Christmas recipe: beef wellington

Restaurateur and chef Paul Ainsworth has created a beef wellington that is perfect for the Christmas dinner main course.

  • 1 white onion, finely-chopped
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 1 leaf bay
  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 2 pinches sea salt
  • 2 pinches pepper, ground black
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely-chopped
  • 500g flat mushrooms, chopped finely in a food processor
  • 400g old Cornish sausage meat
  • 10g English mustard
  • 10g flat leaf parsley, finely-chopped
  • 2g tarragon leaves, finely-chopped
  • 1kg beef fillet
  • 2 pinches sea salt
  • 2 pinches pepper, ground black
  • 30ml vegetable oil
  • 6 slices Parma ham
  • 500g puff pastry, all butter, rolled to 15cm x 30cm and ½ cm thick
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 pinch salt
Method – step 1
  • In a large sauté pan, on a medium heat, gently sweeten the onions and herbs in the butter with a couple of pinches of salt and pepper for 5 minutes covered with a lid. 
  • Once they are translucent and soft, remove the lid, increase the heat to high, add the garlic and cook for 20 seconds stirring constantly to reduce the liquid from the onions and cook out the raw garlic. 
  • Add the finely-chopped mushrooms and cook for 10 minutes stirring all the time until they are cooked through and all the moisture has evaporated.
  • Add the chopped herbs and leave to cool slightly then add to your sausage meat to make a mushroom and sausage mix, cling film and place into the fridge to cool completely 
Step 2
  • Season the fillet of beef with salt and pepper.
  • Pre-heat a large frying pan on a high heat and sear the beef in the oil for no longer than 2 minutes.
  • Place onto an oven tray and brush with the English mustard and leave to cool while you roll out your puff pastry.
  • Ensure the pastry is rolled out to a thickness of 2mm and is roughly 30cm long by 35cm wide.
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Step 3
  • Between two pieces of baking paper place your mushroom and sausage mix and roll out to the same width as the beef and about 30 cm wide. Remove the top paper and place your beef on top and wrap the rolled mixture around the beef encasing all the beef in the sausage mixture. Wrap the beef barrel in cling film and leave to chill 
  • Next lay the sheets of Parma ham down overlapping each piece to the same size as you did with the sausage mix and wrap this around your beef and sausage barrel tucking in the edges re wrap again in cling film and chill.
  • Brush the pastry with the egg wash. Remove the cling film from the beef, then wrap the pastry around each ham-wrapped fillet. Firmly press the overlap of pastry to seal in the beef and tuck the edges underneath. Trim the pastry and brush all over with the egg wash
Step 4
  • Place this onto a tray lined with greaseproof paper and, using a small knife, gently score the pastry with whatever pattern you chose. Or for a different effect roll out some puff pastry to 2mm thickness and using a lattice cutter make a pattern and stretch this over your pastry sealing the edges in at the base. 
  • Brush with the remaining egg yolk and leave to rest in the fridge while you pre-heat your oven to 200C.
  • Cook for 15-20 minutes until the pastry is golden brown, use a thermometer probe and the core temperature should be around 40/43c from the oven now leave to rest for at least 15-20 minutes. 
  • Carve it at the table with a little red wine sauce and vegetable of your choice.
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Southampton-born Paul Ainsworth is the successful chef and restaurateur behind Paul Ainsworth at No6, Caffè Rojano, Padstow Townhouse, Mahé Chef’s Table and Development Kitchen, and The Mariners – all located on the North Cornwall coast. Why not also check out his recipe for mini Christmas puds


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