Created by our Chef, Phillip Schaaf
Beef Wellington is an iconic British dish often featured as a centerpiece for celebratory occasions due to its elegant presentation and luxurious layers of flavor. The Wellington is comprised of a few separate components presented in a parcel of puff pastry baked to a flaky golden brown. While it isn’t the simplest preparation for a filet, the end result will prove well worth the trouble upon the first bite.
The Grass Roots Way
This dish incorporates the filet— Grass Roots filet is a steak cut from the tenderloin of the beef. Because the tenderloin is a muscle that gets little use, a filet is one of the more tender and leaner beef steaks. Each steak is dry-aged and hand-trimmed to ensure the quality of the cut. Grass Roots cattle are raised outdoors, moved to fresh pasture daily, and never given antibiotics or growth hormones and full of flavor!
Duxelles is a mushroom “pate” made from finely chopped mushroom and shallot, with fresh thyme and parsley stirred in at the finish. The cream is sometimes used to help bind the duxelles, but it isn’t essential. This earthy, herby mixture also makes a delicious spread for crusty baguettes with a bit of Fromage. It lends a richness to the inner layers of the Wellington.
The pastry dough holds it all together in a buttery, flaky “envelope.” Sure, we could spend another few hours making a perfect pastry dough to wrap our Wellington in, or you could purchase a perfectly good dough from the freezer section of your grocery store. Puff pastry is my preference because it is a bit lighter than a pie pastry dough. It’s also easy to work with, but the elasticity increases as the dough thaws, so it’s best to work quickly.
A slice of Grass Roots ham provides a savory umami to the layered flavors of the Wellington. The ham will also wrap around the duxelles and the filet, keeping all of the ingredients packed tightly. Grass Roots sliced ham is rich in flavor, thick-cut, naturally cured, hickory-smoked, nitrate, and nitrite free.
Homemade Beef Stock
The sauce is a heavily herbed reduction of red wine and beef stock. It is best to use homemade beef stock to benefit from all of the gelatin that will help set the viscosity of the sauce. The complexity of the sweet acidic red wine and the full-bodied beef flavor of the stock will tie the whole dish together. Another perk to making your own beef stock - make a big batch and freeze it for soups all winter long!
4-5 pounds Grass Roots beef broth bones, grass-fed and finished
1 pound of Grass Roots stew meat, grass-fed and finished
1-2 medium onions, peeled and quartered
1-2 large carrots, cut into 1-2 inch segments
A Handful of celery tops, parsley (stems & leaves), 2-3 cloves of unpeeled garlic, 1-2 bay leaves, and 10 peppercorns
1. Preheat oven to 400°F and cover Grass Roots stew meat, carrots, and onions in olive oil. Add stew meat and vegetables to a large shallow roasting pan, along with the Grass Roots beef broth bones. Roast for 45 minutes, flipping meat pieces and bones halfway into cooking. Bones should look light to medium brown, with no burning.
2. Add the stew meat, bones, vegetables, and browned bits to a 16-quart stockpot. Add celery tops, garlic, parsley, bay leaves, and peppercorns. Fill the stockpot with cold water, making sure to cover the bones 1 to 2 inches over the top. Start with high heat and bring to a low simmer, then reduce to low heat. The water temperature should reach between 180° and 200°F (boiling is 212°F). Cover the pot loosely, letting simmer low and slow for 3-6 hours. Note: Avoid stiring the stock while cooking will cloud up the stock, by mixing the fats with the stock.
3. Once cooking is complete (3 hours min, 6-8 hours preffered) use a slotted spoon or ladle to remove the bones and vegetables from the pot. Line a large pot with fine mesh and a couple of layers of cheesecloth and pouring stock through to strain.
Beef Wellington Preparation
Making a proper Wellington is going to take a bit of time. It is a laborious process that yields maximum deliciousness so it’s worth it to see it through. Be patient and prepare to impress your dinner guests with this amazing meal.
4 Grass Roots 4–6 oz filets, grass-fed, and finished
Generous amount of kosher salt, pepper, and olive (or grapeseed oil)
Season the filets generously with kosher salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a heavy skillet. Let the oil reach the smoke point and then sear the filets on all sides. (Searing at high heat ensures that the meat will not cook internally, just get a nice brown crust.) Set the beef aside to cool, then place in the refrigerator to cool completely.
4 oz Cremini mushrooms, chopped fine
1 small shallot, finely diced
1 tsp fresh chopped thyme
1 Tbsp butter, salt and pepper to taste and 1 oz white wine
Chop the mushrooms by hand or in a food processor. Melt the butter in a skillet then cook the mushrooms until they are starting to dry out a bit. Then add the thyme, white wine, and season with salt and pepper. Remove the Duxelles from a pan and spread it out on a flat pan then refrigerate until it is thoroughly cooled.
Lay a sheet of plastic film wrap onto a cutting board. Lay two pieces of ham down on the wrap and spoon one ounce of Duxelles onto the ham. Place a seared filet on top of the Duxelles and wrap the ham around the beef filet. Wrap tightly with the film wrap and repeat with the rest of the ingredients. Once all the filets are wrapped with ham and Duxelles, place them in the freezer for thirty minutes.
Red Wine Sauce
4 oz Grass Roots beef scraps, grass-fed, and finished
2 Tbsp olive oil, 1 bottle of red wine
3 Large shallots, diced
2 Sprigs thyme, 1 bay leaf, 10 black peppercorns, and 2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 C homemade beef stock
In a large saucepot, heat the oil and sear the beef scrap until deep brown. Add the shallots and cook until they start to caramelize. Add the red wine and bring to a boil, then reduce until the wine has almost completely evaporated. Add the beef stock and the rest of the ingredients. Reduce the sauce until it reaches the desired consistency, this will take about an hour, and then strain it through a fine-mesh sieve and set aside
4 Ham wrapped filets
4 sheets of puff pastry (4 oz), and egg wash
Pull the puff pastry from the freezer about ten minutes before assembling the Wellington. It is best to work on a lightly floured surface. Remove the ham wrapped filets from the freezer and remove the plastic wrap from the meat. Place the meat in the center of the puff pastry sheet and brush egg wash on the corners of the pastry dough. Fold the dough around the meat and pinch the dough together at the seam until it looks like a uniform sheet. Repeat the process with the other three and then wrap them all with film wrap and set them in the refrigerator for thirty minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Brush the Wellington with the egg wash and place on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the puff pastry reaches a golden brown. Remove from the oven and let them rest for 8 minutes. Spoon a couple of ounces of the sauce into the middle of the plate and place the Wellington directly on top of the sauce. Spoon more over the pastry if desired. Sit back and admire all of your hard work before you dig in!