Did you know that Beef Wellington was named after a famous person? Find out the person behind this popular dish and discover more interesting facts you didn’t know about this scrumptious dish!
Beef Wellington is a dish made by a fillet steak which is coated with pate and duxelles. This steak is then wrapped in puff pastry and baked until golden brown. Some recipes also suggest wrapping the coated meat inside a crepe to retain the moisture. This prevents the pastry from turning soggy from the juices of the meat. In some recipes, there is a call to wrap and bake the whole tenderloin. It is then sliced and served. Some chefs even slice the tenderloin into individual portions before it is wrapped and baked, which makes it easy to serve.
Irrespective of how you cook it, beef wellington is a scrumptious dish that is great for all occasions. Scroll down to read 15 things you didn’t know about beef wellington!
In 1815, around 190,000 men fought one of the most famous wars called the Battle of Waterloo. This was the moment when Napoleon had returned to Paris after his exile with an army to reclaim his crown for France. He was met by one of the largest armies of that time, made from a coalition of many European countries. He was defeated by Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, who presided over the British Army and its allies.
Wellesley was bestowed with the title of Prime Minister and the culinary world immortalized him forever with the classic dish called Beef Wellington.
2. The Origins of Beef Wellington Are Unknown
Beef Wellington, like many other dishes, has a debatable origin story. Many different experts cite England, France, Ireland, and even Africa as the possible birthplace for the dish. Many agree that France is the most likely origin for the dish since wrapping meat in pastry is a technique that has been practiced in France for a long time, even before the dish became popular. The dish is also similar to a French culinary phrase ‘filet de boeuf en croûte’. Many believe that the dish was already popular before it was renamed as the Beef Wellington after the beloved Duke.
3. Exact Ingredients Are Unknown
The exact ingredients for the Beef Wellington have always been up for debate since it has changed a lot and different region make it in unique ways. The dish started off as a patty of beef wrapped in simple dough made from water and flour. Over time, the dough was replaced by puff pastry to add a crispy texture, even though puff pastry is very labor-intensive.
Cold butter has to be distributed evenly between the many layers of the dough before folding it over and rolling it out. The process of adding butter and rolling it is repeated many times until the dough is multi-stratified by butter and flour. While baking, the butter melts and releases steam. This process helps to puff up the pastry since it separates the flaky layers so that it resembles a crust.
Ramsay is famous for loving beef wellingtons and he will always order one if it is on the menu. He says that it doesn’t matter if he is in Paris, Milan, New York or anywhere that isn’t England; he always orders it because he grew up having beef wellingtons at home.
He says that having a beef wellington tells him everything he needs to know about a chef. This is because making the dish from scratch utilizes many different cooking techniques and skills all at once. This includes cooking a top-quality fillet, making the puff pastry from scratch, cooking a mushroom duxelle, and adding that homemade duck or chicken liver pate. All of these different steps show whether a chef is good or not.
Beef Wellington ironically has little to do with the dish. It was released in 2017 and is set in the City of Los Angeles. It is a gripping tale about a serial killer called the Butcher who hangs his victims in the same way you would hang a hindquarter of beef before butchering them like Jack the Ripper. As the killer is about to strike a potential victim, he is distracted by a delicious scent coming from a nearby house, and the story begins.
6. In One Serving There Are 473 Calories
A single serving of the famous Beef Wellington has 473 calories. It has 31.5g of carbs, 26.2g of fat, and 24.5g of protein.
The Burger Wellington festival called the “Wellington on a Plate” is a popular tradition in which hundreds of Wellington restaurants, car parks, laneways, and venues participate. It occurs all over England for around 31 days and 5 weekends. All participants have to make a unique dish inspired by the Beef Wellington to win the challenge.
Puff pastry is one of the most difficult yet beloved pastries in the world. It has an amazing flaky, buttery texture that can make any dish better. For the Beef Wellington, the pastry is the most important part of the dish. The whole point of sealing the beef tightly in the pastry is to make sure that the juices are sealed in. This ensures that the meat cooks evenly and is moist when the Wellington is opened. The puff pastry should be buttery, rich, and decadent. It shouldn’t be soggy after the baking is done.
Beef Wellington needs to be paired with the perfect wine so that the taste feels richer and for that, there’s a lot to take into consideration apart from the beef. Keep in mind that the dish is usually made with a fillet, puff pastry, duxelles, and pate de foie gras, and all ingredients are important.
Usually, restaurants pair the dish with a full-bodied dry red wine which serves to bring out the flavor of each component. Here are some of the best wines to enjoy with the scrumptious Beef Wellington.
- Red Bordeaux: You should go with a softer style such as a well-aged Medoc, St. Emilion or Pomerol
- Red Burgundy: The wine selection from the Cote de Nuits pairs well with the beef wellington.
- Cabernet Sauvignon: There are many choices that you can avail from this selection, according to your price range.
- Merlot: Merlot is a famous choice for many and there is a lot of variety that you can choose from.
- Pinot Noir: Again, there are many choices from Pinot Noir but most experts recommend choosing one of the Oregon choices.
- Syrah: The wines from the Rhone River region of France and the Shiraz area in Australia are perfect for this dish.
- Zinfandel: there are some great California selections that you should take a look at while pairing a nice glass of wine for this dish.
The dish includes a moist, tender beef fillet, an indulgent umami mushroom duxelles, and rich, buttery, flaky puff pastry. What could be better than that for the holidays where you want a rich meal to share with family? There are many recipes available that have been perfected, especially for the time when the Christmas holidays come around.
Thanksgiving is also another major holiday when people prefer beef wellingtons. Turkey can be quite dry if it isn’t cooked properly and needs many side dishes to be palatable. This is why many people prefer beef wellington at the center of the table on a holiday.
The most famous recipe for beef wellington is outlined by Gordon Ramsey. Many people around the world use it as an inspiration for their own versions or follow it to dot for a perfect dish. If you want to make a beef wellington worth some space in the middle of the table then you should definitely use this recipe.
The beef should take around 15-20 minutes to cook depending on the temperature you want and also needs another 20 minutes to cool. While it is cooling, you will spend some time making the mushroom base for the duxelles in the beef wellington. This is followed by making the chive crepes in which you will wrap the beef. You will have to take some time to thaw out the pastry if it is frozen and then begin the assembly stage of the dish. Once you are done assembling the dish, you have to chill it in the fridge for around 20 minutes before you can begin to bake it. This is because the cold can help maintain its structure properly.
The baking time takes around 20 minutes since the insides are already cooked. When the pastry is golden brown, you can take it out. However, you have to let the beef wellington rest for 5 minutes so that it can cool down properly before you cut into it.
12. The Best Side Dish with Beef Wellington Are Veggies
Vegetables are the best option for any meat-based dish. Once they are cooked to perfection, they add flavor, color, nutrition, and texture to the meal. Here are some side dishes that will go well with your beef Wellington:
- Brussels sprouts: This will add a nice crispy freshness to the meal, especially if you serve the Brussels sprouts with lemon, butter, and baby carrots. You can also make a carrot puree to go with the dish.
- Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce: This is a popular combination since Hollandaise Sauce has been recommended by a lot of chefs around the world. The creamy, rich sauce with sautéed medium asparagus sprinkled with pepper and salt is perfect. You can also grill or steam the asparagus before delicately drizzling the sauce over it.
- Mixed Veggies and Creamy Mash: You can roast, grill, or steam beans, baby corn, and carrots to pair with the dish. This will go great with a dollop of delicious mashed potatoes made with crème Fraiche, butter, milk, and floury potatoes.
- Winter Greens: A simple salad with a yummy dressing will pair well with the beef wellington. You can make the dressing with balsamic vinegar, honey, extra-virgin olive oil, and mustard. This dressing is perfect for a salad of escarole, radicchio, Swiss chard, nuts, chopped shallots, and pomegranate seeds. This will be absolutely perfect with a garnishing of Parmesan cheese.
- Green Beans Almandine: Some salted green beans, a splash of lemon juice, and garnishing of sautéed slivered almonds will knock everyone off their feet.
- Potatoes: There is nothing better than potatoes as a side dish. Nothing pairs better with beef than potatoes. You can mash, fry, bake, roast, twice-baked, or choose any other of the tens of ways to make potatoes.
If you don’t want a veggie option for a side, there are plenty of rice-based options to choose from.
- Rice: It’s a simple side dish but can be really great with a moist beef wellington. It has a soft texture that will soak up the sauce nicely and a subtle flavor that won’t overpower the main course.
- Risotto: This is one amazing Italian dish where the rice is cooked in stock, garlic, sautéed onions, wine, and cheese. It is great on its own but simply becomes better with a well-made beef wellington.
- Rice Pilaf: This is an aromatic and tasty rice dish made from grained rice and sautéed celery and onions. With some salt, pepper, cayenne, parsley, and stock, this dish is perfect as a side dish.
13. There Are Many Vegan Beef Wellington Options
Vegan Beef Wellington almost sounds like an oxymoron; however, many chefs have created healthier options for vegetarians. Most recipes call for mushrooms as a replacement of the beef. This is because mushrooms have the perfect ‘meaty’ texture that you want with the flaky pastry and pate. They have an umami flavor that many find really satisfying.
You can also replace some of the meat for the mushrooms if you don’t want a completely vegan dish, just less meat. This ensures that the dish is still delicious but has lower calories.
Different recipes call for different garnishes for the dish. People in different regions prefer some over others.
- Salt and Pepper is a simple way to add flavor to the dish.
- Hollandaise sauce is a creamy, rich addition, which can keep the beef wellington from drying up.
- Red Wine sauce is a creation by Gordon Ramsey. What goes better with beef than red wine? So, why not drizzle some red wine sauce on your dish before serving it.
- Parsley is a classic garnish since it adds a pop of color and a subtle taste.
- Rosemary and red peppercorns make for unusual garnish but many people add it for aroma and flavor.
- Minced Chives are a fresh way to serve the dish since they add a nice pop of color.
- Green Peppercorn sauce adds a nice spice to the dish.
- Cranberry sauce garnishes were made popular when people began to replace the traditional turkey with beef wellington.
Many people toss the crust the next day; however, there is a lot you can do with the crust as well. Remove the crust carefully and add it to the top of a casserole for the perfect pot pie. The beef can also be used for all sorts of meals. Many people cut the meat into small medallions which make for great steak sandwiches. You can even substitute the plain slices of bread with delicious buttered toasted French bread. Others prefer a BBQ beef sandwich with lots of cheese, pickles, and tomatoes.
Beef Wellington is simple to make if you break it down. Many people tend to get overwhelmed by the different techniques that you have to use to create the dish but those who love to cook knows that it really isn’t that much. Most home cooks usually cook the dish with a store-bought puff pastry, which makes it easier to execute. You can do the same but don’t forget to add your own twist to the classic recipes!