Conquering Wellington

This post isn’t about the Iron Duke.  It is a dish that some claimed he loved so much and probably ate such a copious amount, that someone decided to name it after him.  But is that truly how a tender cut meat wrapped in puff pastry got its name?  You don’t care.  You want to know how to prepare it for your next dinner party so you may bask in the adoration of friends and family like Wellington himself.

Before you can conquer this recipe keep these few simple rules in mind.

1. Give yourself plenty of time.  In fact, prepare it at least a day or three in advance.

2. Gather all your ingredients and stay organized.

Ready?
Ingredients:

1, 1-2 pound tenderloin (Beef or venison)
14 ounces frozen or homemade puff pastry, thawed (see note above)
1 sheet filo dough
2 tablespoons champagne mustard
1/2 – 1 lbs of cremini and shiitake mushrooms, trimmed, and diced
1 shallot, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, finely diced
1/4 cup cognac or whiskey, whatever you have on hand
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 pound sliced prosciutto
1 egg, separated
salt
pepper
vegetable oil of your choice for searing meat

*Optional: 2 tbsp ground cumin and coriander.

Instructions

Sprinkle a layer of salt and pepper all over the tenderloin.

*If using venison, then sprinkle with ground cumin and coriander as well.  There may be a few strips of meat hanging off the loin.  Tie the loin with butcher’s twine four or five times evenly spaced.  Wrap the loin with plastic wrap and rest in the fridge for an hour.

Towards the end of the hour, heat a large pan with oil of your choice.  Wait till the pan is hot, then gently lay the tenderloin in the pan.  Don’t worry if it doesn’t quite fit.

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Sear the loin on all sides very quickly in the hot pan.  If you’re looking for a rare to medium rare loin, search each side about a minute each.  For a more well-done loin, sear each side for much longer.  Once the loin has been properly seared, remove it from the pan and let it cool on a flat surface lined with wax paper.  Be sure to wait until it’s safe to touch.  Remove the butcher strings before spreading a thin layer of mustard all over the loin. Let it rest in the fridge uncovered.

 

While the loin is cooling, on medium heat, drop a pad of butter into the same pan used to sear the loin.  Once the butter melts, add the garlic and shallots and cook until fragrant. Then add the diced mushrooms and let it cook. Lower the heat once water appears at the bottom of the pan.  Turn the heat to low and continue to cook the mushrooms. Stir gently.  After 8- 10 minutes, or when the water evaporates, add the cognac and continue to cook. Once the mushroom starts to dry slightly again, pour in the cream and stir the mixture until it turns into a thick paste.  Add a dash of salt and pepper.  Remove the pan from the heat and set it aside to cool.

Give the mushroom duxelles time to cool as well.  1-2 hours

Overlap two sheets of plastic wrap to form a large square sheet, big enough to hold the filo pastry sheet.  Then lay down a thin, overlapping layer of prosciutto. Enough to encase the loin.  Don’t worry about any extra filo pastry sheet. Now spread a layer of mushroom duxelles until it covers the prosciutto completely.

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Carefully place the loin in the center of the sheet.  Use the plastic wrap to help roll and tighten the filo around the loin. To make sure the layers stay in place, brush some of the egg white along the edge of the filo sheet then seal.  Cut off any excess filo dough.

Carefully fold the edges of the plastic wrap around the whole thing into a cigar shape.  Refrigerate for at least an hour.  I’ll premade this up to three days.

When the Wellington is ready to be serve, Preheat the oven to 400F.  On a flour dusted surface, roll out a puff pastry sheet big enough to encase the loin.  To help seal the pouch, brush more of the egg white along the edge of the pastry sheet and seal the loin completely and tightly.

On a flour dusted surface, roll out a puff pastry sheet big enough to encase the loin.  To help seal the pouch, brush more of the egg white along the edge of the pastry sheet and wrap it around the loin tightly.  ThenPreheat the oven to 400F.  brush the egg yolk over the entire surface.  If you’d like, use the edge of a dull knife to create uniform patterns over the pastry.  Then brush it all over with egg yolk to create that delightful gold brown color.  Bake on a parchment paper covered baking sheet for 20 minutes.  When the pastry casing puffs up and starts to turn gold brown, it’s ready to be removed from the oven.  Let rest for 20 minutes, slice and serve.

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Enjoy!

 

 

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