Charcoal seared, then wood fired Basque filet beef Wellington, with wood fire roasted bone marrow canoes.
For the pancake / crepe:
- 50g plain flour
- 1 large egg
- 150ml milk
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon of butter
For the duxelles:
- 350g chestnut mushrooms, roughly chopped
- 2x shallots
- 2x garlic cloves
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 50g pork or chicken liver pate
For the final assembly of the Wellington:
- The pancakes and duxelles from above
- 2 x 200g Basque beef filet
- 8 x slices parma ham
- 2 tbsp English or Dijon mustard
- 300g puff pastry, 2 sheets 150g each – shop bought, I never make it myself 😉
For the bone marrow canoes:
- 2 x canoe cut bone marrow shafts (split lengthways.)
- 1 x shallot
- 1 tablespoon of fresh chopped parsley
- 2 heaped tablespoons of breadcrumbs
- Salt and pepper
Heavily season your beef with salt 2 hours before you plan to use it, and leave it in the fridge.
Next, light the grill you will use for searing as it will take some time to come up to heat. And at the same time, light and preheat your wood-fired oven (or another grill for indirect cooking) to 425 F / 220 C.
Then, we begin by making the pancakes on the rising heat of the grill before using it to sear the beef.
Make the Pancake/Crepe:
- Add the flour to a large mixing bowl and make a well in the center.
- Crack a single large egg into the middle and whisk well into the flour.
- Add a pinch of salt, then mix well again.
- Slowly add the milk while whisking all the way and doing so until all is combined and lump-free.
- Leave to stand for a good 15 minutes or so. It helps any lumps of flour to truly dissolve.
- In a medium-sized frying pan preheated to medium heat on your grill, melt half the butter, then swirl the pan to coat it.
- Take half the pancake mixture and drop it into the center of the pan. Swirl pan to evenly coat the bottom.
- Fry for 90 seconds, then flip and cook the other side for a further 90s.
- Turn out onto a plate and allow it to cool before using it in the Wellington.
- Repeat steps 6 to 9 to make a second pancake.
Sear the Beef:
Searing adds flavor to meat by the Maillard reaction. A little like caramelization, but a reaction between proteins and heat instead of sugar. An important step to maximize flavor!
- Once your grill has hit super high heat for searing, lightly oil the grates to help prevent sticking.
- Take your well-seasoned beef and place directly on the grates, directly over the charcoal.
- Sear well on all sides until you see good color and crust (time can be variable, do it by sight!)
- Once seared all over, remove from the grill and allow it to cool while you make the Duxelle.
Make the Duxelle:
- Chop the mushrooms, shallots, garlic, and thyme very finely.
- Blitz in a food processor.
- Add a tbsp of butter to a frying pan on medium heat. Swirl to coat the bottom and heat until butter is bubbly. Then add the olive oil and heat for another 30 seconds.
- Add the mushroom and shallot mix to the pan and saute for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- After 15 minutes, remove from pan and spread thinly on a plate to allow to cool for 10 minutes.
- Put into a bowl with the liver pate, and mix until thoroughly combined.
Assemble the Wellington
This recipe is for 2 individual Wellingtons, not one large one. To make one:
- Lay out cling film approx 2 feet in length
- Place four overlapping pieces of parma ham down on the cling film
- Take half of the duxelles and spread evenly across the ham.
- Rub the cooled beef filet with a THIN layer of English mustard.
- Place the beef onto the duxelles, then carefully roll it all up with the cling film, tucking in the sides of the ham as you go.
- When rolled, twist up the ends of the cling film tight, so you have a perfectly formed sausage.
- Place into a fridge for half an hour to chill the outside, which will help it keep its shape later.
- After half an hour, roll out a square of puff pastry approx 5mm thickness.
- Unwrap your ‘wellington sausage’ and place it onto the pastry
- Cut a piece of pancake to the exact size that will cover only the top of the beef filet, then place it on top.
- Fold the pastry around the filling, so the ends meet on top, then pinch it all together to seal it tight.
- Finally, turn it over so the pancake is on the bottom, and the perfect looking side of the pastry is on top (for presentation reasons)
- It’s now ready for cooking…
Prepare the Bone Marrow Canoes
- If you wish, you can soak the bone marrow in water for a few minutes to remove any blood that may be present. I tend not to bother, though.
- Finely chop 1 shallot and 1 tbsp of fresh parsley.
- Add to 2 tbsp of breadcrumbs, and season with salt and pepper.
- Take 2 bone marrow shafts that have been halved vertically, and spread half of the breadcrumb, shallot, and parsley mixture evenly over each of the bones, on the flat marrow side.
- Preheat your wood-fired oven or grill to approx 395 F / 200 C
- Place the wellington on a small rack and into your wood fired oven, OR, if using a grill place it onto the grate to cook with indirect heat.
- Allow the Wellington to cook for 10 minutes, before then placing the bone marrow canoes into the same WFO or grill.
- Now cook for approximately another 20 minutes, until the wellington is a nice golden brown, and the internal temperature of the beef reaches 125f as measured with an instant-read thermometer.
- Remove the Wellington, and allow the bone marrow to cook for a further 5 minutes or so while it rests. You want the breadcrumb mix to have a dark, golden crust, and the marrow itself to have bubbled and mostly rendered.
I would keep it simple and serve with some potato and a veg two, you can pick your own poison here.
For the duxelles: Most recipes say to saute it for 8 to 10 minutes. I find this is still too moist and always makes the pastry bottom too soggy. So I way overdo it instead and dry it out as far as possible, otherwise you get a soggy bottom. And nobody likes a soggy bottom 😉 So saute it for 15 minutes at least. The taste is not impaired.
For the pancakes / crepes: You can make either one large thin pancake or two smaller ones. I prefer two smaller ones. The reason I cut two squares only the size of the wellington being made and place it on the bottom, is to soak up some juices and stop the bottom getting soggy. Many recipes say to wrap the whole filet in a pancake, but it’s not necessary if you dry out the duxelles for longer than usual, and I prefer not to have all that pancake in it personally.
Searing the beef: Sear the filet on all sides in a blazingly hot grill, as hot as you can get it. You want a decent Maillard crust all over without cooking the inside of the meat much, so the hotter and quicker, the better. And if you can use a charcoal grill, you get some added flavor!
The bone marrow canoes: If you’ve cooked these before, you will know not many people put breadcrumbs on top, but only herbs, salt, and pepper. I like to put the breadcrumbs on as once they’re baked, they give it texture, and it also soaks up lots of the delicious fats from the bone marrow that all too often melt away and end up discarded.
- Category: main dish, pastry and meat
- Method: grilling and wood fired oven
- Cuisine: English
Keywords: Beef wellington, basque filet steak, filet steak, duxelle, bone marrow