NB: This dish needs a bit of planning. You will need to start it the day before you are going to cook it.
— 600g good beef fillet, taken from the centre of the fillet
— 50g olive oil
— 50g butter
— 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
— 20g finely chopped shallots
— 300g Chestnut mushrooms, washed and dried
— 100g Madeira
— 5g chopped tarragon
— 6 slices Parma ham
— 500g Puff pastry
— Flour for dusting
— 1 egg beaten with ½ teaspoon salt – eggwash
— Salt and pepper for seasoning
— Sesame seeds, poppy seeds and sea salt – optional
— At least one day in advance, wrap the beef fillet in a triple layer of cling film to set its shape and refrigerate overnight.
— Next day, remove the cling film from the beef fillet; baste with the olive oil and season with pepper. Heat the frying pan until very hot, sear the fillet around 60 seconds then rotate a ¼ then sear for another 60 seconds, repeat until the whole fillet is nicely browned, remove from the pan to cool.
— While the beef is cooling, make the duxelle: Melt the butter in the frying pan used to sear the fillet, add the shallots and garlic. Meanwhile blitz the mushrooms to a coarse consistency – you don’t want a puree! When the shallots are translucent add the chopped mushrooms, cook until tender then add the Madeira and reduce until all the liquid has evaporated. Remove from the pan and cool.
— Making the Wellington (1): Roll out the puff pastry to around 30cm by 25cm by 1/2cm depth. Lay the Parma ham slices on the pastry, leaving a gap at one end. Spread the duxelle over the Parma ham. Seat the beef at the end where the duxelle is flush with the pastry.
— Making the Wellington (2): Egg wash the Wellington. Score it with the back of a knife to make a pattern. Egg wash again. Sprinkle with the optional sea salt, poppy seeds and the sea salt and place on a baking tray lined with baking parchment.
— Cooking: Pre-heat your oven to 175 C and cook the Wellington for around 35 to 40 minutes until the pastry is golden brown. I would start the cook on the top shelf of the oven then move it to the bottom after 10 to 15 minutes.
— Remove from the oven and rest for at least 15 to 20 minutes before carving and serving.