Some foods just go with certain holidays. Halloween is nothing but sugar, of course. Easter can be either ham or lamb. Turkey rules Thanksgiving. Pork and sauerkraut is traditionally served in Ohio for New Year’s Day. For Christmas, though, beef just seems right.
Prime rib is a great choice for a big Christmas dinner, but I suggest trying something a bit more sophisticated: Beef Wellington.
This version is done on the grill after searing the beef in a skillet (to allow for a cream sauce to be made). Saveur Magazine listed it as their choice for the entree for an elegant Christmas dinner. Beef Wellington tells your Christmas guests that they mean something to you; that you went over and above to make this Christmas dinner better than all other Christmas dinners. You will be the new king or queen of the Christmas entree!
Beef Wellington can seem a bit daunting at first, but it’s really not that difficult. It all starts with the whole tenderloin, trimmed and tied, with the thinner end doubled to make the whole tenderloin a more uniform shape.
Mushrooms and shallots are chopped very finely and browned in a dry skillet to remove the water from the mushrooms.
This is spread over prosciutto slices along with thyme.
The tenderloin needs some searing in a skillet. Then it gets covered lightly with mustard and wrapped up in the prosciutto and mushrooms.
The wrapped tenderloin needs to go into the fridge for 20-30 minutes so that the Beef Wellington won’t overcook while the pastry browns. The pastry is maybe the toughest part, but buying frozen puff pastry sheets helps a bunch. The sheets get laid end to end and pressed into one big sheet, with the tenderloin wrapped tightly in the pastry.
Once wrapped, the edges get sealed up with an egg wash and put onto the Char-Broil.
After about an hour on a 400-degree grill, the Beef Wellington will look like this…
To the skillet with the tenderloin drippings, you make a sauce by adding beef stock and cream with a healthy dose of freshly ground black pepper.
This all combines to create THE Christmas dinner entree. Don’t just trust me – trust Saveur Magazine!
Beef Wellington is an elegant way to celebrate the holidays with friends and family.
- 1 whole beef tenderloin
- 1 1/2 pounds of button mushrooms, very finely chopped
- One shallot, finely chopped
- 12 slices of prosciutto, paper thin
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon Dijon or grainy mustard
- 2 puff pastry sheets
- 2 cups beef stock
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Trim the silverskin off the tenderloin and fold back the thin end, cutting partially through to allow the tenderloin to fold.
- In a dry skillet, brown the mushrooms, which can be finely chopped in a food processor, along with the shallot. Cook over medium heat until the mushrooms release their water and are dry but not overdone (they should still be springy but not wet), then set aside.
- Tie the tenderloin to keep its shape, and place in a hot pan, quickly searing all sides, about 30 seconds per side. Remove it, leaving the drippings in the skillet.
- Lay the prosciutto slices side by side, with a little overlap, and then cover with the mushrooms and thyme.
- Remove the string from the tenderloin.
- Salt and cover the tenderloin lightly with the mustard and lay the tenderloin on one edge of the prosciutto slices and mushrooms. Carefully tightly wrap the tenderloin with the mushrooms and prosciutto.Wrap in plastic wrap tightly and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.
- Preheat the grill to cook indirectly at 400 degrees with a baking stone over the unlit burners.
- Lay the puff pastry sheets end to end, pressing them together to form one larger sheet. Roll this larger sheet out to double its width.
- Remove the wrapped tenderloin from the refrigerator and place on the center of the puff pastry sheet. Tightly wrap the tenderloin with the puff pastry, pressing the edges firmly together and sealing with an egg wash (add a small amount of water to an egg and beat it, then brush it on as a kind of edible glue).
- Remove the puff pastry at each end, leaving enough to close and seal the ends.
- Cover the puff pastry with more of the egg wash and place the Wellington on the grill.
- Roast on the grill for about an hour, until the beef's internal temperature is 130 degrees for medium rare and the pastry is a golden brown and flaky, turning the Wellington every 15 minutes for even cooking.
- Remove the Wellington and let it rest for 15 minutes under a foil tent.
- Reheat the skillet with the drippings from the tenderloin and add the beef broth. Whisk and reduce the liquid by half.
- Add the cream, salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Slice the Wellington into 1-inch slices and place on plates, adding sauce on top of the slices.
With the left over puff pastry, you can create decorations that can be cut and placed along the top of the Wellington.