My husband says he had feelings for me immediately after our first date, but he truly fell in love after I made him Beef Wellington. It just doesn't get better for a meat lover: Tender Filet Mignon covered with an umami blanket of exotic mushrooms and a layer of salty prosciutto, all wrapped up in a golden, flaky puff pastry. YUM! Not to mention, a thyme infused Gorgonzola cream sauce that makes life just a little bit better with every bite.
The classic Beef Wellington is usually made with a very large (and expensive!) piece of tenderloin, which makes it a much bigger commitment and a meal reserved for a very special occasion. Because I mostly cook dinner for just the two of us, I developed a simple method to create a smaller portion, perfect for 2, 3 or 4 people. Plus, it's so cute to get a personal encrusted filet that only you get to unveil. The classic version also calls for dicing the mushrooms so fine that they basically become a pate. I prefer to keep the mushrooms a bit more chunky, both for looks and texture.
These individual Beef Wellingtons are perfect for a romantic date or a small and special dinner party, especially because you can form the Wellingtons in the morning, chill them in the fridge (which actually makes them taste better!) and then just bake them right before guests show up. I promise that your house will smell like heaven. Let's get cooking!
Step 1: Gather Your Ingredients
Note: The following amounts serve 2 people. Just double everything to serve 4, except for the garlic cloves, just add one more.
For the Wellingtons:
2 Beef Filet Mignon Steaks
3/4 lb to 1 lb mixed exotic mushrooms such as Shiitakes, Trumpet Royale, Maitake, Oyster, Forest Naimeko (or more common ones like white, crimini or portobello)
1 large shallot (equal to 1/4 cup when minced)
3 garlic cloves
1 tsp finely minced thyme leaves (from a small bunch)
1 tbs finely chopped Italian (flat leaf) parsley
pinch of hot pepper flakes (or more if you like heat)
1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
4 slices of Prosciutto
1 sheet of Puff Pastry (preferrably Pepperidge Farm) defrosted overnight in fridge or for 40 minutes on the counter
1 egg, beaten slightly with 1 tsp of water
For the Gorgonzola Sauce:
1 cup heavy cream
2 oz crumbly Gorgonzola
2 tbs grated parmesan
2 sprigs of thyme
1 tbs minced parsley
freshly ground black pepper (1/4 to 1/2 tsp, depending on how much you like pepper)
kosher salt to taste
Step 2: Season and Sear the Filets
Remove the Filet Mignons from the fridge a half hour before cooking and let them stand at room temperature. Season the filets with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (about 3/4 tsp kosher salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper). Try to season them evenly, getting the sides as well.
Heat 1 tbs of olive oil in a heavy bottom pan (preferably cast iron) over medium high heat until just smoking. Add the filets and sear for no more than a minute on each side. You're just looking to get the brown crust, which gives the meat so much flavor. Leave them very rare, as they will have plenty of time to cook in the puff pastry. Remove the filets from pan, turn off heat temporarely and set aside.
Step 3: Cook the Mushrooms
Wipe the mushrooms with a damp paper towel. You don’t want to wash them because they will absorb the and make the puff pastry soggy. Finely chop the mushrooms into uniform pieces.
Heat the same pan (don’t add any oil, you want to evaporate as much moisture as possible) over medium heat until nice and hot, but not smoking. Add the mushrooms and sear until cooked through and golden brown. Don’t stir the mushrooms initially so they get a little brown, about 4 minutes. Then, keep cooking and stir for another 2 minutes, season with a sprinkle of kosher salt and black pepper. Remove mushrooms from pan and set aside. And go ahead...taste their glorious umaminess! I love exotic mushrooms so much and make extra in this recipe so I can munch on them while I cook :)
Step 4: Cook the Aromatics
Finely chop the shallot and garlic. Mince the thyme and parsley. Add 1tbs of olive oil and 1 tbs of butter to the same pan and heat on medium low until butter is melted. Add all the chopped aromatics and the pinch of hot flakes. Cook, stirring often, until shallots are soft. Don’t burn! Keep the heat on low if necessary and stir often! Add the mushrooms to the pan and season everything with a little kosher salt and some fresh black pepper (just a few sprinkles) and add the fresh lemon juice. Remove from heat and set aside.
And yes, taste again. Because now the mushrooms have even more flavor!
Step 5: Spread Mushrooms Over Prosciutto
Lay a piece of Saran large enough to wrap a filet in flat on the counter. Place 2 slices of prosciutto on top, slightly overlapping. Spread half of the mushroom mixture (or less, you don’t want it to be impossible to wrap) evenly over the prosciutto and place one of the filets over the prosciutto to the side.
Step 6: Wrap the Filets in Prosciutto
Starting at the short end of the prosciutto slices, carefully roll the cooked filet using the plastic wrap. It’s ok if some of the mushrooms spill out a bit. Then roll in the ends, trying to push the mushrooms back into the prosciutto. Tighten the sides quite well, twist the ends and tuck them underneath. Place the filets on a plate and chill in the fridge at least a half hour. In the meantime, defrost the puff pasty for 30 or 40 minutes on the counter if you haven't done so yet
Step 7: Roll and Cut Puff Pastry
Place defrosted puff pastry on a surface (preferably a cold one) and roll out slightly. Cut in half, so the pieces are big enough to enclose the filets.
Step 8: Wrap the Filets in Puff Pastry
Lightly beat one egg with one tsp of water. Brush the egg wash around the border of the puff pastry. This will help the dough adhere more easily.
Unwrap the filets, use scissors if you need to, and place in the center of the pastry, aligning the long edge of the beef with the short edge of the pastry. Wrap one side of pastry over, roll the filet and tighten the seam.
Trim the side ends if they are too long, or the pastry will cook unevenly. You want the puff pastry to be pretty much the same thickness all around.
Fold the ends in (kinda like when you wrap a present) and pinch the dough closed.
Step 9: Bake the Beef Wellingtons
Place the wrapped beef wellingtons on a sheet pan, with a sharp knife cut 3 or 4 small slits on the non-seam side. Brush the tops with some more egg wash and lightly sprinkle with some flaky salt, like Maldon. Or kosher salt will do. Chill in the fridge for a half hour or up to 4 hours.
This is a great time to prepare the rest of the meal and set the table!
Step 10: Make the Gorgonzola Cream Sauce
While the Wellingtons chill, make the sauce.
Pour the heavy cream into a small pan and add the thyme sprigs. Bring cream to a boil and quickly lower heat to a simmer. Cook until the cream is reduced to a thick sauce consistency as in the picture, about 7 to 10 minutes. It should leave streaks if you run a spoon through it. Remove from heat and add the gorgonzola, grated parmesan cheese and chopped parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste. I like a lot of pepper...goes great with steak.
Note: if doubling the sauce, cooking time to reduce the cream will double also.
Step 11: Cook the Beef Wellingtons
Preheat oven to 425. Place the sheet pan with the Wellingtons in the oven and cook until the pastry is golden and steaks are cooked to desired temperature. This will take a little bit of practice to master. Start by taking a peek at 20 minutes, but it could take up to 30 or more, depending on your oven. 25 to 30 minutes is usually what it takes for me. And try not to open the oven or the heat will escape, which slows the browning of the pastry. Let the color of the pastry be your main guide... a nice golden crust usually means the whole thing is done. It's also a good idea to use a meat thermometer to check the steak. 125 to 130 is medium rare. 140 to 145 is medium. 150 plus is well done. If you want it well done (WHY?!?) just cook longer but lower heat to 375.
ENJOY!!! But beware...someone may fall in love with you ;)