Bordeaux and Beef Wellington

I am not sure how you celebrated Mothering Sunday but my youngest daughter Rosie wanted to cook something special for her Mum rather than go out. Having put our heads together we decided to cook a Fillet of Beef Wellington which we know is a favourite of Sue’s.

Beef Wellington is a traditional dish adored by many and not that difficult to cook if you have time. It is not the cheapest of dishes to make but it does make a delicious dish for a celebratory occasion and the nice thing about this dish is that you can prepare it the day before and leave it in the fridge over night.

This is how we prepared our Beef Wellington and after reading our recipe I hope you may have a go yourself.

Beef Wellington

Serves 4 

Rough Puff Pastry


250g Strong plain flour
1 tbsp salt
250g Unsalted Butter – not soft butter, it’s better to use wrapped butter at room temperature.
150ml Iced Water


Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl or onto a working surface. Using a knife roughly slice the butter into shavings into the seasoned flour and rub loosely into loose crumb. Seeing bits of butter is good.

Make a well in the mixture and pour in about two-thirds of the cold water, mixing until you have a firm rough dough adding extra water if needed. Wrap in cling film and leave to rest for approx 20 mins in the fridge.

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, knead gently and form into a smooth rectangle. Roll the dough in one direction only, until 3 times the width, about 20 x 50cm. Try and keep edges straight and even. Don’t over work the dough which should have the butter making a visible marbling effect.

Fold the top third down to the centre, then the bottom third up and over that. Cover with Cling film and place into the fridge for a further 20 minutes.

Remove from the fridge roll out again to three times the length. Repeat 4 by folding the top third down to the centre, then the bottom third up and over that.Give the dough a quarter turn and fridge roll out again to three times the length. Fold as before, cover with cling film and return to the fridge until you need it.

Fillet of Beef

500g Fillet of Beef ideally the middle section
Seasoning – Freshly ground pepper and salt.
120g Smooth Pâté.
2 Eggs beaten for glaze and sealing

Duxelle (Chopped Mushrooms and Onion) Spinach

25g Butter preferably unsalted
8 medium sized Mushrooms – finely chopped
1 medium sized Onion – finely chopped
2 hands full of spinach- blanched

Pancakes – these help to prevent the juices soaking into the pastry.

1 Egg
2 tbsp Plain Flour
50mls Milk
Knob of Butter

Madeira Sauce

Beef bones from your local butcher – ask for them when you but the fillet of beef.
20fl oz of Water
50g Butter
1 tbsp Plain Flour
1 Onion finely chopped
1 Carrot chopped
1 Stick of Celery chopped
4 whole Pepper Corns
2 Bay leaves
1 Sherry glass of Madeira


Place the beef bones into the water with the pepper corns, bay leaves, celery and carrot and let it simmer away. Skimming occasionally and replenish with additional water if necessary.

Season the beef fillet with black pepper and salt then place into a frying pan over a high heat. Turn the fillet to ensure even cooking. Remove when browned on each side and leave to rest.

Prepare the Duxelle by adding the butter to the frying pan you browned the beef in add the finely chopped mushrooms and onions. Cook until soft for approximately 10 mins over a moderate heat tossing occasionally. Remove from the heat leave to rest until needed.

Cover the bottom of a medium sized pan with water. Add i teaspoon full of salt. Bring the water to the boil and add the spinach and cover for approximately 2 minutes. Drain in colander and leave until needed.

Pancakes place the eggs and flour into a bowl and whisk together. Gradually add the milk, whisking constantly, to create a smooth batter that will coat the back of a spoon.

Best to use a crepe pan. Make 2 pancakes only by heating the pan over a high heat and add the butter. When the butter is foaming, gently pour in the mixture to just cover the pan as you need the thinnest of pancakes. Fry for 1-2 minutes, or until the underside is golden-brown.

Carefully flip the pancake over and cook for a further minute, or until the pancake is cooked through and golden-brown all over. Slide the pancake out onto a plate lined with greaseproof paper, then coverwith another layer of paper. Repeat to make the second pancake. Leave both pancakes to one side until needed.

Remove the pastry from the fridge. Roll out the puff pastry until 5mm/¼in thick trying to keep it in a rectangular shape. Take two pancakes and place into the centre of the pastry and spread the pâté over the pancakes with a small pallet knife. Take your Duxelle and spread it evenly over the pâté and top with the spinach leaves over the Duxelle.

Place the seasoned fillet on top of the spinach leaves

Beat the 2 eggs in a bowl, then brush the egg over areas clear of the pastry beyond the pancakes (outside of the pastry). A tip here is to egg wash the beef as this will help the pastry stick to the beef avoiding big gaps when cooked. 

Taking the nearest edge of the pastry wrap it tightly as possible around the beef and then roll the beef like a sausage in the pastry until completely wrapped. Ensure where the pasty ends over lap is at the base. Wrap the ends of the pastry underneath towards the base.

Place the beef Wellington seam-side down onto a baking tray lined with baking parchment and brush with the beaten egg. Place in the fridge to cool for at least 30mins or when you are ready to cook it.

Remove the wellington from the fridge brush again with egg wash and using the back of a knife score the sides lightly.

To cook the wellington place it in a preheated oven 220C/400F or gas mark 6. Bake for 25 mins (Rare) 30-35 mins Medium or until the pastry is golden brown. Remove and leave to rest for 15 mins before serving.

Whilst the beef is resting you can now prepare the sauce. Place the butter into a saucepan. When melted and starts to foam add the finely chopped onions. Once they are soft add in the flour and cook through. Strain the stock removing bones, bay leaves and pepper corns and discard. Pick out the celery and carrots and add to the onions and flour and cook through.

Strain the stock through a fine sieve and add gradually the stock to saucepan continue adding until the sauce is a nice consistency.

Pass through a sieve and using a wooden spoon press the vegetables through the sieve until you are left with a residue. Scrape the bottom of the sieve and add to the sauce.

Bring the sauce to the boil stirring occasionally and add the glass of Madeira and season to taste. Pour into a sauce boat.

Slice the Beef Wellington and serve with seasonal vegetables

What wine to serve with this delicious dish?

Beef Wellington affords itself very nicely with a number of red wines because of the delicate flavours. Keep your big bold wines in the cellar and go for a good Bordeaux or Burgundy. A Pinot Noir could be a nice choice but serve it slightly chilled to remove some of the acidity.

I served our dinner with Chateau Sansonnet 2005. With its notes of raspberries, minerals, cherries, smoke, violets, blackberries and coffee coupled with its complexity it didn’t over power the dish but complimented it extremely well

Depending on your budget the following wines from our range would also add to the eating experience of the dish:

Chateau Ballan Larquette 2008 (£8.99) This is a lovely Claret with dark firm blackcurrant flavours and good earthy undertones as well as complex notes of black cherry, crushed black pepper, mint and blueberry.

Chateau Teyssier 2007 (£14.99) A modern Saint Emilion with flavours of rich, dark fruits such as black cherry, blackberries and mulberries with a hint of vanilla, violets, oak and cedar. This is a well balanced, elegant wine full of supple tannins and opulence that has been aged in oak for 12 months.

Chateau Moulin Riche 2008 (£25.99) The Second Wine of the Second Growth (2ème Cru Classé) Château Léoville Poyferré. This wine is concentrated, dense and powerful with voluptuous smoky flavours of spiced black fruits and plum.

Chateau La Tour du Pin 2006 (£35.60) Made by the owners of First Growths Chateaux d’Yquem and Cheval Blanc this wine has notes of cherries, strawberries, blossom and raspberries.

The attack is full and smooth leading into a silky tannic structure with a fresh edge highlighting the fruity quality of the finish and the bouquet is fresh, complex and intense with a nicely integrated woody touch.

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