Flaky puff pastry, succulent beef tenderloin, luscious wild mushroom duxelles, intensely flavorful Parma ham, and a rich red wine sauce. This is Beef Wellington, and it is celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay’s signature dish. It’s also a great choice for a date night dinner at home since it serves two people perfectly.
An iconic recipe from Gordon Ramsay
Gordon Ramsay isn’t just a celebrity chef because of his many TV shows like MasterChef and Kitchen Nightmares. His restaurants, both here and in England, have amassed a whopping lifetime total of 16 Michelin stars in total. That’s enough to earn a chef celebrity status even without the TV shows!
However, Ramsay didn’t start as a chef. He first dreamed of being a professional soccer player and actually earned a tryout with the Glasgow Rangers. He even trained with the team for a few months. Unfortunately, a knee injury put an early halt to his soccer dreams, so he went back to school for a hotel management degree. He then trained with some of the best chefs in the world before opening his first restaurant.
After making a name for himself in the culinary world, he was offered the chance to make a TV show, and the rest is culinary TV history. Hell’s Kitchen became a hit in the U.S., and Beef Wellington (plus Ramsay) became household names.
Ramsay still regrets losing out on the chance of a professional soccer career but realizes it wasn’t to be. As he says, “But if I’m honest I don’t think I was good enough to be a truly great player. But I know I’m a truly great chef.”
The beef that the Duke of Wellington made famous
According to Gambero Rosso, this famous beef in a crust dish was invented to tempt the palette of the notoriously picky Duke of Wellington, hero of the Battle of Waterloo. It is now probably most familiar to fans of Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen, where it has been the downfall of many aspiring winners.
So, how is this well-known dish made? Would-be chefs should be warned — it certainly isn’t an easy process. However, it’s an elegant dish to share with a significant other on a special occasion at home. To that end, Beef Wellington is definitely worth the effort.
The Gordon Ramsay website suggests starting the dish with a 14 oz. piece of beef tenderloin, well-wrapped in plastic wrap to form a thick rectangle and refrigerated overnight so it keeps its shape. The next day you’ll sear the meat in a very hot pan until every side is nicely browned, but it’s still quite rare in the middle. While the beef is browning, you can get started on the mushroom duxelles.
To make the duxelles (mushroom paste), you’ll first finely chop the wild mushrooms and thyme leaves. Then you’ll saute them with a little olive oil until the mushroom mixture is fairly dry. Now it’s finally time to begin assembly. Start by laying out a big sheet of plastic wrap and covering it with enough thin slices of Parma ham to completely cover the meat. Overlap the slices as needed so the beef will be completely wrapped in porky goodness.
Top the ham with the duxelles. Securely wrap the seasoned beef (a coating of yellow mustard is optional) in the Parma ham and plastic wrap and chill again. Brush the rolled-out and chilled puff pastry with an egg yolk wash and wrap it around the meat. Seal the pastry tightly, egg wash the outside, and wrap in plastic. While it’s chilling for another half an hour, you can start the red wine sauce.
Score the Wellington, egg wash again, and bake at 390° for 15-20 minutes. Let it rest for 10 minutes before carving. Serve with the finished sauce.
Gordon Ramsey’s choice of a final meal
Beef Wellington might be the dish most associated with this celebrity chef, but it isn’t Gordon Ramsay’s choice for his last meal. That distinction belongs to another traditional British dish: roast beef with Yorkshire pudding. That’s what he told the author of the book My Last Supper when he was chosen as one of the 50 chefs who contributed to the book.
Yorkshire pudding and Beef Wellington are just two of the many celebrity recipes available online for the culinarily curious. So, what are you cooking tonight?