For years my friends Lance & Vikki hosted a Christmas dinner for all and sundry. Lance is no longer with us, but Vikki has kept up the tradition. This year, she decided it would be fun to serve Beef Wellington to the 15 or so who had RSVP’d and asked me to help. Neither of us had ever made it before, but what the heck? We are nothing if not adventurous in the kitchen.
So on Christmas Eve, armed with some magazine detailing the necessary steps, Julia Child’s cookbook, and Gordon Ramsey on telly, we commenced to cooking.
We needed beef tenderloin:
So then you sear the tenderloin, set off the smoke alarm, open all the doors and windows…well, maybe YOU can skip those last two steps, but we found them unavoidable. Then mix the pate and mushrooms together, spread it onto a quilt of crepes, add the tenderloin, and roll the whole thing up into a log.
Meanwhile, we made a Madeira sauce which had to be reduced to about 2 cups of liquid. This led to getting out the calculator to determine if there would be enough to go around, which led to suggestion that each guest be given a voucher to turn in for their sauce allotment…but in the end, there was plenty.
Christmas Day came, our bundles of goodness went into the oven to the tune of “Rule Brittania” (we were under the mistaken impression Wellington had been a naval man; actually he was the army guy who defeated Napoleon). It came out looking like this:
Note the slashes in the crust, which Chef Ramsey assured us was “not a chef-y thing” but an important step for some reason I’ve since forgotten.
It was, if I may say so, fabulous. I don’t have the recipe to share, but it shouldn’t be hard to find. Next time you want to cook something special and have several hours to spare, give it a whirl!