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Quick Beef Wellington
Serves 4

This easy, delicious Wellington recipe doesn’t call for foie gras, but you can add it if you like: simply place slices of goose liver pate between the meat and the duxelle. I’ve tried to make this dish with phyllo pastry but I don’t recommend it because the juices from the meat disintegrate the pastry. Puff pastry works best. I use a commercial product, Dufour, which is available in most gourmet shops. You can check their website www.dufourpastrykitchens.com for retailers who carry it. I don’t always make a sauce—typically a Bordelaise sauce--as this dish is moist and lovely without.

1 1/2 lbs beef tenderloin
2 tablespoons olive oil (see note)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
14 oz puff pastry (if you use frozen, thaw according to the directions on the package)
4 to 6 tablespoons mushrooms duxelles
1 egg, divided
1 tablespoon milk
For the sauce (optional)
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon minced shallots
1 tablespoon flour
1 heaping teaspoon chopped fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup beef stock, warm
1/2 cup red wine
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Preheat the oven to 425˚F.

Brush the tenderloin with the oil. Place the tenderloin in a baking pan in the oven and bake, uncovered, for 25 minutes, until a meat thermometer reads 120˚F, for very rare. Remove the meat, and add salt and pepper to taste.

Roll out 1/2 of the puff pastry on a lightly floured board to about 1/4 inch thick. Place the pastry on a baking tray. Place the tenderloin in the center of the pastry. Spoon the duxelles over the top of the tenderloin.

Beat the egg white. Brush the egg white onto the pastry around the perimeter of the meat. Roll out the remaining puff pastry and place it on top of the beef. Press the pastry down to seal. You can crimp the edges of the pastry to make a prettier seal, or seal with the flat tines of a fork if you like. Cut the pastry to within and inch of the meat all around. If you like, you can roll out the pastry trimming and cut out little leaves or designs and, using a bit of egg white, adhere the decorations onto the top of the pastry.

Beat the egg yolk and milk together. Brush this mixture over the top of the pastry to create a shiny surface.

Place the Wellington in the oven and cook for 5 minutes, then turn down the heat to 350˚F and cook for 10 minutes more, until the pastry is golden brown. Remove the Wellington and allow it to rest about 10 minutes.

In the meantime, make the sauce. Heat the butter in a small saucepan over a medium heat. Add the shallots and cook until they become translucent, a few minutes. Add the flour and stir to combine. Add the thyme, salt and pepper to taste. Cook for a few minutes, until the flour takes on a bit of golden color, then slowly add the stock, whisking all the while. Then add the wine. Continue whisking, bringing the sauce to a low boil as it thickens, a few minutes. (The flour must cook a minimum of 5 minutes in order to lose its raw taste.)

Slice the beef Wellington and serve with a few spoons of sauce over each slice, and garnish with the parsley.

Note: I use homemade horseradish marinade when I have it on hand. See page 00 for the recipe.