Slideshow: The Food Lab: How To Make The Ultimate Beef Wellington

The Dictator-For-Life Of Holiday Roasts
The Dictator-For-Life Of Holiday Roasts
The ultimate in luxurious roasts, Beef Wellington combines beef tenderloin, a rich mushroom duxelles, foie gras, and prosciutto, all wrapped in a buttery puff pastry crust.
Lay Out The Twine
Lay Out The Twine
Start with a center-cut trimmed beef tenderloin, also known as a châteaubriand. Lay out an array of lengths of kitchen twine long enough to wrap up your tenderloin and start tying. To ensure the ties don't slip as you form tighten them, cross the ends over three times before trying to tie the granny knot.
Work Towards The Center
Work Towards The Center
Start from the outside and alternate between sides to work towards the center. This will help give it a more uniform shape.
Season Liberally
Season Liberally
Season the tenderloin liberally on all sides with salt and pepper.
Sear
Sear
Heat a couple tablespoons of oil in a stainless steel or cast iron pan until it starts to smoke, then carefully sear the tenderloin on all sides to develop flavor.
Discard Twine
Discard Twine
Remove the twine and discard it.
Gather Your 'Shrooms
Gather Your 'Shrooms
Gather a pound of mushrooms. They can be all white mushrooms, or a mix of whatever you'd like. I'm using white, shiitake, and portobello. Clean them, trim them, and roughly chop them.
Process
Process
Place the mushrooms in the food processor in batches, pulsing to finely chop them and using a spatula to make sure the chop evenly.
What We Want
What We Want
This is the texture you're looking for. Finely chopped, but not pureed.
Mince Thyme
Mince Thyme
Mince some thyme and set it aside. It's a pain in the butt to pick those tiny leaves, but the flavor is worth it in the end. Trust me on this one.
Melt Butter
Melt Butter
Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Does 4 tablespoons seem like it's a lot? Like it's decadent? That's because it is.
Cook the 'Shrooms
Cook the 'Shrooms
Add the mushrooms and cook them, stirring. You'll notice that at first they'll give off a ton of moisture. That's fine. just keep cooking as that moisture evaporates and eventually...
Add Shallots and Thyme
Add Shallots and Thyme
Add those shallots and thyme. The shallots will release a bit of moisture, allowing you to scrape up some of those browned bits. Keep cooking until the shallots are softened and the sizzling starts again, about 2 minutes longer.
Deglaze
Deglaze
Deglaze with a couple glugs of Cognac. Or Armagnac. Or any other brandy. Or Bourbon. Or Scotch. Or... whatever liquor suits you best. Just keep it unsweetened.
Add Cream
Add Cream
Add a half cup of heavy cream and continue to cook. The heavy cream will rapidly start to thicken, binding the whole mixture together.
Done!
Done!
Keep cooking until the mushroom mixture forms a single tight mass when you shake the pan around. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate it.
Season Your Foie Gras
Season Your Foie Gras
Season a couple of slabs of foie gras liberally with salt and pepper. (You can skip this step if you are planning on using a foie gras pâté).
Sear It!
Sear It!
Sear the foie in a hot hot skillet just until browned on both sides, about 30 seconds per side, using a thin offset spatula to turn.
Don't Forget The Fat!
Don't Forget The Fat!
Pour the rendered foie fat into the mushroom mixture, stir to combine, season to taste with salt and pepper, and return it to the fridge.
Split the Foie
Split the Foie
Split the foie gras in half horizontally.
Perfectly Cooked
Perfectly Cooked
If all went well, it should be a perfect medium-rare in the center.
Spread the 'Shrooms
Spread the 'Shrooms
Spread the mushroom mixture evenly over the prosciutto.
Lay The Beef
Lay The Beef
Place the beef roll along the bottom edge, and the foie gras slices on top. Start rolling by lifting the fillo dough using the plastic wrap as a sling.
Use Your Fingertips
Use Your Fingertips
Use your fingertips to push the beef and foie gras backwards as you roll forwards, keeping the package nice and tight.
Finished!
Finished!
When you get to the end, re-wrap the whole roll in the plastic wrap, getting it as tight as you can.
Twist-Tie
Twist-Tie
Wrap the roll in a new sheet of plastic wrap a couple fee long, rolling the beef up the short way so that the ends of the wrap extend far beyond the ends of the roll. Twist the ends tightly.
And Again
And Again
Wrap one last time, pulling the plastic as tight as it can go. Getting the roll very tight is essential to good presentation, and with Wellington, looks are almost as important as flavor. Chill the beef in the fridge for at least half an hour at this stage.
Place and Brush
Place and Brush
Place the beef roll along the bottom edge of the pastry sheet (lower than is shown in this photograph!) with the foie gras-laden side facing up, and brush the area above it with a beaten egg.
Roll and Trim
Roll and Trim
Roll the beef up until it is completely wrapped in pastry. Trim off the excess. If all went well, the beef should now be wrapped in the pastry with the foie gras-laden side facing up and the seam along the bottom.
Start Folding
Start Folding

Working with one side of the beef roll at a time, fold in the sides of the overhanging edges of the puff pastry towards the center, then fold the top flap down pretending you are wrapping a present. If you are not so good at wrapping presents, pretend you are wrapping a present the way somebody who is very good at wrapping presents wraps presents.

Use a sharp knife to trim off the bottom flap.

Ready For Its Paint Job
Ready For Its Paint Job
With the oven preheated, transfer the Wellington to a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet, seam-side down.
Brush!
Brush!
Brush it all over with beaten egg, making sure to get every surface. This will help create a glossy glaze and improve browning.
Score!
Score!
Use a sharp paring knife to score the Wellington into a pretty decorative pattern.
Bake
Bake
Bake the Wellington until the exterior is golden brown and the center registers 110 to 115°F for rare, or 120°F for medium-rare. This will take about 35 to 40 minutes.
Let It Rest
Let It Rest
Let the Wellington rest for 10 minutes on the baking sheet to cool slightly, allow juices inside to redistribute, and to allow the puff pastry to harden a bit. Then transfer it to a cutting board, carefully removing it from the foil so that it doesn't break open.
Trim
Trim
Trim off the ends with a sharp slicing knife. Eat them immediately before anyone notices.
Serve
Serve
Serve the Wellington, laying slices flat and sprinkling with chopped chives and more coarse salt. Take a bow. You've done well, my friend.