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English Beef Wellington

The Duke of Wellington was a highly prominent statesman and soldier of the nineteenth century. This dish, however, bears his name not because he was a great gourmet but because the finished joint was thought to resemble one of the brown shiny military boots which were called after him.

ingredients

serves 8
1.4 kg (3 lb) fillet of beef
pepper
15 ml (1 tbsp) vegetable oil
40 g (1 1/2 oz) butter
225 g (8 oz) button mushrooms, sliced
175 g (6 oz) smooth liver pate
368 g (13 oz) packet frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 egg, beaten, to glaze

method

1. Trim and tie up the fillet at intervals so it retains its shape. Season to taste with pepper. Heat the oil and
15 g (1/2 oz) of the butter in a large frying pan, add the meat and fry briskly on all sides. Press down with a wooden spoon while frying to seal well.

2. Roast at 220°C (425°F) mark 7 for 20 minutes, then set the beef aside to allow it to cool and remove the string.

3. Meanwhile, cook the mushrooms in the remaining butter until soft; leave until cold, then blend with the pate.

4. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to a large rectangle about 33 x 28 cm (13 x 11 inches) and 0.5 cm (1/4 inch) thick.

5. Spread the pate mixture down the centre of the pastry. Place the meat on top in the centre. Brush the edges of the pastry with the egg.

6. Fold the pastry edges over lengthways and turn the parcel over so that the join is underneath. Fold the ends under the meat on a baking sheet.

7. Decorate with leaves cut from the pastry trimmings. Brush with the remaining egg and bake at 220°C (425°F) mark 7 for 50-60 minutes, depending how well done you like your beef, covering with foil after 25 minutes. Allow the Beef Wellington to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

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