MMMMmmmmmmm, Beef Wellington; aka 'Bouef en Croute'. A wonderful combination of buttery crust blanket wrapped around a beautiful medium rare Filet Mignon roast lovingly bathed in a cognac fois gras and shallot vest. Although some folks believe this is a classic French dish because of its undyeable richness of flavor and depth of aromatic sauce it's origin is actually from New Zealand. Evidence of a British Kingdom producing elegant food. HA!
This recipe is not for the faint of heart, it takes some planning, there are four major steps in its creation and it is expensive due to the cut of meat, but oh so worth it. 10 years ago I made this dish in a 5-course dinner for 10 friends and it was quite an effort but they still talk about it to this day. Perfect for a holiday dinner or very special occasion, perhaps replacing your November turkey or December ham.
I have made this recipe using home-made Puff Pastry and it tasted fabulous (as pictured), but this recipe is tricky enough where I opt in for the ready made stuff and minimize the extra steps.
1 - 3 lb. Filet Mignon, well trimmed
EVOO and butter
8 oz. button or portobello mushrooms, finely minced
3 shallots, finely minced
1/4 cup cognac
4 oz. pate de fois gras
3 Tbl. Italian parsley, finely minced
1/2 tea. kosher salt
1 egg yolk
3 sheets prepared puff pastry (Pepperidge Farms used here)
1 beaten egg
1 1/2 cup beef broth
1 cup Madeira
1 Tbl. corn starch mixed into 2 Tbl. cold water
2 Tbl. butter
6 mushrooms, thinly sliced (or fresh truffles)
Salt/pepper all sides of filet mignon, wrap in plastic wrap Allow to marinate for 6-24 hours.
Pull out of the refrigerator and bring up to room temperature.
Sauté the minced mushrooms and shallots in butter until softened, deglaze with cognac and reduce, remove from heat. Fold in pate de fois gras and fresh parsley. Let cool.
In a large flat sauce pan that will fit the roast, splash 3 Tbl. evoo on medium high heat. Add the filet mignon and brown all sides. Add butter and cognac and sauté for another 5 minutes for meat to soak up flavor. We are not cooking the meat here, just browning. Roast will be cooked later in the oven wrapped in puff pastry. Be sure to fully cool to room temperature.
To defrost puff pastry from the freezer, place in the refrigerator overnight to slowly defrost.
Lay out 2 - 3 sheets on a baking sheet overlapped slightly to ensure a nice seal. Spread the duxelles mixture in the center of the puff pastry the size of the cooked filet mignon. This will eventually be on top of the roast as it bakes inside the puff pastry envelope.
Place cooled meat on top of duxelles and wrap puff pastry around the meat leaving no air pockets and thoroughly sealing all seams to avoid juices flowing out during baking. Seam side down leaving duxelles inside the pastry package on top of the meat.
NOTE: Meat must be thoroughly cooled before wrapping (do not rush this process or the heat of the meat will melt the puff pastry and your dish is ruined.
Take any unused puff pastry and cut into decorative shapes and placed on top of wrapped filet. Brush with egg wash on all sides without dripping all over baking sheet.
Preheat oven to 450-degrees, bake for 15 minutes. Turn oven down to 375-degrees and bake for an additional 20 minutes until golden brown. Keep an eye while baking, if color is uneven, turn the roast 180 degrees for even baking on all sides.
In a sauce pan place all ingredients for the Madeira sauce and simmer until reduced by 1/3.
Let rest 10 minutes covered with foil so that meat juices flow back into meat. Slice and place on warmed dinner plate with a ladle of Madeira sauce and sliced mushrooms. Served with herb roasted baby potatoes.
OPTION: I have also made this dish with a skinless salmon filet for my Pescatarian friends. (yeah, I know there is fois gras but they still ate and liked it.)