Beef Wellington with Chestnut Duxelles
Most of the family dislikes mushrooms, so when we decided to make Beef Wellington for our New Years Eve dinner, I found a substitution for the mushroom duxelles that surrounds the beef inside the pastry: chestnuts.
This produced its own adventure, as we prepared the chestnuts wrong, so peeling them was a PITA. But we persevered!
Make no mistake, this recipe is a lot of work, and it helped greatly that we worked together. But in the end, it was delicious!
Later, Eric commented that this was the best thing we ever cooked!
Note: I’m categorizing this as one of my recipes — it started with a Beef Wellington recipe, then I found a substitution for the chestnuts, and that had a lot of shorthand and referred to another Wellington recipe … when all was said and done, I combined 3 recipes and rewrote and/or reorganized most of the instructions to pull it all together.
Beef Wellington with Chestnut Duxelles
- 4 to 8 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 lb chestnuts
- 2 medium shallots, finely sliced (about 1/2 cup)
- 2 tsp finely minced fresh thyme leaves
- 1/2 cup cognac or other brandy or barrel-aged spirit such as bourbon
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 1/2 to 3/4 lb prosciutto
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 4 oz bleu cheese, crumbled
- salt & ground black pepper
- olive oil
- 4 lb beef filet/filet mignon (cylindrical cut)
- spicy mustard
- 1 pkg puff pastry (thawed)
- 3 egg yolks, beaten
DUXELLES: Chop all chestnuts in half, being careful as they have a tendency to fly apart. Boil the halves in a saucepan of water for 7 minutes. Drain and let cool, then peel — this should now be a much easier task. Chop chestnut meats finely.
Melt 4 Tbsp butter in a large skillet and saute the chestnuts until lightly browned. Note: The chestnuts will absorb butter so add more as needed.
Add shallots and thyme and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 2 minutes.
Add brandy. Scrape bottom of skillet with a spatula or wooden spoon to release browned bits. Continue to cook until brandy is nearly dry, about 4 minutes. Add heavy cream and soy sauce and continue to cook, stirring frequently until mixture is thick and collects in one large mass when you shake the skillet. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl and place in the refrigerator.
BEEF: Lay a piece of plastic wrap 50% longer than the beef on a counter. If the wrap will not be wide enough to wrap the tenderloin, lay 2 overlapping sheets side by side and press out any air between the two.
This is going to wrap the filet.
Place garlic and bleu cheese over the prosciutto so it is evenly dispersed throughout. Spread the duxelles evenly over top.
Salt and pepper the filet to taste. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a cast iron or stainless-steel skillet over high heat until smoking. Add tenderloin and cook without moving until well-browned on first side, about 2 minutes. Rotate tenderloin and continue cooking until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes total. Transfer to a large plate.
As soon as the filet is cool enough to handle, coat it with a thin layer of spicy mustard while it is still hot so that it can soak up the flavor.
Place the filet in the middle of the prosciutto, cheese, and garlic. Wrap the prosciutto around the filet, using the plastic wrap to help create a tight and cylindrical form. Twist the ends of the plastic wrap so that the meat is tightly squeezed — should look like a tootsie roll. The tighter the plastic wrap, the rounder the shape of the filet, the more evenly it will cook later on.
Put it into the refrigerator for about 15 to 20 minutes to allow the filet to set and keep its shape.
ASSEMBLY: Lay the puff pastry down on a lightly floured sheet of plastic wrap. Coat the one side of the puff pastry with egg yolk. Place the filet in the middle of the puff pastry and tightly wrap the puff pastry around the filet, removing any excess pastry so that there is very little overlap. Make sure there are no holes or gaps in the seam of the pastry, or the juices will leak out!
Place the pastry on a floured baking sheet so that the seam of the pastry is on the bottom.
Coat the outside of the pastry with egg yolk. Place in the refrigerator again for 15 minutes.
Heat oven to 400 F.
Place any designs on the top of the pastry as desired, lightly using a knife to score it or use extra pastry to lay on top. Glaze the pastry again with egg yolk.
Bake for 20 minutes at 400 F. Reduce temperature to 350 F and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes, depending on how red you like the center of your filet.
Remove from oven and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
The Menu: Beef Wellington, purple sweet potato, lobster ravioli in limoncello cream sauce, and pumpkin ravioli.