How to make Beef Wellington with a bordelaise sauce

JamieTurner Feb 29, 2008 Food
Beef Wellington conjures up images of the famous nineteenth-century English general, the vanquisher of Napoleon, and later, his nation's prime minister. Strangely, references to this dish are hard to find in British cookbooks. However, it seems likely that this technique of encasing beef in pastry, which was popular back then, was named for the national hero. This is a dish for a special occasion, and it makes a fine alternative to the ubiquitous Thanksgiving turkey.

Things you’ll need

1 beef tenderloin, trimmed and chain removed (about 3 to 4 pounds)
5 tbsp olive oil
1 cup minced onions
2 tbsp minced shallots
4 cups assorted exotic mushrooms like shitake, oyster, chanterelle or Portobello
2 tsp chopped garlic
½ cup red wine
½ cup chopped parsley
½ pound Foie Gras, sliced into 1-ounce slices
2 pieces of frozen puff pastry, defrosted at room temperature
1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp water
1 tbsp finely chopped mushrooms, Sautéed in butter

Procedure Steps

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a food processor or with a knife, finely chop all of the mushrooms together.

  2. Season the tenderloin with salt and pepper. In a large sauté pan, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil. When the oil is hot, sear the tenderloin for 2 to 3 minutes on all sides. Remove from the pan and cool.

  3. In the same sauté pan, heat the remaining olive oil. Add the onions and sauté for 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the shallots and garlic, sauté for 1 minute. Add the mushrooms to the onions and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the red wine and bring the liquid up to a simmer. Cook for about 3 to 4 minutes or until most of the liquid as dissipated and the mixture is dry. Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley. Re-season the duxelle if necessary. Cool the duxelle completely.

  4. Season the Foie Gras slices with salt and pepper. In the hot sauté pan, sear the Foie Gras for 30 seconds on each side. Remove the Foie Gras from the pan and drain on a paper-lined plate. Set aside.  

  5. Place both sheets of the puff pastry on a clean work surface and fold them out. Take the end one half of one sheet and add it to the end of the other sheet, pinching the edges together to form one long sheet.

  6. Arrange the mushrooms and onion carefully down the center of the long sheet of puff pastry. Spread the pate over the top of the beef and turn the beef over on top of the mushroom mixture so that the pate is on top of the mushrooms. Fold the puff pastry up and around the beef as far as it will go, and use half of the remaining smaller sheet of pastry to completely enclose the beef in a neat package. Gently pinch the edges of the pastry together where the two sheets join.

  7. Form the remaining puff pastry into thin strips and arrange on top in a crisscross lattice design. Attach the strips to the package using beaten egg like a type of glue. Transfer to a baking sheet and brush the surface of the pastry with the remaining beaten egg. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

  8. Bake the tenderloin in the oven until the internal temperature reaches between 130 to 140 degrees F for medium, or for about 20 to 30 minutes.. Remove the tenderloin from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

  9. Slice about 1 to 2 inch portions of the beef, and place on to each plate for service. Drizzle the Bordelaise sauce over and around the beef. Serve with choice of vegetables and starch.

  10. To make the Bordelaise sauce: In a medium saucepan combine 1½ cups water, ½ cup dry red wine, 2 tbsp finely chopped shallot or onion, 1 tsp instant beef bouillon granules and 1 bay leaf. Bring to boil; reduce heat. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove bay leaf. Stir together 4 tablespoons water with 2 tablespoons corn starch. Add to wine mixture. Stir and simmer until thick and bubbly. Stir in 1 tbsp chopped parsley. Makes about 1 cup sauce.


  • Trim the fat and silver skin from the tenderloin, or have a butcher do it. Make sure the side muscle is removed and not used (this is called the chain).

  • Foie gras gives this dish a delicious richness, but you may certainly omit it, or substitute a thin layer of Dijon mustard.

  • If you prefer, you may roll out one sheet of puff pastry to wrap the beef; it will need to be thinner than if you use the two sheets called for in this recipe.

  • A wine recommendation for Beef Wellington would be one of the better California Cabernet Sauvignons or Grand Cru Classe Bordeaux. Either would complete the winning formula for an exquisite occasion.

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1 CommentsAdd a Comment
cathy on Apr 26, 2008
this looks really made it seem easy to prepare !!
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  • Last Updated : Feb 29, 2008