Now that we have all our plans set for Christmas, our minds are turning to New Year’s Eve. And, although it’s a great opportunity to go out and celebrate, we’re going to stay in and cook up something fancy instead.
And, we’re planning to treat ourselves to beef wellington this year. It’s suitably impressive, incredibly tasty and, best of all, it can be prepared ahead which means we’ll only have to concentrate on a few side dishes on the night.
Because beef fillet has such a delicate flavour, we like to keep the flavours in our wellington quite simple. So, although a lot of recipes call for bacon and dried mushrooms, we stick to fresh mushrooms and a little spinach.
1 small onion, finely chopped
350g mushrooms, cleaned and roughly chopped
Leaves of one sprig of thyme
2 tbsp double cream
350g all-butter puff pastry
700-750g beef fillet, the centre cut if possible
1 egg, beaten, to glaze
1 small onion, finely sliced
1 tbsp plain flour
600ml beef stock
1 tsp blackcurrant jam
Butter and rapeseed oil, for cooking
1) Melt a knob of butter in a pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened.
2) Add the mixed mushrooms and thyme along with the spinach.
3) Cook for five minutes or so, until the spinach has wilted down and the mushrooms are cooked.
4) Pour in 150ml port, season to taste and cook on high, until the liquid has evaporated.
5) Turn off the heat and transfer the mix to a bowl. Stir in the double cream and set aside to cool.
6) Drizzle a little rapeseed oil over the fillet and season with salt and pepper. Heat a frying pan over a high heat and, once it is smoking, add the fillet to sear it briefly on all sides. Set to one side whilst you prepare the pastry.
7) Roll out the pastry to a rectangle large enough to wrap around the fillet.
8) Brush all over with the beaten egg, then spread with the mushroom and spinach mixture.
9) Place the fillet at one end of the pastry and carefully roll it up, to encase it.
10) Paint the wellington with the remaining beaten egg, transfer to a plate and refrigerate while you preheat your oven to 200C. If making ahead you can refrigerate the wellington for up to 24 hours, just take it out of the fridge an hour or so before you want to start cooking so the beef can reach room temperature.
11) When you’re ready to cook, place the wellington on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes depending on how you like your beef cooked. If you’re using a meat thermometer you’re looking for 48-52C for rare, 60-66C for medium or 66-71C for well done.
12) Meanwhile, make the port gravy by heating up a little rapeseed oil and butter in a pan over a medium heat.
13) Add the onion and cook until softened, for 10 minutes or so. Stir in the jam and the port and allow to cook until the liquid has reduced down.
14) Stir in the flour to create a paste, then add the stock gradually, stirring all the while and simmer until it has reached the desired consistency.
15) Once cooked, let the wellington rest for 10 minutes before serving with the gravy and steamed greens.