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Make this: Canoe's beef wellington

It may take a lot of precise preparation, but if you can pull it off, this beef wellington recipe from Canoe is a total showstopper. 

Canoe's beef wellington recipe

Serves 2

Preparation time 1 hour

Cooking time 1 hour

“Wellingtons are one of those labour-intensive and technically challenging dishes that always have the ‘wow’ factor. This recipe is definitely not for the faint of heart, but if done right it’s worthy of any holiday celebration.”

— Ron McKinlay, Canoe

Ingredients

Crêpes

  • 150 g plain flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 325 ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 30 g unsalted butter, melted

Preparing the Beef

  • 12-14 oz beef fillet, trimmed of any sinew (ask at the butcher’s counter for these to be as evenly sized as possible)
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Chicken mousse

  • 1 chicken breast, skinned and diced
  • 1 egg white
  • 200 ml of double cream
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

The pastry

  • 500 g (1 package) of puff pastry (pre-rolled sheets)
  • 4 egg yolks for egg wash

Method

Crêpes

  1. Place the flour in a large bowl. Add the egg and 100 ml of the milk and gradually whisk into the flour. Carry on adding the rest of the milk until you have a smooth batter.
  2. Season and whisk in ⅔ of the melted butter.
  3. Using a 20-cm base diameter (preferably) nonstick frying pan, brush a little of the remaining melted butter around the pan over medium heat, and carefully pour in just enough batter to make a fairly thin crêpe. Cook for 1 minute on each side, and repeat until you have two evenly sized crepes (the batter mix yields five, to allow for any problems).
  4. Stack on a plate, separated by strips of baking paper, and leave to cool. Note: This can be made a day
    in advance.

Preparing the beef

  1. Season the beef fillet well with salt and pepper, and rub all over.
  2. Heat 1 Tbsp of oil in the pan. When it is smoking hot, lower the beef fillet in and sear all over for about 3 minutes total, turning frequently to just get a little colour on all sides.
  3. Transfer the beef fillet to a plate. Roll tightly in cling film to help set the shape and place in the fridge for 30 minutes. Note: This step can be done a day in advance.

Chicken mousse

  1. To make the chicken mousse for the stuffing, add the diced chicken breast to a blender and blitz until smooth with the egg white, cream, salt and pepper.
  2. If possible, pass the mixture through a drum sieve to achieve a perfectly smooth purée.

Assembling the beef wellington

  1. Lay out a large sheet of cling film (to be used to roll the meat). On top of the cling film, place 2 crêpes overlapping each other by a third.
  2. Spread chicken mousse in a thin 1-cm layer as wide as the beef fillet, and long enough to wrap side to side. Now place beef in the middle and use the cling film to roll it up similar to a burrito – seriously!
  3. Wrap the log shape in the cling film and place in the fridge, allowing the shape to set.

Pastry

  1. Pull out a sheet of store-bought puff pastry and dust with flour. Roll it out as thin as possible without tearing, roughly 25 cm by 20 cm.
  2. Dust off excess flour and brush with egg yolk to cover the entire surface (acting like glue).
  3. Remove wellington from the cling film and place it centred against the bottom of the pastry closest to you. Lift up the bottom edge and roll upwards until filling is covered and there’s roughly a 2-4 cm overlap to seal it. Carefully pat down the loose outside edges and trim, leaving just enough to tuck under the meat.
  4. Transfer this to a parchment-lined baking sheet and again dust off excess flour. Using a pastry brush, brush with the egg wash and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to let the yolk set.
  5. Bring out and glaze once more with the rest of the egg yolk mix.

Cooking

  1. Note: No need to temper the wellington as the pastry needs to be refrigerator-cold to cook properly.
  2. For medium rare: cook the Wellington for 35 minutes or until the pastry is a dark golden-brown. If you have a meat-thermometer, then pierce the width (short-side) of the wellington. Make sure the end of the thermometer reaches the centre of the tenderloin. A medium-rare tenderloin should be 38 C (100 F). If you prefer medium, cook for 5-10 more minutes. If you prefer medium-well, then cook for 10-12 more minutes.
  3. Important: If cooking in a traditional (conventional) oven, rotate the baking sheet 180 degrees every 11-12 minutes.
  4. Remove the wellington and baking sheet from the oven and allow to rest at room temperature for at least 10 minutes. Allowing the wellington to rest is an absolutely vital part of the cooking process.
  5. Use a serrated bread knife, or a very sharp chef’s knife, to carve cross-cut slices of the wellington. Serve, and bask in your own glory.
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