It took me until last year to attempt Beef Wellington for the first time. I'd eaten it several times before, but always assumed it would be really difficult to get it right. Well, it's a bit fiddly, but it's not at all difficult, and it came out PERFECT the first time. Here's what I did:
Get a Big Log of fillet beef, size depending on appetite or number of participants. (DO NOT try to get away with a cheaper cut. I tried once, and it sucked.) Brush with olive oil and cook in ovenon a high heat for 5-10 mins to brown. Leave to cool.
Prepare the duxelles. This is a mushroom, white wine & herb reduction. Chop a load of mushrooms (preferably flat mushrooms) as finely as possible, ideally the size of breadcrumbs. Yeah, I know. Fry in a little olive oil with a sprig of lemon thyme until it begins to turn to mush. Add a hefty glug of white wine, and continue to fry until the wine has evaporated and the reducton is paste-like. Remove the thyme, mix with an equal quantity of smooth liver pate and allow to cool.
Lay out a sheet of cling-film, and on it create a bed of prosciutto or similar thin ham, in slightly overlapping rows, 2 inches or so wider than the length of the beef, and long enough to roll around it with a slight overlap. The point is that the ham should form a barrier to prevent too much of the beef's juices from leaking out and softening the pastry, although a little seepage is inevitable. Spead the duxelles/pate mix evenly to cover the ham.
Place the beef onto the bed, and carefully roll the bed around tightly around the beef, using the clingfilm, until you have created a tube. (Hint: the ham, and NOT the duxelles, should be on the outside ). Seal the ends of the tube by twisting the cling-film, and place the fully-sealed tube in the fridge for 45mins to set.
Roll a sufficent quantity of puff pastry, then carefully remove the cling-film from the tube, place it on the pastry, and wrap & seal the pastry. Cut some shallow venting slits, and brush with egg.
Cook on a medium heat for 25 minutes, 30 maximum. The fillet beef should remain pink in the middle when cooked, although this is not to everyone's taste. But that's how it SHOULD be.
It can also be prepared in individual portions, with the cooking time reduced accordingly. But a Big Log is much more fulfilling.
Serve with potatoes of your choice (Dauphinoise goes well), a nice thick red wine gravy, and seasonal vegetables.
Hmmm.......I think I'll cook that tomorrow DIET'S ON HOLD!!!!! :D