Thursday, April 2, 2009

(What the) Hell's Kitchen: Beef Wellington?

What is the deal with Hell's Kitchen contestants not being able to make Gordon Ramsey's Beef Wellington? Once it's prepped, you literally just stick it in the oven and wait. How hard is that?

A few weeks ago I was curious as to why they were having so much trouble, so found his recipe online, then went around my neighborhood and assembled the ingredients.  A small bribe got a me a lower price on a nice cut of beef tenderloin from my butcher, the Italian specialty shop on 30th Ave had some nice Parma ham, and the supermarkets provided the Coleman's mustard, puff pastry and portobello mushrooms.

It's an involved, but fairly straightforward recipe.  Basically, just just wrap the damn thing, stick it in the oven and wait 35-45 minutes, depending on how well done you want it (rare, please). The hardest part of this recipe is turning the dial on the kitchen timer. 

So I find it baffling that these experienced chefs who are on this show are unable to complete this simple task! Ah well, I guess it wouldn't be reality television without a touch of the surreal.

It turned out fantastic, by the way. 

Gordon Ramsey has this fun little video that breaks it down into simple, albeit overly messianic, steps. 

RECIPE: Gordan Ramsay's Beef Wellington

(I upped the amounts to 1lb from 400 grams, because .88 lbs is a rather messy number.)

1 lb (400g) Beef fillet
1 lb Portobello mushrooms
4 slice Parma ham
English mustard for brushing meat (Coleman's)
1/3-1/2 lb puff pastry
2 Egg yolks
Salt and pepper
Olive oil


Pre-heat the oven to 200c.

Heat some oil in a large pan and quickly fry the seasoned beef all over until it's brown. Remove and allow to cool.

The point of this is simply to sear the beef and seal all those juices in, you don't want to cook the meat at this stage. Allow to cool and brush generously with the mustard.

Roughly chop the mushrooms and blend in a food processor to form a puree. Scrape the mixture into a hot, dry pan and allow the water to evaporate. When sufficiently dry (the mixture should be sticking together easily), set aside and cool.

Roll out a generous length of cling film, lay out the four slices of Parma ham, each one slightly overlapping the last. With a pallet knife spread the mushroom mixture evenly over the ham.

Place the beef fillet in the middle and keeping a tight hold of the cling film from the outside edge, neatly roll the parma ham and mushrooms over the beef into a tight barrel shape. Twist the ends to secure the clingfilm. Refrigerate for 10 -15 minutes, this allows the Wellington to set and helps keep the shape.

Roll out the pastry quite thinly to a size which will cover your beef. Unwrap the meat from the cling film. Egg wash the edge of the pastry and place the beef in the middle. Roll up the pastry, cut any excess off the ends and fold neatly to the 'underside'. Turnover and egg wash over the top. Chill again to let the pastry cool, approximately 5 minutes. Egg wash again before baking at 200c for 35 - 40 minutes. Rest 8 -10 minutes before slicing.

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