Homemade Beef Wellington Recipe with Donald Russell.Jump to Recipe
Gentle reader, I am not a great follower of recipes. Most of what I cook I’ve made in one form or another for years – and what I do has evolved to suit my palate, culinary expertise (or lack of) and patience. I’ve made individual beef wellingtons for a while now – and while they may not be things of great beauty they make an easy dinner party or posh supper dish. So I was intrigued when Donald Russell asked me to try making homemade beef wellington with some of their own fillet steaks – and using their recipe.
The difference between the Donald Russell method and my own is subtle. I have never wrapped my meat in parma ham. And, my mushroom duxelles mixture is significantly simpler. Oh, and my pastry skills didn’t really match the Donald Russell recipe requirements – my first attempt floundered when I got to the part of the recipe where it seemed to think I needed three pieces of pastry. I didn’t read the recipe through to the end until I was ‘mid’ wellington – and when I did, I discovered I needed a lattice cutter!
While my first attempt looked pretty enough, I was lucky that I still had a couple of steaks left in the freezer so I could try again. Donald Russell sends their meat in individual packages, all flash-frozen to preserve the quality and texture. While I am happy enough to buy mince, chicken breasts and braising steak frozen, I normally buy my ‘special’ meat by visiting a local butcher so I was intrigued to try the Donald Russell steaks. Of course, I know that Donald Russell sells excellent quality meat – and I loved the Crown Roast of Lamb that I cooked a few months ago. The advantage of buying your steaks flash frozen is that a professional freezing process helps preserve the texture and flavour of the fresh meat – and of course, the product can be frozen at exactly the right point of maturity. Once in your freezer, these individual fillet steaks are the perfect thing to keep on hand for an unexpected guest or two.
To make the wellingtons, the first thing to do is to defrost the meat thoroughly. You can leave them in the fridge for a few hours or, if you are in a hurry, pop them into a cold water bath to help them thaw out more quickly. I recommend taking them out of the packaging once defrosted and patting them dry with kitchen roll before trimming them as necessary (I cut mine down to about 120g and use the extra meat to make a delicious stir fry!), seasoning them with pepper and then sealing them quickly with a little thyme garlic and butter.
Put the meat to one side to cool and make the mushroom duxelles. I didn’t worry too much about halving the recipe quantity- the leftover duxelles makes a lovely pasta topping with a little creme fraiche.
Once the duxelles has cooled down, you can set about making your wellington. Remember you need a lattice cutter if you want the pretty top – and you’ll also need some way of cutting out your pastry. The first time I cut oblong shapes to fit the meat. The second time, I carefully trimmed the meat to make a ’rounder’ shape and then used saucepan lids of different sized to cut out the rounds – a medium saucepan for the base, a slightly larger one for the first top and the same medium-sized one for the lattice – which had to be pulled out to shape. I’m quite proud of my first attempt and it was nothing like as fiddly as I’d anticipated.
Homemade beef wellington is much, much nicer than ready-made in my opinion. Perhaps that’s because you can get the seasoning exactly as you want it – and perhaps it’s because there’s no compromise on quality. Certainly, the Donald Russell fillet steak was perfect for the task – meltingly tender and very easy to work with. And I loved the convenience of the individually frozen steaks.
If you want to make your own, here’s the recipe. I used shop-bought all-butter puff pastry but you could, of course, make your own. And, you could even try using the flaky pastry recipe I use for Cornish pasties.
Homemade Beef Wellington from Scratch
- 2 125g Centre cut fillet steaks
- 1 tbsp Olive oil
- 30 g Butter
- 1 Banana shallot finely chopped
- 2 cloves Garlic cloves crushed or finely chopped
- 4 sprigs Thyme
- 50-75 ml Madeira or red wine Original recipe says Madeira, which I didn't have so I substituted 75ml of red wine and reduced for longer
- 150 grams Flat mushrooms, cleaned and peeled if necessary Finely chopped. The original recipe suggests putting through a food processor, but I prefer to chop by hand to keep more texture
- 1 splash Truffle oil Original recipe suggests white truffle oil - I used black
- 6 slices Parma ham
- 1/2 pack All butter rolled puff pastry
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper to taste
Heat the oil in a frying pan
Season the beef with pepper and brown the fillet on all sides with half the thyme and garlic and with a little butter
Remove the fillet, discard the thyme, cover loosely and set to one side in the fridge
Use the same pan and add the remaining butter. Gently soften the shallots until they are translucent.
Add the mushrooms and the remaining thyme leaves removed from the stalk. Stir well and cook for a minute or two.
Add the wine and simmer gently, stirring frequently, till all the liquid has reduced down and the mushrooms are well cooked.
Add the truffle oil and season with salt and pepper. Transfer the mixture to a small pot and allow it to cool down before popping in the fridge until you are ready to cook.
10 minutes before you are ready to make up the Wellingtons, take the steaks and mushroom mixture from the fridge and set the oven to 195C.
Lay out a double thickness of cling film and spread 3 slices of ham on to it. Put a single steak on top in the centre and make a dome with a spoonful of the mushroom mixture. Pull the ham up to wrap the steak, then use the clingfilm to wrap the steak up into a nice shape.
Repeat for the other steak and put both back in the fridge while you roll out the pastry
Roll out your puff pastry to about 1/4cm. Using the saucepan lids, cut three circles of pastry for each steak, 2 which are just a little larger than the steak and one which is about 2cm larger than the others.
Place each beef fillet in the centre of one of the smaller rounds of pastry. Eggwash around the edge of the pastry
Put the larger circles on top and gently pull down to create a parcel. Crimp or seal the edge with a fork. Wash the top with egg glaze
Using the lattice cutter, score the remaining circles, spread gently apart and lay over the top of the Wellington. Press to seal the edges with a fork or reversed pastry cutter
Put back in the fridge for 10 minutes to set, then check that pastry is even and that everything is sealed
Egg wash over the top of the whole wellingtons and put in the oven for 22 minutes until the pastry is golden brown.
Remove from the oven and allow to rest for a couple of minutes before serving.
This recipe should cook your steak to medium-rare. Make sure you use a thick (2cm or so) slice of fillet steak and don’t forget to leave the wellingtons to rest for a few minutes. Serve these homemade beef wellingtons with mushroom or red wine sauce for a perfect dinner party show stopper!
To find out more about Donald Russell products check their website
Disclosure: I was gifted the Crown of Lamb by Donald Russell for the purpose of writing this review. All content is editorially given