Easy Beef Wellington

Whether you are a first timer or a Beef Wellington expert, this recipe will help you simplify the process and still taste amazing. Buttery filet mignon wrapped in mushrooms, shallots Dijon mustard and salty prosciutto, all encapsulated in a crispy puff pastry.

overhead image of beef wellington with thyme leaves


 

How I Got Roped Into Making This

I first made Beef Wellington after my neighbor graciously rigged his hose to my rooftop deck for the summer. At the time we lived in a 4 story city row house and this was the only location for a garden. Lugging watering cans for all of my plants at the height of heat started to be quite cumbersome. I suggested I repay his generosity with a meal.

He choose Beef Wellington. Not because he had it and liked it, but because he had never had it, but liked the aristocratic sound of eating it! This, quite literally, made me laugh out loud, but it was a challenge I accepted. If you knew our dear Brenden, you would understand.

cross section of rare beef wellington

What is Beef Wellington?

The history of beef wellington is quite debated, so I won’t even try to give you the rundown, we have enough to discuss on the technique side. What I do know is that is seems very French, the duxelle, foie gras and puff pastry, so I am going to refer to it as French food.

The most traditional of recipes include several elements: the beef tenderloin, of course, a layer of shallot spiked duxelle (mushroom paste), foie gras and puff pastry. Most include the flavors of thyme as well. In our version, we stuck to the mushrooms and puff pastry, but took our the foie gras.

close up of puff pastry beef wellington

Foie gras is a controversial ingredient to begin with, but even for the lovers of the culinary treat, it is hard to make or source and certainly adds a pretty penny to the total cost of the meal. Tyler Florence and Gordon Ramsay offer acceptable swaps of Dijon mustard and thinly sliced prosciutto and since they approve, who am I to disagree?

Worthy of a special occasion, I highly doubt you’ll be whipping Wellington on a random Wednesday school night (or maybe you will, who am I to make assumptions?) this recipe would most likely be categorized as intermediate or advanced in nature. But like so many others, if you understand the whys, it all becomes a lot easier, so don’t skip over all of the “blah, blah, blah” on this one.

Wellington can also be made from pork or even salmon wellington.

Soggy Beef Wellington

The first time I made it, I thought I did it wrong. Then I started to do some research and clearly this hard to attain: juicy meat with crispy buttery puff pastry.

There are several popular ways to prevent the juices from seeping out: using crepes, sheets of phyllo dough or piercing the dough with a fork to let steam escape. But what I realized that in every photo of the “non soggy wellington” the bottom of the puff pastry was indeed, a little red and soggy.

So do your best and know that there isn’t a perfect, foolproof way to prevent this. Searing, dabbing up extra moisture and resting are your best bets.

fresh herbs and filet mignon wrapped in puff pastry for pinterest

Ingredients

Unless you are Julia Child or perhaps the Barefoot Contessa, the ingredient list for any beef wellington recipe is not made up of kitchen staples. Prepare a list and head to the store!

Duxelles (Mushroom Paste):

  • White or cremini mushrooms- Because there are so many flavors, I used some pretty plain shrooms, but if you really like mushroom essence, feel free to swap these out for porcini or oyster mushrooms.
  • Shallot– Shallots are used for mild onion flavor. White or yellow onions can be used, but might be a little more pungent. Red will be too overpowering.
  • Garlic- Using quality ingredients will yield the best results, use real fresh garlic, not the pre-minced jarred stuff.
  • Thyme- Again, for something like this, I’m not cutting corners. I used fresh thyme. If thyme isn’t on your side (pun intended), fresh sage is another good option. To swap for the dried variety, use 1 teaspoon.
  • Unsalted butter- We incorporate butter into this recipe at several places, butter is the best place to dial it back. If you use salted butter, consider reducing the volume on the actual beef or in the mushroom paste.
  • Coarse sea salt & ground black pepper- For seasoning.
  • Heavy cream – This pulls it all together and makes it spreadable, plus cream adds a touch of velvety dairy.

Tenderloin:

  • Beef tenderloin– A full tenderloin looks impressive here, but let me tell you, it is hard to work with- even harder to get it seared in a giant pan! This recipe will be easier if you use smaller pieces they will fit better on puff pastry and be overall easier to handle. Mine is about 7 inches long, for reference.
  • Coarse sea salt & black pepper- To season the roast prior to browning.
  • Vegetable oil– If you are using a well seasoned cast iron pan, you won’t even need oil, but for any other skillet add just enough to prevent sticking. Make sure it has a high smoke point so you can get a nice sear without burning.
  • Prosciutto- The thinner, the better! Parma ham will also work.
  • Dijon mustard- Smooth or a coarse grain can work. I used a chardonnay spiked Dijon and it was delightful.
  • Puff pastry- Instead of rolling out one piece of pastry, gently overlapping and link two pieces. Most people don’t realize this, but rolling puff pastry can damage the delicate layers and prevent it from puffing, especially on the edges. You are better off using both and having waste, or using that waste to make a fun design on the top.
  • Egg- The egg serves two purposes, one as glue to seal the puff pastry and the other as a wash to add shine and encourage browning on the actual puff pastry.

How to Make Beef Wellington

Yes, this is verbose, but worth the read. I guarantee any questions you have will be answered here, like why if my beef wellington soggy?

Make the Mushroom Paste

  1. The texture for duxelle is quite fine, so if you have a food processor, use it! It gives a uniform mince to the mushrooms, shallot and garlic that will be hard to achieve otherwise. If you don’t have one, take the time to finely mince it.
  2. Melt the butter in a skillet and press the mushroom mix into a single layer. Let it sweat (get dry and brown) so that all of the moisture is released. The goal here is to be as dry as possible. Any leftover moisture will be released when baking and contribute to soggy puff pastry.
  3. Heat the butter a medium skillet, add the mushroom mixture and saute over medium heat for approximately 10 minutes or until it reduces and is very dry. The moisture will evaporate and it will reduce greatly.
  4. Add the thyme, salt and pepper, mixing well. Then add the cream. This should make a thick paste. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
how to make duxelle (mushroom paste)

Sear the Tenderloin

  1. Don’t skip tying your roast. The trick to any roast, sometimes even just a steak, and having it cook envely is tying tightly so the fibers are held together and don’t start spread. This is also helpful if you tenderloin has a “tail”. Simply fold it under to the tapered side so that the whole piece of meat is the same width throughout. Tie the tenderloin in multiple places about 1-2 inches apart using kitchen twine.
  2. Pat it dry, remember the trick getting a good sear is dry meat and high heat. Rub it with salt and pepper. Salt is introduced in several places in this recipe. If you need to reduce salt, I recommend using it here to season the meat, but omitting it in the duxelle and sprinkling on the puff pastry.
  3. My prefered pan is a cast iron skillet- I don’t need to use additional oil and it heats hot and even. If you don’t have cast iron, opt for a small amount of a high smoke point oil in another large skillet. Sear on all sides until browned, approximately 4 minutes, 1 minute on each side and don’t forget the ends, just hold it up right with tongs. This step is to develop flavor, not to cook the meat, in fact, you are aiming to just brown the outside and not cook the meat much at all. However, if you prefer a well done piece of beef, then cook it a little longer at this stage. remove the tenderloin and allow it to rest for 15-20 minutes.
searing beef tenderloin in cast iron

Assemble the Tenderloin

  1. Place a large piece of plastic wrap out on a cutting board or clean work surface. You’ll want it large enough to get at least one full wrap, but will wrap it several times more to get it tight. Lay out the puff pastry, overlapping the edges of the two just slightly, pinch together. Shingle the prosciutto in a thin layer. Spread the Dijon mustard over the prosciutto, followed by the mushroom mixture, leaving 1 inch around all of the edges. The spreading doesn’t need to be perfect, in fast there isn’t enough for it to evenly cover, but do your best.
prosciutto on puff pastry
  1. Cut butchers twine, discard and then blot the tenderloin with paper towels to get any residual moisture off (I forgot to cut my twine on this one! Opps!). Place the tenderloin at the bottom of the prosciutto wrap and tightly roll, pinch together the ends and cutting off any excess puff pastry. Try to avoid too much overlapping of puff pastry because this part won’t cook evenly. Tuck in the ends, pinching together firmly. If it doesn’t quite fit, use what you’ve trimmed off to fill holes. You are aiming for no gaps, holes or seams. Get that sucker in there tight! Use your fingers and egg wash to seal it all and set seam side down.
puff pastry with duxelle and seared beef
  1. Wrap again with plastic wrap so that it holds its shape in a nice taunt torpedo. Any leftover pastry can be saved to use to embellish the top. Cover it with a damp paper towel and place it in the fridge until you are ready to use it.
beef and puff pastry wrapped in plastic wrap
  1. Refrigerate the tenderloin for 30-60 minutes. Don’t skip this step, it is actually crucial for two reasons. First, the beef needs to cool down enough to not overcook in the oven and this takes a few minutes to get all the way through- it is a big hunk of meat!!!! The second is that is cools down the puff pastry and helps the seams to seal.

Preparing to Bake

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Remove the tenderloin from the plastic wrap and place onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  2. If you are using leftover puff pastry to embellish, do this now and adhere with egg wash. Otherwise, make small slits in the pastry using a paring knife to make it look pretty, but don’t cut all the way through. Brush with the beaten egg for a shiny crust.
puff pastry wrapped beef tenderloin on a parchment lined baking sheet
  1. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until puff pastry is a golden brown. If the top is cooking too fast you can gently place a leaf of aluminum foil over the tenderloin to allow the base to finish cooking. Use an instant-read thermometer to check the internal temperature for doneness. As you can see here, we like our tender cut of beef rosy rare.
  2. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 15-20 minutes before cutting into thick slices using a serrated knife. Some folks actually prefer to serve it room temperature.
beef temperature cooking guide

What to Serve It With

Usually made for special occassions, you’ll likely want to serve your beautiful wellington with other items. The beef fillets are flavorful enough on their own, but a nice peppercorn sauce or sauteed mushrooms pairs nicely. As does classic steakhouse sides like creamed spinach, creamed corn or potatoes au gratin.

Make Ahead & Storage

The good new is that up until actually baking it, beef wellington is an excellent make-ahead entree. Keep it wrapped in the fridge for up to 2 days and then follow instructions for cooking.

Storage leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the fridge. It is best reheated in a warm oven, but be realistic about how crispy the pastry will be. It’s always best fresh out of the oven… the first time around.

easy beef wellington recipe for pinterest

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close up of beef wellington for pinterest
cross section of rare beef wellingotn

Easy Beef Wellington

4.39 from 34 votes
Beef Wellington a classic dish for a special occasion. Tender beef tenderloin is smothered in Dijon mustard, mushroom, shallot and proscuitto before being baked in a delicate puff pastry.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 10

Ingredients

Duxelles (Mushroom Paste):

Tenderloin:

For serving:

Instructions

Duxelles (Mushroom Paste):

  • Using a large food processor, pulse together the mushrooms, shallot and garlic until they form a thick paste.
  • Heat the butter a medium skillet, add the mushroom mixture and saute over medium heat for approximately 10 minutes or until it reduces and is very dry. The moisture will evaporate and it will reduce greatly.
  • Add the thyme, salt and pepper, mixing well. Then add the cream. This should make a thick paste. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Tenderloin:

  • Using butcher's twine, tie the tenderloin in multiple places to hold its shape and ensure even cooking. Rub with salt and pepper.
  • Heat a large skillet or frying pan to smoking point, add a small amount of neutral oil. If you are using well seasoned cast iron, you won't need the oil. Sear on all sides until browned, approximately 4 minutes, 1 minute on each side. Don't forget the ends!
  • Place a large piece of plastic wrap out on a cutting board with the bottom edges at the base of the cutting board. Lay out the puff pastry, overlapping the edges of the two just slightly, pinch together. Shingle the prosciutto in a thin layer. Spread the Dijon mustard over the prosciutto, followed by the mushroom mixture, leaving 1 inch around all of the edges. Baste the eggs with egg wash.
  • Cut butchers twine, discard and then blot the tenderloin with paper towels to get any residual moisture off. Place the tenderloin at the bottom of the prosciutto wrap and tightly roll, pinch together the ends and cutting off any excess puff pastry. Try to avoid too much overlapping because this part won't cook evenly. Tuck in the ends, pinching together firmly. Wrap again with plastic wrap so that it holds its shape in a nice taunt torpedo. Any leftover pastry can be saved to use to embellish the top.
  • Refrigerate the tenderloin for 30-60 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Remove the tenderloin from the plastic wrap and place onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
  • If you are using leftover puff pastry to embellish, do this now and adhere with egg wash. Otherwise, make small slits in the pastry using a paring knife to make it look pretty.
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until puff pastry is a golden brown. If the top is cooking too fast you can gently place a leaf of aluminum foil over the tenderloin to allow the base to finish cooking.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes before cutting into thick slices using a serrated knife. Do not skip this step! Meanwhile, prepare brown gravy for serving, if desired.
  • If you've tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or ratings.

Notes

*if using dried thyme, ause 1 teaspoon. 

Nutrition

Calories: 631 kcal, Carbohydrates: 23 g, Protein: 26 g, Fat: 48 g, Saturated Fat: 17 g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4 g, Monounsaturated Fat: 23 g, Trans Fat: 1 g, Cholesterol: 104 mg, Sodium: 534 mg, Potassium: 410 mg, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 1 g, Vitamin A: 104 IU, Vitamin C: 1 mg, Calcium: 23 mg, Iron: 4 mg
Author: Jessica Formicola
Calories: 631
Course: Main Course, Main Dish
Cuisine: American, French
Keyword: beef wellington
Did you make this recipe?I’d love to see your recipes – snap a picture and mention @savoryexperiments or tag #savoryexperiments!
cross sectional view of beef tenderloin
Jessica Formicola in her ktichen

About the Author

Jessica Formicola

Jessica the mom, wife and chef behind Savory Experiments. You might see her on the Emmy- nominated TV show Plate It! or on bookshelves as a cookbook author. Jessica is a Le Cordon Bleu certified recipe developer and regularly contributed to Parade, Better Homes & Gardens, The Daily Meal and more!

Read More About Jessica

4.39 from 34 votes (26 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating




Questions and Reviews

    1. 2 1/2 pounds- it states this in the recipe card. I wouldn’t go above 3 pounds because the puff pastry sheets won’t fit around it.

  1. 5 stars
    Wow that beef looks beautiful! Juicy and rare as it should be. I’ve never had Beef Wellington but wrapping it in puff pastry sounds good to me!

  2. 5 stars
    I made this Beef Wellington last night with Venison. I also set off the smoke detector during the searing process. I seared it a bit longer because I put the meat thermometer in and it was only 85 degrees. When I baked it I also left it longer in the oven and covered it loosely with foil after it browned. It turned out perfect. Medium rare in the center and more medium on the outer slices. It was a hit.

  3. 5 stars
    Made for Christmas Eve dinner and it turned out great. A few observations:
    1. Recipe calls for 1 Tbsp flour, however there is no mention of the flour in the directions.
    2. Directions state searing meat on all sides for a total of 5 minutes for medium rare. We wanted more medium to well done so I doubled searing time. I know pan was hot enough as my smoke detector went off as I was searing meat! After meat settled for 10-15 minutes I cut into it slightly and it was blood red. I heated up pan and seared another 10 minutes.
    When serving, meat was still a little too rare, though not bad. Probably could have seared an additional 10 minutes.
    After all was said and done, it was quite impressive and delicious!

    1. Thank you, Martha for the feedback. We actually have this recipe on our list to revisit in January- it is a little older and we can add some of your thoughts in then. Happy holidays!