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Beef Wellington for Christmas Dinner

Beef Wellington for Christmas Dinner, Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019. Photo by Hillary Levin, [email protected]




3 pints (1½ pounds) white button mushrooms

2 shallots, peeled and roughly chopped

8 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only, divided

1 (3-pound) center-cut beef tenderloin, trimmed

12 thin slices prosciutto

2 tablespoons Dijon or English mustard

Flour, for rolling out puff pastry

1 pound puff pastry, homemade (see recipe) or store-bought, thawed if frozen.

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

½ teaspoon coarse sea salt

Note: The duxelles and the homemade puff pastry (if using) can be made a day or two ahead of time.

1. For the duxelles: Add mushrooms, shallots, garlic and the leaves of 2 of the sprigs of thyme to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Place a large sauté pan over medium heat, add the shallot-and-mushroom mixture, and sauté until most of the liquid it releases has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper, and set aside to cool. May be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

2. For the beef: Tie the tenderloin in 4 places so it holds its cylindrical shape while cooking. Drizzle with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper and sear all over, including the ends, in a hot, heavy-bottomed skillet lightly coated with olive oil.

3. Meanwhile, set out your prosciutto on a sheet of plastic wrap at least a foot and a half in length. Shingle the prosciutto so it forms a rectangle that is big enough to encompass the entire filet of beef. Using a rubber spatula, cover prosciutto evenly with a thin layer of duxelles, and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with leaves from the remaining 6 sprigs of thyme.

4. When the beef is seared, remove from heat, cut off twine and smear lightly all over with mustard. Allow to cool slightly, then roll up in the duxelles-covered prosciutto, using the plastic wrap to tie it up tightly. Tuck in the ends of the prosciutto as you roll to completely encompass the beef. Twist ends of plastic to seal it completely and hold it in a log shape. Refrigerate 30 minutes to ensure it maintains its shape.

5. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

6. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the puff pastry to form a rectangle large enough to completely encompass the beef (this is vital — if necessary, overlap 2 sheets and press them together). Remove plastic from beef and set meat in middle of the pastry. Fold the longer sides over the meat, brushing the edges with beaten egg to seal. Brush ends with beaten egg to seal, and fold over to completely seal the beef. Trim ends if necessary. Top with coarse sea salt. Place seam-side down on a baking sheet.

7. Brush the top of the pastry with egg, then make a few slits in the top of the pastry, using the tip of a paring knife, to allow steam to escape while cooking. Bake 35 to 45 minutes until pastry is golden brown and beef registers 125 to 130 degrees on a meat thermometer for medium rare, 135 to 140 degrees for medium, 140 to 145 degrees for medium well or 150 to 155 for well done.

8. Allow to rest before cutting into thick slices.

Per serving (based on 8): 762 calories; 41g fat; 11g saturated fat; 194mg cholesterol; 64g protein; 33g carbohydrate; 3g sugar; 2g fiber; 1,779mg sodium; 68mg calcium

Adapted from a recipe by Tyler Florence, via Food Network

2 cups all-purpose flour, preferably chilled

½ teaspoon fine sea salt

20 tablespoons (2½ sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and diced

Note: This is best prepared in a cool kitchen, on a cool work surface, using light and assertive gestures to prevent overheating the dough. Don’t attempt it when the oven is on.

1. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut the butter into the flour, stopping when the mixture looks crumbly but fairly even, with the average piece of butter about the size of a large pea.

2. Turn out onto a clean and cool work surface and form a well in the center. Pour in the water and work it into the flour and butter mixture with a bench scraper or a wooden spoon. Knead lightly, just enough so that the dough comes together in a ball, and shape into a rough square. There should be little pieces of butter visible in the dough. If you have time, refrigerate 30 minutes. 

3. Flour your work surface lightly. Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out the dough in one direction into a rectangle about 20 inches long. Add more flour as needed to prevent sticking. Brush to remove excess flour and fold the dough in three, like a letter, so the top and bottom overlap, dusting again after the first fold.

4. Give the dough a quarter of a turn, and repeat the rolling and folding steps. Repeat until you’ve rolled and folded a total of four times. You should get a neat rectangle or square pad of dough. If you find the dough becomes sticky at any point, refrigerate for 30 minutes to cool again.

5. Put the dough on a plate, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight before using. If the dough seems too stiff when you take it out of the fridge, let it come to room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes before using.

Per serving: 246 calories; 19g fat; 12g saturated fat; 51mg cholesterol; 2g protein; 16g carbohydrate; no sugar; 1g fiber; 100mg sodium; 9mg calcium

Adapted from “Tasting Paris,” by Clotilde Dusoulier