I make Beef Wellington every year for Christmas, and also for special occasions when I really want to impress someone. It’s truly one of the most delicious foods on Earth. Beef tenderloin is wrapped in mushroom duxelles, salty prosciutto, and flaky puff pastry for a delicious and flavorful main course.
When people ask me what my favorite thing is to cook, I tell them Beef Wellington. No joke. It’s one of the most delicious things I have the privilege of eating and it never gets old. Add a rich Potato Gratin, Roasted Parsnips, or a classic Rice Pilaf and you have a truly out-of-this-world feast.
Beef Wellington is not hard to make, even though it might look intimidating at first glance. You just have to give yourself time to go through the steps, which we’ll go over below. So long as you start well ahead of time and don’t try to make it in a rush, it’s a fairly stress-free process.
Why This Recipe Is The Best
It’s pretty foolproof – I know how scary it can be to cook a pretty expensive piece of meat, and for this recipe we go top of the line with a large fillet of beef. But if you follow the timing and steps precisely, it will come out well.
It’s outrageously delicious – Here we have the chateaubriand cut of beef, which is the center cut portion of the tenderloin, seared and wrapped in duxelles, prosciutto, and puff pastry. Duxelles is a mixture of finely chopped and cooked mushrooms, shallots, and herbs, and it’s SO delicious.
The sauce is built in to the process, and you can even skip it – I’d argue that the beef wellington is star enough to be enjoyed on its own, but you can also use the meat drippings from the skillet to make a quick sauce. I only bother making the sauce for really special occasions.
Most of the time I make Beef Wellington and serve it to guests, I don’t even bother making the sauce, because it’s so good it doesn’t need it. There is such an incredible amount of flavor from the mushrooms, shallots, herbs, prosciutto, and puff pastry. But I do share below how you can turn the leftover juices and brown bits from searing the meat into a simple sauce. This can help it look and taste a little more impressive, akin to something you’d get from a restaurant!
Tips for Best Results
Buy center cut beef – Ask the butcher for a center cut piece of beef tenderloin, which is sometimes sold at the store labeled “chateaubriand.” This is the same cut that a filet mignon comes from. The whole tenderloin is larger on one end and more tapered on the other, and also much larger than you’ll need for this recipe, so you want to have those ends removed and instead use the center portion, which will have a more even thickness and therefore cook more uniformly.
Cook the mushrooms in a screamin’ hot pan – Think about the difference in taste between steamed, soggy, gray mushrooms, and thoroughly browned and somewhat crisp on the edges mushrooms. You want the latter here, to get that intensified and caramelized flavor from the baby bellas. To do that, you’ll want to cook the duxelles in a really hot pan, until all of the moisture cooks out.
Use real butter puff pastry – Please don’t buy the cheap puff pastry that isn’t even made with butter. You’re already spending so much on the meat, that this dish deserves true buttery puff pastry. I use Dufour brand.
Step by Step Overview:
Beef wellington is most about assembly, and is not actually difficult to make. Let’s walk through the process.
Make the duxelles
To get started, make the mushroom duxelles by pulsing some baby bella mushrooms, onion, garlic, and thyme:
Cook the mushroom mixture over medium-high heat for 10 minutes, to cook out the moisture and take the mushrooms to a beautiful golden brown color.
Spread the duxelles on a layer of prosciutto
Evenly spread the duxelles on a layer of prosciutto spread across a large piece of plastic wrap. I like using Prosciutto di Parma from Italy, also known as Parma ham. Sprinkle some extra thyme leaves on top, and maybe some coarse salt and black pepper, for good measure:
Sear the meat
Tie the beef fillet with kitchen twine so it holds its shape, pat the meat with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture, then sear all over in a large pan to brown it:
Tying with twine is especially important if you’re not using center-cut beef tenderloin, because the ends of a whole beef filet can be a bit uneven. What I’m using above is the Chateaubriand, so it has a pretty uniform thickness.
Wrap the meat, then chill it
Cut the twine off the seared tenderloin after cooking, brush the tenderloin with a grainy Dijon mustard, then wrap it in the prosciutto:
Refrigerate for 30 minutes, to chill the meat. This will ensure that the beef doesn’t get overcooked later in the oven before the puff pastry on the outside has a chance to brown.
If you want to make the beef wellington ahead of time, you can stop here and leave the prepped beef in the fridge for up to 6 hours.
Roll out the puff pastry
When you’re ready to bake, roll out a sheet of cold puff pastry using a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface, making sure to brush off the excess flour once it’s the proper size. Try to do this part quickly so the puff pastry doesn’t warm up to room temperature. Just like pie crust, the colder it is when it hits the oven, the flakier it will be.
Please oh PLEASE make sure to use an all-butter puff pastry here. Not that cheap stuff that uses hydrogenated trans fat vegetable oil. I promise you, all-butter puff pastry is worth the cost. I buy Dufour brand, which I find at Whole Foods.
Roll up the tenderloin, and prep the outside
Remove the twine from the tenderloin, then wrap it in the puff pastry. Trim the ends as needed before sealing.
Place the wrapped beef on a baking sheet (there is no need to add parchment paper, as the puff pastry is so buttery it is unlikely to stick). Before you put it into the oven, brush with beaten egg wash (either a whole egg or just an egg yolk) and cut Xs in the top using a sharp chef’s knife or paring knife. The egg wash is very important for color, otherwise the puff pastry won’t look golden. The Xs are important for venting.
Now, place the entire sheet pan into the oven!
Make the sauce while the meat is in the oven
Take the pan you seared the tenderloin in, and add butter, thyme, and garlic:
Add sliced onion as well and cook for 5 minutes over medium heat to impart the flavors into the butter:
Add Brandy to deglaze, and if you have a gas stove, light the Brandy (and make sure to stand back). If you don’t have Brandy on hand, you may also use red wine. If you have an electric stove or are using red wine, you can skip the lighting step.
Add beef stock and reduce, then add heavy cream at the end:
Strain the solids out of the sauce, and it’s done. It’s very simple!
How to Serve
Let the Beef Wellington rest briefly on a wire rack (and not a cutting board, so as to prevent sogginess), then slice it into thick slices about 2″ wide, and serve with the sauce. You can either place the sauce into a small bowl and set on the table, or put sauce on the bottom of each plate, plating each slice of beef on top.
For complementary side dishes, I love serving this with Saffron Rice, Cauliflower “Mashed Potatoes”, or Roasted Brussels Sprouts. In the fall I also like Roasted Acorn Squash or Roasted Sweet Potatoes.
Recipe Tips and FAQ:
You can prep the beef up to 6 hours ahead, but I don’t recommend a full day ahead. The instructions are in the post.
First, you should try to eat the dish while it’s freshly made, as it’s definitely not as good once the puff pastry has been refrigerated. But if you reheat it, you can re-warm in a 250F oven for about 12 minutes or even in the microwave at 50% power, as long as you’re heating the meat gently and making sure not to remove all the pink from the inside. You want to warm it, not cook it again.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.
Honestly it’s best when it’s still warm, when the beef still has heat and the puff pastry is still flaky. Let the tenderloin cool slightly so the juices can redistribute, about 10 minutes, but enjoy soon after.
It is essential to keep the beef wellington on a wire rack after cooking, otherwise the pastry will get soggy.
For the Duxelles:
- 1 lb baby bella mushrooms
- 1/2 yellow onion peeled and roughly chopped
- 3 cloves garlic peeled and roughly chopped
- the leaves from 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper
For the Beef:
- 3 lb chateaubriand center cut beef tenderloin
- salt and pepper
- 4 oz thinly sliced prosciutto
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
- flour for rolling out puff pastry
- 12 oz all-butter puff pastry thawed
- 1 large egg lightly beaten (for egg wash)
For the Beef Wellington Sauce:
- reserved drippings and pan from searing beef above
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1/3 small onion sliced or chopped
- 3 cloves garlic peeled and smashed
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 tbsp brandy
- 26 oz box beef stock (3.25 cups)
- 2 tbsp heavy cream
- 2 tbsp grainy Dijon mustard
- For the Duxelles: Add the mushrooms, onion, garlic, and thyme leaves to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the oil to a large skillet and set over medium high heat. Pour the food processor mixture into the pan and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until most of the liquid has cooked out. Season with salt and pepper and set aside to cool.
- For the Beef: Place a heavy bottomed skillet over medium high heat. Using kitchen twine, tie the tenderloin in 4 places. This will help it hold its shape while cooking. Season the beef all over with salt and pepper. When the skillet is hot, add the oil and sear the beef all over to brown the meat. Do not sear the beef for more than 5 minutes total, so just a minute on each side. Remove the beef to a plate, take the pan off the heat, and set aside for later (do not clean it).
- Lay out a large piece of plastic wrap, about 18 inches or so, and evenly space out the prosciutto so that it covers most of the plastic wrap. You want it spread out enough to fully wrap the beef when we roll it up. Spread the duxelles evenly over the prosciutto, then sprinkle with salt, pepper, and a few extra thyme leaves.
- Trim the twine from the beef, brush the tenderloin with the Dijon mustard, then place the beef on the duxelles. Use the plastic wrap to wrap the entire beef tenderloin in the duxelles and prosciutto, then twist the ends of the plastic wrap tightly so the beef holds its log shape. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- On a floured surface, roll the puff pastry thinly enough so it can wrap around all of the beef, about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. Remove the beef from the plastic wrap, then set the beef in the center of the puff pastry, and roll it tightly in the puff pastry. Crimp the edges, using egg wash to help you seal the edges and sides. Place the beef seam side down onto a sheet pan. Brush the entire pastry with the egg wash, then cut Xs on top to let the steam escape while cooking. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes* until the beef measures 125F with a thermometer, and the puff pastry is golden brown. Remove from the oven and place the beef on a wire rack to rest for at least 10 minutes while you make the sauce.
- For the Beef Wellington Sauce: Add butter to the pan you seared the beef in, and set over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and thyme, and saute for 5 minutes to impart the flavors. Remove the pan from the heat, add the brandy, then if you’re using a gas stove, light the brandy to burn the alcohol off. If you have an electric stove, you can skip that step. After the flame has died down, return the pan to the heat and add the beef stock. Turn the heat to high and reduce the liquid by half. Add the cream and mustard, then strain the sauce to remove the solids.
- Slice the beef wellington into thick slices, about 2 inches wide, and serve with the sauce. Enjoy!
Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.