Beef Wellington with mushrooms and chestnuts is the main dish of my 3-course menu for Christmas. It works in the menu but also as a delicious winter dish on a stand-alone basis. I have a main article with the complete 3-course menu for you here. Also here are the links to the starter (creamy mushrooms soup with chestnuts) and the dessert (eclair with chestnut cream).
This article has been published in a collaboration with Delhaize. They sponsored the bigger part of the used ingredients. They set up a challenge every month, outlining a few guidelines. For the December 2016 challenge, the guidelines are a “3-course menu for Christmas”. Furthermore, they ask to mainly use products of their home brand and set a budget. In this case, besides those guidelines Delhaize only asked to publish what I did with the budget.
Beef Wellington with mushrooms and chestnuts
Beef. Wellington. What more need I say? The dish is a classic and I wanted to cook it for several years now. I never felt it was the “right” occasion for it but when is the right occasion anyways? So for the main course, I chose the Beef Wellington with a mushroom filling. In order to elevate the filling I added chestnuts; it gives the dish little twist and definitely an extra layer of flavour.
Even though the fillet is the “hero” of this dish and of the complete menu the sides are important, too. I tried to add something that goes well with Beef Wellington. That’s why I opted for green asparagus plus yellow and violet carrots with some broccoli (simply because I like broccoli). Another important part of the dish is the sauce. I created a red wine onion sauce that is almost an onion relish. The sauce is very strong, so you only use it sparingly.
There are so many variables that you need to consider when you make Beef Wellington. Once you wrapped it up it’s done. No more changes possible without re-doing the Beef Wellington. Or in other words, there is no margin of error. Either you do it perfectly and have an outstanding main dish. Or weakness in your technique will show the moment you cut into the Beef Wellington. That being said: Do I love a challenge!
The perfect Beef Wellington with mushrooms and chestnuts
Further down you will find the complete recipe for my version of the Beef Wellington. Before that a few important tips:
- Take your time for every step.
- Make sure the fillet has roughly the same size and thickness.
- Make sure the filling (mushroom / chestnut mix) is cooked before you sear the fillet and is very dry.
- Prepare the foil with the ham and filling mixture.
- Sear the fillet, quickly coat it with the mustard, wrap very tightly in foil and let it cool. This infuses the fillet and gives it a great taste.
- Only once it cooled down a little (at least 30 minutes), wrap it in pastry very tightly. You don’t want any holes or air pockets between the meat / filling / ham / pastry or else the meat will not cook evenly.
- Coat the pastry with some butter and wrap very tightly in foil. Place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
- When you’re ready for baking, put it in the preheated oven. If you think it’s done make sure to let the Beef Wellington rest for 5-10 minutes (depending on the thickness of the meat).
I realise that it seems very intimidating but if you prepare properly it’s more than manageable. Read my instructions carefully, maybe watch a few tutorials online or if you have the budget, try it in advance at least once. But I am sure you can manage it. It’s not an easy recipe, yet it’s one that that will really show off your skills and impress all of your guests.
When I took the Beef Wellington out of the oven and started plating the dish, I got really really anxious. That’s not the most common feeling for me but I knew that soon the moment of truth was upon me and I had to cut into the perfectly looking pastry.
And, boy, does this look good! I don’t often talk like this when I am involved but I nailed it. Perfect execution and the taste of the Beef Wellington, but also the garnish and the sauce were amazing.
3-course Menu for Christmas
When I received the guidelines for the challenge I wanted to do something I had never cooked and done before, but also use ingredients I enjoy working with. Finally, they had to also fit the theme. Therefore my main ingredient was instantly found: chestnuts! They are the ultimate versatile winter ingredient (I could eat them ALL THE TIME! and can be used in so many ways. Chestnuts will be the link to my 3-course Menu for Christmas and you’ll find it in the starter, main, and dessert.
What’s true for every chef and kitchen also remains the truth for your dinner: preparation is the key to success! That’s why you should be doing as much in advance as possible. The soup and even the dessert can be done the day before. Concerning the Beef Wellington, you can prepare the sauce completely in advance and the fillet up until the point where you wrap it in pastry. This will reduce the pressure on you tremendously and is going to make hosting such a festive dinner much more enjoyable. It will also ensure that you will be able to share plenty of time with your guests – which is really the most important part of hosting a dinner! 🙂
Let me know what you think of my Beef Wellington. It’s not an easy dish, but worth your while and lots of fun to prepare and execute <3
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