When it comes to common kitchen disasters, beef Wellington is right up there - so at Holly’s request, John's here with another masterclass, showing us how to achieve fillet-filled pastry perfection.
John says: I don’t care what anyone says a Beef Wellington is the holy grail to any carnivore. This is one of those dishes that have been done so badly at big functions that people have sort of given up on it, but you have to try this at home, it is so good and although the recipe is for 6-8, 4 people will devour this no trouble at all.
1 – 1.4kg beef fillet, trimmed
50g (2oz) butter
2 shallots, chopped
15g (½oz) dried porcini soaked in 100ml boiling water
2 garlic cloves chopped
225g (8oz) flat mushrooms finely chopped
2tsp chopped fresh thyme
170g pack chicken liver pate
2 x 80g pack Parma ham slices
Flour to dust
375g (13oz) ready rolled puff pastry
1 medium egg beaten
Put the beef on a board and season all over with salt and pepper. Melt half the butter in a large frying pan over a medium heat. When foaming, put the fillet in the pan and brown all over for 4 – 5 minutes, taking care not to burn the butter. Put the beef on a plate and leave to cool.
Melt the remaining butter in a separate pan, add the shallots and cook for 1 minute. Drain the porcini, reserving the liquor. Chop the porcini, and then add to the pan with the garlic, the reserved liquor and the flat mushrooms. Increase the heat and cook until the mushrooms are dry in the pan, then season and add the thyme. Cool.
Put the pate in a bowl and beat until smooth, add the mushroom mixture and stir well until thoroughly combined. Season to taste. Transfer the cold fillet to a board and use a palette knife to spread half the mushroom mixture evenly over one side of the beef.
Lay half the Parma ham on cling film, overlapping the slices. Invert the mushroom topped beef on to the ham. Spread the remaining mushroom mixture over the beef, and then wrap the rest of the Parma ham, also overlapping, on top of the mushroom mixture. Wrap in cling film and chill. Preheat the oven to 220C/gas mark 7.
Unwrap the beef, brush with the egg and place on the cooked pastry.
Roll out the pastry to a large rectangle, measuring 30 x 40 cm. Wrap the beef with the pastry. Tuck the ends under and seal the edges. Brush with more beaten egg. Decorate the top with Pastry roses and brush with the egg to glaze. Put the wellington in the freezer for 20 minutes before baking.
Place on a pieces of greaseproof paper on a baking sheet and cook at 200C for 30-40 minutes for rare to medium rare, 45 minutes for medium. Leave to stand for 10 minutes before carving.