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Beef Wellingon without duxelles....and no pate or mushrooms.

I want to make Beef Wellington but hate mushrooms and pate. What else can I use between the pastry and the filets? I plan on making individual ones.

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  1. I think you'll have to call it something besides Beef Wellington, maybe Boeuf en Croute. You could use caramelized onions and Roquefort or very dry cooked spinach or walnuts with onions, or you could do it plain with just herbed butter. The trick is not to have anything that is too wet or it will screw up the puff pastry.

    4 Replies
    1. re: escondido123

      OMG, I love the idea of caramelized onions & Roquefort. Thank you. I was thinking of something herby like with sage or thyme but thought butter wouldn't work with the pastry--I thought it needed something sort of sticky. no?

      1. re: sparkareno

        Remember, pate has a lot of fat in it so that's why I think the cheese would work. But you want to brown the beef and let it cool before you put it all together or the addition will melt and the pastry will too.

        1. re: sparkareno

          Maybe also add some spinach? My SO makes awesome individual beef Wellies with Maytag blue cheese, spinach, mushrooms (omit per your preference) and caramalized onions. SO GOOD. http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/be...

        2. re: escondido123

          You just came up with a new [to me] dish. Sounds wonderful.

        3. Use nothing an present in as "boeuf en crout".

          Or make a force meat with a spare cut of the same beef you are serving - cook it slowly with enough beef stock to make a relatively heavy slurry ( and a good strong amount of black pepper) - stirring it vigorously enough that it cooks into a paste instead of solidifying.
          -or-
          Use a good quality crab meat moistened with a little hollandaise or béarnaise and call it Beef Wellington a la Oscar. Serve with extra sauce.

          1. You can do that. What you'll end up with is beef tenderloin en croute. Ain't no way it will be beef Wellington. But that doesn't mean it won't taste good. If you want to make it really special, try using some truffle salt, or better yet -- MUCH better yet! -- some real truffles! Oh, wait. You don't like mushrooms? <sigh> Truffles really would make it outstanding. Whatever you decide, enjoy!

            4 Replies
            1. re: Caroline1

              Why does omitting duxelles (a French name for chopped mushrooms) and pate (another French term) turn a British dish into a French one?

              After reading the Foodtimeline entry, I think that the 'Wellington w/o mushrooms and liver paste => en croute' argument is based on a provincial American 1960s concept of the dish.

              1. re: paulj

                I suggested that name because it sounded a lot better than Beef Wellington without the Wellington....or than you could just call it Beef. Also, I believe the French did a similar dish with truffles and IMHO that is the basis for BW so going French seemed appropriate....and most of the rich guys had French chefs no matter where they lived.

                1. re: escondido123

                  Curiously one British cookbook that I have suggests that the name comes because it looks a bit like a Wellington boot - at least the nicely browned upper part. :)

                2. re: paulj

                  mmmmm... paulj, I never said omitting the duxelle and pate would turn it into either a French or British dish. I said that leaving out the duxelle and pate would be leaving out the "Wellington." "En croute" simply means something in a crust. Bake a tenderloin in a crust without lining the crust with duxelle and pate and it will end up being boeuf en croute. No way it will be Wellington! To try to make "beef Wellington" without the mushrooms and goose/duck liver is like trying to make a banana split without ice cream. You can do it, but it ain't gona be a banana split no matter what you call it.

              2. Make a thin savoury herb pancake and wrap the meat in that. It'll work well to separate the two layers. Of course, you've now got a beef pie, not Beef Wellington (or boeuf en croute, as the French would have it).

                Apparently Beef Wellington, as such, does not have a long history - the earliest recorded recipe being 1966.

                15 Replies
                1. re: Harters

                  Hi, Harters. I found your statement about the earliest beef Wellington recipe being from 1966 absolutely shocking! That was my hayday for making beef Wellington. I lived in Las Vegas at the time, and even created my own recipe to keep the bottom crust from sogging up: Lay out the puff pastry, cover it with a thin layer of prosciuto or Westphalian ham, spread with a thick layer of duxelle (with cognac in it), then a thinner layer of pate fois gras, thinly slice and lay out ribbons of Perigord truffle end to end and as close to touching as your budget allows. Set on the browned and crusted whole tenderloin. Roll and seal. Set on a lightly buttered baking sheet. Decorate top with puff pastry leaves, roses, or whatever design strikes you. Brush with egg wash and bake in moderately hott oven to degree of doneness desired. If you go beyond medium rare, a pox will fall on you and your house for generations to come.

                  This is my version from around 1966. When we had beef Wellington at an elite hotel restaurant on the strip, the bottom crust of mine was soggy, so I shared my recipe with the captain, who then brought out the chef who then adopted my recipe and I reccieved several invitations to banquest by the professional chef's organization, "Les Amis de Escoffier," as a result. Not a bad return for sharing a recipe!

                  Anyway, here's a link to a website that says the earliest known recipe that was actually called beef Wellington instead of boeuf en croute is from the 1940s. You'll find it here:

                  http://www.foodtimeline.org/foodmeats...

                  1. re: Caroline1

                    Wow Caroline!1 I wish I had been on your guest list back in the day!! And i know for a fact that this is not the first time I have felt that way...

                    1. re: GretchenS

                      The fun -- and funny -- thing is at the time, I had no idea I was a good cook. I was just doing things the way my chef/housekeeper in Turkey had taught me to do them. Her name was Fatma Ucal, and she brought years upon years of joy to my life through what she taught me. When I came home from Turkey in the early '60s, I used to watch Julia Child to see what kind of mistakes she was making. She did make a few, but....! The joy and pleasure she brought to millions through her cooking shows is a blessing beyond measure! Still, the way she suggests serving bouef Wellington makes my toes curl and my heebie jeebies dance! Cut the top crust off before serving? WHAT was she thinking!

                      1. re: hotoynoodle

                        That's your fault (that wiki isn't correct)! :)

                        1. re: paulj

                          i suppose that's true in a way! lol. i'm too busy on other boards to be nerding around on wiki. does irk me though.

                      2. re: Caroline1

                        This may be picky, but according to your foodtimeline link the 1940 recipe is titled
                        Tenderloin of Beef Wellington
                        and, by your own words, is not Beef Wellington. It is spread with "cold brown fine herb sauce" not mushrooms and liver.

                        The 1966 Craig Claiborne recipe is the first they list that is simply called Beef Wellington. And even that is not canonical, using truffles instead of duxelles. This is probably the recipe that Harters and Wikipedia are referring to. The 1966 date could be changed on Wikipedia, but to be fair, one would need to scan its history page to make sure that topic hadn't been hashed out earlier.

                        The recipe is present in the 1975 edition of Joy of Cooking, but not the previous.

                        Historical Foods (now Recipewise), a great source on British food history, has thrown in the towel when it comes to tracing the dish's history. Wiki also quotes Clarissa Dickson Wright of Two Fat Ladies fame. She comes to cooking show fame via a cook book store.

                        Another picky point - many of the recipes online for Boeuf en Croute include mushrooms in some form or other.

                        1. re: paulj

                          http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?...

                          is Google books ngram, word search plot, for 'Beef Wellington'. It shows a blip around 1950, but the real spike in references starts in the mid 1960s. Changing the search to British English shows nothing before 1960.

                          1. re: paulj

                            Dickson Wright apparently claims the dish has nothing to do with our military hero and prime minister of that name but named after New Zealand's capital city (which was, presumably named after our military hero) when an "event" in the 1960s was being held there.

                            1. re: Harters

                              Maybe the Brits didn't pay attention to this American invention until New Zealand gave it some credence?

                              1. re: paulj

                                I'm sure you're right. We'll have been more than happy to call it "Boeuf en croute" for years. It's only in comparitive recent times that we've able to ditch the fixation with French food and get back to cooking our own.

                                1. re: Harters

                                  I suspect the bottom line here is that ALL beef Wellingtons are a form of beef en croute, but not all beef en croutes are beef Wellingtons.

                            2. re: paulj

                              Yup. It's picky, but if that's what rings your chimes, live it up! First off, ALL "beef Wellingtons" and MANY "boeuf en croute" are made with the tenderloin. While the tenderloin is by far the most tender cut of flesh from a steer's carcass, it also has the least flavor, which is why the duxelles and pates and truffles and such are added.

                              The point of foodtimeline's reference to the 1940 "Tenderloin of Beef Wellington" was not the recipe but the use of the word "Wellington" in association with the dish.

                              It might also help you to know that truffles ARE mushrooms, so no points for you on distignuishing between them.

                              Nearly all classic recipes have variants available, but there is almost always a "standard" that is understoon among cooks and chefs. Today's broadly accepted culinary lexicon states that beef WELLINGTON has mushrooms and foie gras in it. I didn't make the rules.

                              1. re: Caroline1

                                All truffles are mushrooms, but not all mushrooms are truffles. And if I ordered a dish with truffles and got a shaving of white button mushrooms, I'd certainly question the dish.

                            3. re: Caroline1

                              Highly recommend Caroline1's tip of wrapping the beef in prosciutto -- I used it several years ago to make individual Beef Wellingtons.

                          2. Without the 'shrooms and pate, you'd essentially have a "Filet MIgnon Hot Pocket".

                            Not that there's anything wrong with that.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: ipsedixit

                              The term has been appropriated to refer to other meats, including lamb and salmon, cooked in puff pastry.

                              Not that there's anything wrong with that.

                            2. then you'll not be making Beef Wellington. Use any flavors that you like with beef. A puree of artichoke or broccoli or cauliflower or Brussels Sprouts or a pesto of some kind. Bacon wrapped fillet would be nice maybe with arugula first then bacon. You're limitless.

                              1. If your objection to pate has to do with what it is usually made of, I have seen recipes for Beef Wellington with oyster pate.

                                1. The Gourmet Cookbook (the big 2004 Yellow book) has a 'Twenty-First-Century Beef Wellington'
                                  using a 'Sour cream pastry dough' and 'Cilantro Walnut Filling' in place of the mushrooms and pate. They claim this filling is lighter and brighter in flavor.

                                  The main ingredients of the filling are:
                                  spinach, cilantro, parsley, walnut pieces, and bread crumbs, in effect a substantial 'pesto'.

                                  In The Cook's Book, a chef at the Savoy Hotel in London makes an individual serving Wellington:
                                  On a chive crepe he layers prosciutto and mushrooms, with a seared filet mignon steak in the middle. This is formed into a bundle, which is then wrapped in puff pastry and baked.

                                  1. Try replacing the duxells and pate with apricot jam and slivered almonds . . . and replace the beef with a wheel of brie. Serve warm with toast points . . . . . the greatest vegetarian beef wellington you have ever had . . . .