Beef Wellington is impressive in presentation. It may also seem daunting the first time you pull out the recipe. These tips can help making your centerpiece-worthy main course easier.

By Mary Claire Lagroue
November 21, 2019
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Perhaps no main course tops Beef Wellington in decadence and wow factor. We're talking the tenderest cut of beef, coated in pâté and mushroom duxelles, all blanketed in a flaky, buttery pastry. And, well, now we're just drooling.

You don't have to reserve a restaurant table to dine on Beef Wellington, though. You can make it at home in an hour. Yes, really. Read on for our popular Beef Wellington recipe, plus cooking tips and the best sides to serve with it.

What is Beef Wellington?

No one knows for sure where Beef Wellington got its name. Popular belief traces its origins to the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. The first Duke of Wellington, Arthur Wellesley, had led his troops to victory. This followed defeating Napoleon Bonaparte one year before. So, these victories could have merited naming the dish after the duke.

Also debatable is whether we can credit the recipe to the English. People had been enveloping meat in pastries for centuries before 1815. Beef Wellington could be a British take on a French filet de boeuf en croute, for example. Some have even proposed that it gets its name from its resemblance to a Wellington Boot. (We don't see it.)

What cut of meat is used for Beef Wellington?

Purchase a center-cut beef tenderloin (filet mignon) without its outside fat or silver skin. You can also remove the fat and this silver-colored strip of connective tissue at home. If you're working with a whole tenderloin instead of a center cut, you'll also want to cut off the tail (the tapered end). One pound of beef tenderloin equals about four servings.

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How to Make Beef Wellington

  • 2 1/2 pounds beef tenderloin
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 2 ounces liver pâté
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 (17.5 ounce) package frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten
  • 1 (10.5 ounce) can beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons red wine
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Place the frozen puff pastry on the counter so that it will have time to thaw. Afterward, prep the onion, mushrooms, and egg.

Place the beef tenderloin in a small baking dish or pan, and spread it with two tablespoons of softened butter. Roast the tenderloin in the preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until browned. Remove the tenderloin from pan, and allow it to cool completely. Reserve any juices from the baking dish.

Next, increase the oven temperature to 450°F. Melt two tablespoons of butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add in the chopped onion and sliced mushrooms, and sauté them for five minutes. Remove the onions and mushrooms from the heat, and let the mixture cool.

Next, mix two ounces of pâté with two tablespoons of softened butter, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Then, spread the pâté and butter mixture over the cooled beef. Top it with the onions and mushrooms.

Roll out the puff pastry dough so that it’s large enough to envelop the entire tenderloin. Place the beef on the pastry towards one side in the center. Fold the dough over the tenderloin, and seal all the edges, making sure the seams are not too thick. Trim the ends of the pastry if necessary, and tuck the ends under the beef.

Place a rack in a roasting pan, and place the beef on top. (Our home cooks attest that the rack keeps the bottom of the pastry from getting soggy!) Cut a few slits across the top of the puff pastry to vent the steam, and brush it with the egg yolk. Bake it at 450°F for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 425°F for 10 to 15 more minutes or until the pastry turns a rich, golden brown.

Meanwhile, place all of the reserved juices in a small saucepan over high heat. Stir in the beef stock and red wine. Boil the mixture for 10 to 15 minutes, or until slightly reduced. Strain the sauce, and serve it over the Beef Wellington.

What to Serve with Beef Wellington

Pair Beef Wellington with sides worthy of special occasions.

Beef Wellington is a welcome addition to any celebratory dinner, whether it's a holiday meal or delicious date night. It looks impressive, but you, the cook, can rest assured it's quite easy to bring together.