Gavin Kaysen has the high-level restaurants and culinary chops that could warrant a cookbook devoted to Demi or Spoon & Stable or any of the James Beard Award-winning chef’s establishments. However, for his new tome, he’s not focusing on technical deconstructions of restaurant dishes, instead he’s devoted himself to making you a better home cook. In his debut book At Home he’s offering step-by-step instructions of how to make crowd pleasers like pappardelle pasta with pork ragu, Swedish pancakes, pot roast and more. That more includes his recipe for beef Wellington, a stunning dish that could grace any ambitious home cook’s holiday table.
Beef Wellington is one of the most elegant, visually stunning roasts you could make, but in truth it looks way more complicated than it is. It’s so gratifying when I see people make this recipe and works out perfectly—which it almost always does! Cooking the Welling itself is the easy part; where you want to focus your efforts is on making each component correctly: Sear the beef well, make sure your mushroom duxelles are dry and make sure the puff pastry completely seals its contents. Take your time making this recipe and enjoy the process. Do these things and you’ve got a showstopper on your hands.
Makes 2 to 4 servings
For the beef
- 2 tbsp. avocado oil (or canola oil)
- 12 oz. center-cut beef tenderloin
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- For the duxelles:
- 1/2 lb. button mushrooms
- 1 tbsp. avocado oil (or canola oil)
- Fine sea salt
- 1/2 shallot, minced
- 1 garlic clove, mined
- 2 sprigs thyme, picked
- 1 tbsp. porcini powder
- 2 tbsp. Madeira or Marsala wine
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp. minced chives
- 1 tsp. sherry vinegar
For the spinach crepes:
- 3/4 c. whole milk
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 c. packed baby spinach 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 11/2 tsp. unsalted butter, melted
- Cooking spray
- 1 (14-oz.) sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed but cold (refrigerated)
- Flour (optional)
- Egg wash: 3 egg yolks beaten with 1 tsp. water
- Cooking spray
- Warm Spinach Salad (recipe follows)
How to Make the Beef Wellington
1. Cook the beef
In a sauté pan, heat the avocado oil over high heat. Season the tenderloin on all sides with pepper, then salt. Gently set the tenderloin in the pan and sear until it turns a deep golden brown, about 2 minutes. Repeat on all sides. Briefly sear on each end and remove to a wire rack to cool. (This may be done 1 day ahead of time.)
2. Make the duxelles
In a food processor, pulse the button mushrooms until pulverized. In a large sauté pan, heat the avocado oil over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and 1 teaspoon salt, stirring to combine. As water is released, the mixture will begin to simmer slightly. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms become dry and begin to crisp to the pan, 5 to 10 minutes.
Tip: If you want to save some time, skip the crepes and wrap the beef in deli ham or blanched spinach leaves instead.
3. Deglaze the pan
Add the shallot, garlic, and thyme and cook until you see the mixture begin to brown and there is no longer any bubbling, about two minutes. Add the porcini powder. Stir vigorously and cook for 1 minute. Add the Madeira to the pan to deglaze, scraping the browned bits from the bottom of the pan to incorporate. Reduce the heat to low and continue to cook to dry the mixture, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl and add the chives and sherry vinegar and stir to combine. Let cool before assembling the Wellington.
Tip: To cool the duxelles quickly, spread them out across the bottom of your bowl in a thin layer. If the duxelles don’t stick to the bowl as you’re spreading, that’s a sign they’re not quite dry enough.
4. Make the crepe batter
In a bowl, combine the milk, egg, salt, and spinach. Use an immersion blender to blend until smooth. Add the flour and blend until just combined. Add the melted butter to the mixture and blend until combined. Let the batter rest in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes to allow the flour to hydrate.
5. Make the crepes
Preheat a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Mist the surface with cooking spray. Scoop up 1/4 cup of batter. With one hand, pour the batter into the pan. With the other hand, swirl the pan to evenly distribute the batter. Place the pan back on the heat and cook until the batter looks dry and the bottom has taken on a golden brown color, about one minute. Remove the crepe from the pan by flipping it onto a plate. Repeat with remaining batter to make a second crepe. Let cool and set aside. (The crepes can be made 1 day ahead of time. You can use the leftover batter to make more crepes and freeze them.)
6. Assemble the Wellington
Preheat the oven to 375°F. On a clean work surface, overlap the two crepes so that together they are long enough to accommodate the length of the tenderloin, and so there will be no big gap in the middle where the crepes overlap once you wrap. Spread about 1⁄2 cup of duxelles evenly over the crepes from edge to edge, about 1/8-inch thick. Place the tenderloin in the center of the crepes and wrap it tightly.
7. Prep the Pastry
Remove the puff pastry from the refrigerator and unfurl it on your work surface. If necessary, roll the dough to 1/4 inch thick, sprinkling with flour to do so. With a pastry brush, apply the egg wash to the entire surface. Place the wrapped tenderloin in the center. Fold one side of the puff pastry over its top. Apply egg wash to the surfaces of the puff pastry that will meet. Fold the other side over the top and press to seal. Seal the ends of the puff pastry by pressing together gently.
8. Egg wash the pastry
Cut off any excess and discard. Fold the remaining ends underneath the tenderloin. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes until the dough is firm. (This can also be done a day ahead and held in the fridge.)
Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and mist the paper with cooking spray. Place the Wellington in the center of the lined pan. Apply egg wash to the surface of the Wellington with a pastry brush. Using a paring knife, lightly score the pastry in a cross- hatch pattern without cutting through the dough.
9. Roast it off
Bake for 30 minutes, rotating the pan front to back halfway through, or until the crust is golden brown and the internal temperature reaches 115°F.
Remove the Wellington from the oven and let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing.
Tip: If you’re making this recipe for a dinner party, you can wrap, trim, and refrigerate the Wellington a couple hours ahead, then brush with egg and put it in the oven when your dinner guests arrive