egg wash as glue to then pull the other side of the pasty up to seal it, followed by egg-washing the exposed pastry.

Beef Wellington Prep

Rolling Beef Wellington

I turned the whole thing over so it was seam side down onto a cookie sheet and added egg wash to all the exposed pastry, making sure the ends were well closed, too.  I cut off the excess pastry and used that to make some leaves.  This is one thing I wish I’d taken more time on.  I did 4 leaves, which I put right along the top, and the worked fine, but I wish I’d done about 3 times as many, making the top more leaf-laden, just for better presentation.

Beef Wellington Ready for BGE

The wellington went on the BGE for about 40 minutes, until it got to 125 or so F, with the BGE at about 425. About 30 minutes after it went on, I heated up the pan in which I seared the tenderloin and added a couple cups of beef stock. I whisked up the fond in the pan (the meat bits that stuck) and let the liquid reduce by about half. I then added a cup of cream and coarse ground pepper. I used this sauce to serve over the wellington.

Beef Wellington

Beef Wellington

I was afraid the meat got a little overcooked, as I was also fiddling with potatoes from Ann Burrell’s show, but the meat turned out just great, even if it did still have the string tied around it!

Beef Wellington with Potato Torte

I’m sorry there are no shots of the wellington on the Big Green Egg, but it was Christmas, and I was kind of busy! Maybe I’ll do it again to just try it without the distractions. We had the meal with a really nice unfiltered Medoc… Bordeaux just seemed right for this!

I hope you also enjoyed a great Christmas meal. The cooking was fun, but having family here to share it with us was even better.

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About Curt McAdams

I guess I'm a bit of a foodie, learning to cook from my mom, then getting obsessed with outdoor cooking, competition barbecue, bread baking and just about all things food. Lately, I've been trying to upgrade my photography skills a bit, though I still have a long way to go.

30 comments

  1. That looks very good, and easy to make! I may have to try it out sometime, on the BGE of course.

  2. Mark, there are several steps, but nothing is too hard to do. The one thing I forgot, again, was to mention that you brush the tenderloin with dijon mustard just before rolling the duxelles (mushrooms) in the proscuitto around the tenderloin.

  3. Looks great! Can’t wait to try! I am no familiar with the BGE… could I do this in the oven? Broiler pan or what? Better on a grill? Thanks a ton!

  4. SK, you can do this in the oven, too. I’d just put it on a cookie sheet to do that.

    But, as most things, it’s always better on a Big Green Egg, or a grill if you can keep the heat indirect and at 425 degrees F.

  5. That looks mighty tasty!

    BTW, what kind of kitten is that?

  6. Tim, thanks. It was tasty!

    The cat is our 14 month old Maine Coon. He’s really big, but still growing. They say it takes them up to 4 years to get full grown, and he’s already big! He/we celebrated his first year with is on the 22nd, the day we brought him home.

  7. Beef with a golden brown pastry crust sounds great!

  8. Kevin,

    Thanks. I liked your turkey leftovers, too… try it with pomegranate, too!

  9. Beef Wellington looks like a great way to celebrate Christmas, much better than turkey in my opinion!

  10. For some reason, beef just seems more Christmasy, I agree, though Scrooge prefers goose, if I remember my Christmas Carol right. :)

  11. I watched that episode of Tyler’s Ultimate last week, and wanted to make this as well.

    Nice job on this gorgeous dish!

  12. Ian, thanks! It’s tough to watch his show without something looking really great to try. That’s why I’m going to try doing at least 1 dish a month from his new book, with a grilled/smoked twist to it.

    I also did the potatoes from that show, and they turned out really great, too… I’ll be writing that up soon.

  13. Your cat is gorgeous! As is your beef wellington. I’ve never had the courage to attempt this dish. I’m glad yours turned out so wonderfully!

  14. Gaga, he is a pretty handsome cat, thanks. And don’t be afraid to do the wellington… Just do it when you have time to think, instead of on Christmas day for the first time. :)

  15. I always request that my stepmother make us her roast on Christmas..or whatever day we celebrate Christmas together. Now you have me thinking that next year I may request to preprare the beef and try this out on them!! Hope mine looks half as good as yours when I get through!

  16. Amy, try it out before then… It may be something you want more often. :)

  17. What a beautiful thing to serve for Christmas dinner! Happy holidays to you and your family.

  18. Thanks, Susan. I hope you and yours had a great holiday this season, too!

    I think I’m going to try puff pastry with just duxelles and proscuitto in it… That was good on its own!

  19. Curt that is just brilliant. It looks absolutely amazing. I am also glad that you went the BGE route. There really is no other way is there?

  20. Mike,

    Thanks, and yes, I’m glad to have the BGE. It’s the most versatile cooker I’ve ever used. Now if I could get it to make beer, too…

  21. Could you instruct on what temp for oven cooking???? I am wanting to make this for a Christmas dinner this weekend…… thanks

  22. Jewellie,

    I can’t believe I left that part out! Set the oven to about 425 F, and it should take 40-45 minutes to reach 125 degrees in the beef.

  23. Great job Curt, I love beef wellington. Congrats on the call by Saveur as well

  24. Landarc,

    Thanks. It was very cool of them to add this to saveur.com’s “Elegant Christmas Dinner” menu!

  25. I will be making a different rendition of this today (minus the proscuitto) and using phyllo. From October through May I use an old Findlay wood cookstove only. Makes for a bit more flavour I have been told. I was going to do a Bernaisse sauce or a sauce like yours but with a splash or two of red wine.

  26. Just tried on my big green egg. It stuck to grill grate and also wanted to fall apart when slicing. The taste was great but would like to make it were it looks as good as yours. The top of it was beautiful before I tried slicing.Help from anyone will be appreciated.

  27. Mark,

    First, I would put this on a baking stone, not right on the grate. In fact, I would put the platesetter in, then put the baking stone above that with a bit of a gap between. It won’t stick to the grate that way.

    Second, you have to have a very sharp knife when slicing. When it’s rolled up, make sure it’s very tightly done, too

  28. Thank you. Would you sit the baking stone on the grate? If not how do you get the gap between platesetter and baking stone? Also, I assume you dont have to put anything on the stone to keep it from sticking. Once again, thank you for the help.

  29. Mark,

    You can put the platesetter between the firebox and fire ring if you want, then grate on top, then baking stone, but I usually put the platesetter on top of the fire ring, then use fire brick pieces to leave about an inch between that and the baking stone. I don’t put anything on the stone, but you can put the wellington on parchment.

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