As the pinnacle of British cuisine, beef Wellington commands a regal place on menus as a symbol of genteel society. According to The Handbook guide to England’s capital city, the beloved beef-and-pastry wonder also holds a hearty presence on home dining tables and pub-grub menus, including numerous pubs and hotel restaurants in London alone. Although there are some mysteries surrounding the origins of beef Wellington, most culinary historians strongly suggest that it has noble connections.
Beef Wellington deserves a definition because renowned British chefs like Gordan Ramsay have referred to it as the ultimate indulgence that belongs on a “last supper menu.” Fortunately, there are many. Flaky puff pastry, tender sirloin steak, and tasty duxelles are the ingredients that Gordan Ramsay Restaurants serve. The Martha Stewart website describes duxelles as a combination of chopped herbs, shallots, and chopped mushrooms. According to WordSense, the name duxelle, which honors Frances Marquis dUxelles of the 1600s, carries a noble birthright.
Despite numerous historical allusions to meat and pastry dishes, such as the Cornish Pasty from the 14th century, the connection between beef Wellington and British nobility continues to be a crucial part of culinary history. Heres how the story unfolds.
How beef Wellington is made
Although he was born Arthur Wellesley, he is best known as “The Duke of Wellington,” a title he earned for leading the Seventh Coalition at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 alongside General von Blucher. The Napoleonic Empire’s final defeat brought glory and respect to the Duke, who was renowned for his tactical prowess as well as his picky palate and challenging tastes. In fact, it appears that despite their best efforts to prepare sophisticated dishes, the chefs at his disposal were unable to satisfy him. They were fired one after the other because no recipe could satisfy the war hero, who had little interest in cooking and was certainly not a big gluttonous eater. However, there was one dish that could impress him and get him to consider the pleasures of the table: a roast with a crust that was similar to the color and shape of his boots. Yes, we are referring to the renowned beef Wellington, one of the most well-known dishes of English cuisine that Gordon Ramsey popularized in recent years and was praised for its unique cooking.
Julia Child and beef Wellington
The lengthy and intricate recipe for a whole beef fillet wrapped in puff pastry with mushrooms and ham and served with Madeira sauce was brought back by a British chef. Although the Dukes theory is the most widely accepted, there are other theories regarding the dish’s origins. The dish did not first appear in an English cookbook or in any other text until 1970. Michael Bond provided the first literary testimony in his 1981 book “Paddington Takes the Test,” which is about the bear. Despite the fact that the first written references to the recipe almost exclusively come from the United States and are relatively recent, many claim that it actually originates from France. There is no doubt that American chef and television personality Julia Child introduced the filet de buf en croûte, the French crust beef fillet, as “Filet of Wellington Beef,” during the 1965 New Year’s Eve episode of her TV show “The French Chef.” From that point forward, the recipe spread throughout North American recreational communities and was included in the most significant cookbooks.
The tradition of puff pasty in England
In addition to the name, there is a lot of English in this dish: Pasties, or preparations with puff pastry (the name can be translated as “fagottino” in Italian), which enclose delectable and highly seasoned fillings, have a long tradition in Cornwall (in the South-West of England), an unspoiled and wild land where you can find authentic recipes of remote origins. Although Cornish pasties have long since gained popularity as a street food, even in major cities like London, they were once just standard regional recipes that were a must in pubs and taverns. They have been around since the seventeenth century and have always been distinguished by rich, spicy, and delectable fillings. For instance, the English Sunday lunch staple, the Sunday roast, frequently uses leftover roast beef to make the beef pasty, a dish that incorporates portions of the Wellington fillet.
How to make the beef Wellington
Despite the dish’s apparent simplicity, the preparation is actually quite difficult because the meat must first be fried in a pan with a little oil before it can be cooked. However, it shouldn’t be cooked; instead, it should only be lightly browned. If we don’t want a tough and dry fillet, the blood must remain inside. After this, it’s time to spread the meat with puréed, typically pan-cooked mushrooms, slices of raw ham, and frequently mustard (which is frequently used in Italian cooking but not in many English recipes), and let it rest in the refrigerator. To give the fillet the customary golden color, brush beaten eggs on it after it has been wrapped in puff pastry. Depending on the size of the fillet, it is typically cooked at 200°C for about 30 minutes; the key is to give the roll some time to rest before slicing and serving it.
The recipe for fried crust beef Wellington
Here is our suggestion for a fillet that is even more delectable: a mini version with fried crust. This way, you can serve many fillets that are suitable for single servings, making them also ideal for a tasty appetizer.
Ingredients 1 kg. of beef fillet 200 g. thin sliced raw ham 200 g. of fresh spinach 500 g. champignon mushrooms 125 g. 5 square (or 6 round) sheets of puff pastry 1 jar of Dijon mustard, salt, and truffle butter b. Black pepper q. b. Peanut oil q. b. Fresh strawberries or raspberries q. b.
Slice the mushrooms, add a knob of truffle butter to a pan, and brown them. After extinguishing the flame, season the mixture with salt and pepper. After straining the mixture to remove extra liquid, stir in the remaining cold butter. Toss the fillet with mustard after cutting it into uniform rectangles (about 3 x 8 cm). A slice of ham, a few spinach leaves folded over, and a teaspoon of mushroom paste are all spread out. Wrap a beef fillet into a roulade after placing it on top. Puff pastry should be cut into squares with holes, then rolled around the meat fillets. Fry the fillets in lots of hot oil (170°C), seal the ends, and lightly score the surface with a knife. Drain on paper towels, then top with salt. Allow the fillets to rest for a few minutes before slicing them in half and serving with fresh raspberries or strawberries.
by Michela Becchi
CHRISTMAS RECIPE: Christmas Beef Wellington
Is Beef Wellington French or British?
English-born fillet steak is baked in puff pastry after being covered in pâté (often foie gras pâté) and duxelles. This dish is known as beef Wellington.
What is Gordon Ramsay signature dish?
Beef Wellington is one of chef Gordon Ramsay’s most delectable dishes and is everything that makes it his signature dish. Juicy beef tenderloin, special duxelles, and prosciutto wrapped in a pastry shell make for a divine combination . What is this?.
How did Beef Wellington become popular?
Because American chef and cookbook author Julia Child included a recipe for the French variation in her best-selling book Mastering the Art of French Cooking (1961) and later on an episode of her television program The French Chef in 1965, Beef Wellington gained popularity in the 1950s and 1960s.
What is the history of Filet de bœuf en croute?
Then, in 1815, at the Battle of Waterloo, British general Sir Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington, handed Napoleon a stunning defeat. Legend has it that Wellington’s favorite meal was filet mignon en croute. This dish was (allegedly) renamed Beef Wellington in recognition of his impressive victory.