If there is any dish that is a true test of a chef’s skills, it’s the beef wellington. It’s a complicated dish with many variables. The fillet inside must be perfectly medium rare 50-51°C, whilst the outside pastry crust must be golden brown and crisp.
With sous vide you take the guess work out of the equation and be guaranteed of a perfectly cooked fillet that is tender, and juicy. All you do in the oven is bake that perfect golden crust without having to worry about the meat.
At the center of the Beef Wellington is a fillet, and instead of beef fillet we used an eland fillet aptly sourced from Wellington, a big boy weighing 1.1kg.
Preparing the duxelles is the most time consuming, and can be done even a few days ahead and kept in the fridge for easy cooking on the day. Make sure you don’t rush this step, as it needs to be very dry, otherwise your pastry will get soggy. Use a ratio 2 to 1 – so around 800 grams mushrooms and 400 grams shallots. Chop them very fine, including the 1 clove of garlic.
800 gram of wild mushrooms (mix of mushrooms)
400 gram finely chopped onion
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp Herbes de Provence
1.1 kg Eland fillet (or beef)
8 slices of prosciutto
1 crepe (milk, egg, self-raising flour) – optional
1 pack of puff pastry
- Prepare your sous vide water bath
Fill a container with water and place the sous vide immersion circulator in the bath. Set temperature at 50C degrees.
- Prepare the meat
Using a cast iron pan, sear your fillet on high heat in a little oil.
- Prepare the bag
Place the fillet in a vacuum bag, add 2 sprigs of rosemary and vacuum seal.
- Cook the meat
Depending on the thickness/diameter of the fillet, sous vide for 1.5 to 2 hours at 50C°. After this, remove from the water bath, save the juices from the bag for a sauce if you want to. Let the fillet rest.
- Prepare the duxelle
Add olive oil or butter to a frying pan and sauté the onions for about 5 minutes, then add the garlic and fry for a minut. Add the mushroom and sauté over medium heat. Make sure to take the time for this to ensure the mushrooms lose all their moisture (otherwise the pastry will get soggy). Slowly fry them for 20-25 minutes. Once done – let it cool down without cover to allow the last moisture to escape.
- Optional: make a crepe Not all beef wellington comes with crepe and prosciutto layers – it’s either 1 of these options. For this recipe we followed Alex the French Guy’s recipe using both prosciutto and a crepe.
- Prepare the fillet wrap Roll out cling foil and place the prosciutto in a rectangular shape (a bit longer than the fillet and enough to wrap the diameter of the fillet. Divide the cooled down mushroom duxelle evenly over the prosciutto.
- Roll the fillet Take the fillet, and spread some mustard over it. Lay the fillet at the beginning of the prosciutto-duxelle layer, and slowly roll the fillet tightly. This takes some practise (link video to French guy). Cool it down in the fridge. You can do this 2 days in advance.
- The pastry wrap and finish The final step is important. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C. You have to move quickly here, as you don’t want the puff pastry to get warm. Prepare the egg wash, and then roll out the cool puff pastry from the fridge on cling foil. Brush a strip on one side of the puff pastry with the egg wash to act as a glue. Take the fillet out of the fridge, remove the cling foil, and place the fillet on the puff pastry and roll it towards the egg-wash brushed end. Tighten it, brush it with egg wash, you can use a sharp knife to make some artisanal carvings, sprinkle it with some coarse salt and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, just until browned and crisp.