Beef Wellington with Roast Pumpkin, Parsnip and Mushrooms in a Creamy Sage and Mustard Sauce

Beef-Wellington-Roasted-Veggies by Meeta K. Wolff-0035

The Christmas verve is in full swing here in Weimar. To add to the spirit it has been snowing for the past 2 days covering Weimar in a blanket of soft, powder-white, pureness, making the city look postcard perfect. The annual Christmas market in the center of town has been spreading joys of spiced glühwein, roasted chestnuts, sticky cotton candy, fresh stollen or warm quark doughnuts, making it irresistible to walk through the cobbled streets without stopping and sampling a cupful here, a portion there or a morsel around the corner.

We stop counting calories as December 1st rolls in. There is no use - we crumble and give in to mince pies, rum-soaked fruitcakes, cookies and co. This is the time of year where the expandable jeans are put into extreme use and we somehow convince ourselves things could be worse - at least we still fit in those expandable jeans from last year. As we stand in front of the mirror sucking in our paunches, our thoughts linger around the warm spiced confiture de lait simmering away on the stove waiting to be filled in jars for gifts.  A slice of rustic bread with a slathering of the sticky jam and a coffee is in order - after all there is still room in the expandable jeans. 

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The chilly and frosty temperatures outside make us seek the warmth and cosiness inside and we crave big robust stews and hearty meals. Candles glow and the air is perfumed with cinnamon and citrus. Family and friends gather around a decorated table at tea time, passing stollen, cookies and pastries, filling the room with merry chatter. We talk about Christmas Eve and Christmas day and the meals we plan to serve. There is talk about duck breast in plum sauce, sautéed red cabbage and dumplings, on the other side there is venison with cranberry jelly, while at the head of the table there are ideas of pavlova, cream cakes and sticky toffee pudding. Recipes are exchanged, menus are modified and shopping lists are altered while morsels of marzipan cookies are jammed into mouths washed down with a good glug of spiced tea.

Does this sound slightly familiar to you?

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This year I will be serving an all time favorite - a Beef Wellington. I have a sacred love for a good Beef Wellington and strongly believe that the ingredients used to make this classic English dish should be of a very good quality. Furthermore, I will adamantly rebut that flavors of garlic and onions have no business in a Beef Wellington. It is not a pie! It is the fantastic combination of earthy mushrooms and herbs with the slight sharpness of the mustard on a melt-in-your-mouth beef tenderloin wrapped in flaky pastry that makes this dish so spectacular.

Traditionally a Beef Wellington is coated with a pâté de foie gras and a mushroom duxelles then wrapped in puff pastry and baked. In my opinion the foie gras can be rather overpowering and kills the more delicately flavored beef. Some will argue that the salty and stridently savory flavor of the Parma, in this recipe, does exactly that but I find it complements the beef nicely. If you do use the Parma ham do not season the mushrooms duxelles. For the mushrooms I use a mix of dried porcini, girolles, shitake and chestnut to give a mélange of flavors and textures to the duxelles, which is sprinkled with a mix of  herbs, like thyme, rosemary and parsley. I keep wine, cream and stock all away from my duxelles preferring not to mask the clean flavors of the mushrooms and herbs with boozy acidity or creamy richness. 

And please … no truffle oil. It is the worse thing one can do to the Beef Wellington. For the pastry it has to be puff pastry and I say yes! to using a good quality, all-butter, store-bought puff pastry (unless you have homemade puff pastry in your freezer). With all the other things to think about at this time of year it will make  life so much easier for the pragmatic cook. Steer away from flaky pastry or pie pastry - the Beef Wellington is a delicate dish and needs the elegance of a beautiful puff pastry wrap around it.

What dishes do you traditionally serve at Christmas? I would love to hear about your traditional dishes.

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Recipe: Beef Wellington with Roast Pumpkin, Parsnip and Mushrooms in a Creamy Sage and Mustard Sauce

Printable version of recipe here

Beef-Wellington-Roasted-Veggies by Meeta K. Wolff-0035

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Serves: 6

Ingredients:

  • 400g mixed mushrooms (I used dried porcini, soaked before use, chestnut, shitake and girolles), finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons mixed herbs, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 750g piece of prime beef fillet
  • 2 tablespoons English mustard
  • 8 slices Parma ham
  • 500g puff pastry
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • Handful flour, for dusting
  • Salt and freshly cracked pepper

Method:

  1. To make the mushroom duxelles, add 1 tablespoon of oil in a pan and cook the finely chopped mushrooms and herbs on high heat for about 8 to 10 minutes until the moisture has been cooked out. Scrape on a plate and set aside and allow to cool.
  2. Add the remaining oil in the pan and heat to high. Pepper the meat well and sear in the hot pan for approx. 30 seconds on all sides - just enough to color and seal it. Remove from heat, allow to cool for a few minutes then brush with the mustard.
  3. Spread a piece of cling film, enough to be able to wrap the fillet in, on the work surface and lay out the ham slices on it, in overlapping rows. Using a palette knife, spread the mushroom duxelles over the ham. Place the fillet in the middle crossways. Neatly roll up the Parma ham and mushrooms around the beef using the cling film. Tightly wrap the beef in the ham package with the cling film. Secure the ends and refrigerate for 20 minutes to allow it to set.
  4. In the meantime, roll out the puff pastry on a lightly flour surface to a large rectangle about 1cm thick. Remove the cling film from the beef, then lay it in the center of the pastry, crossways. Brush the exposed pastry with the beaten egg. Fold the sides up to cover the ends of the fillet, then wrap the pastry around the beef, trimming of any excess pastry. Brush the pastry with the more egg and chill for about 15 minutes.
  5. Heat the oven to 200 degrees C.
  6. Score the top of the pastry diagonally and brush with remaining egg. Bake for 20 minutes then lower temperature to 180 degrees C and cook for a further a 15 minutes. Allow to rest for 10 minutes then slice into thick slices and serve with the roasted vegetables (recipe below).

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Serve the Beef Wellington with a side that is equally elegant and provides complimentary flavors. My roasted pumpkin, parsnip and mushroom are drizzled with a creamy mustard sauce, highlighted with sage. It’s the perfect partner to the mighty Beef Wellington. 

Recipe: Roast Pumpkin, Parsnip and Mushroom with a Creamy Sage and Mustard Sauce

Printable version of recipe here

Beef-Wellington-Roasted-Veggies by Meeta K. Wolff-0041

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Serves: 6

Ingredients:

  • 3 parsnips, cut into cubes
  • 1 small butternut squash, cut into cubes
  • 300g button mushrooms, cut in half
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 ½ tablespoon butter
  • Handful of sage leaves, roughly chopped
  • A few sprigs of rosemary
  • 100ml double cream
  • 2 teaspoon English mustard
  • Salt and freshly cracked pepper

Method:

  1. Heat the oven to 180 degrees C. Toss the parsnip, pumpkin with the the garlic, olive oil and bay leaf and then season. Spread out on a baking tray and roast for 15-20 minutes until tender.
  2. Meanwhile, fry the mushrooms in butter until the liquid has evaporated. Keep warm.
  3. Toss the roasted vegetables with the mushrooms.
  4. Just before serving melt the butter in a small pan and lightly fry the sage in it. Pour the double cream and heat on a low heat, then stir in the mustard.
  5. To serve drizzle the sage and mustard sauce over the vegetables.

Verdict

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I am not going to tell you to eat sensibly or healthy or how to avoid the extra kilos during this time. I am sure we’ve all found our peace with the additional grams we put on during the few weeks of Christmas. For me the additional stress of watching what I eat just adds to my frustration so I indulge and have found myself happier when I allow myself smaller portions of everything. Come January I am then ready for a cleansing and to be honest after all the excesses I really enjoy the period where simple, easy and toxic-free meals are cooked.

So, bring on the expandable jeans!

Central St 324_RT

I really wanted to share this image of the Central Street Cookery School in London where we will be hosting our Supperclub | Food Styling and Photography Workshop. Doesn’t it look fantastic? Look at that incredible light streaming in through the gorgeous windows! When Sofia from the cookery school sent me a few pictures I got really excited. They are inspiring me to create new exercises and assignments for the participants of the workshop. 

In case you missed it I will be in London in February and together with the talented Sumayya will be hosting a great new concept for a workshop, on 15 & 16 February 2013. We are putting on a full food experience for all participants attending the workshop. It will be a hands-on food styling/photography workshop led by me, a session on overcoming the challenges of restaurant and low-light photography by Jeanne as well as a culinary tour through Pakistan and India led by Sumayya where participants will learn different cooking techniques used in the Indian/Pakistani kitchen, create some mouth-watering dishes, and indulge in an array tantalizing South-Asian street food. The main venue is the stunning kitchen at the Central Street Cookery School above, which not only provides huge windows for gorgeous natural light but also offers plenty of space for cooking, styling, photographing and eating; and we will also be dining at a gastropub to practice the low-light photography skills.

This makes great Christmas present!

And we have a couple of slots left! Register for a place on this workshop now. The workshop is limited to a max. of 12 participants and we have a spaces are still available.

Full details are available on the announcement page

More Christmas treats from from WFLH:

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An assortment of Christmas Cookies Spiced Advocaat Custard Scandinavian Gingerbread House - Pepparkakstuga


All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2012 Meeta Khurana Wolff unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

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43 comments:

  1. Beautiful! Glorious! What a perfect meal and although we don't have a big celebration - only one Christian in the house (and not an observant one, at that) but he has taken to Christmas these last couple of years. And a good meal is indeed in order. Do I dare? I so want to try this! That layer of Parma and mushrooms is fabulous and nothing goes with a dish like this better than a creamy mustard sauce. I'll show this to JP and see if he'll help! And I love your dark photos!xoxo

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    1. Yes go dare! Surprise JP with a Beef Wellington. It's easier that it looks. I personally like the Parma ham as it not only holds the filling together but adds a nice highlight to it.
      But better yet ... come to Weimar I'll make this for you both!

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  2. Beautiful! The beef is cooked to perfection and the roasted vegetables look really scrumptious.

    A great alternative to turkey...

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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    1. That's the trickiest part really but the times I mention in the method are absolutely perfect and the beef (depending on its size) comes out wonderfully!

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  3. I just love all the flavors here. Beef Wellington is one of my favorite dishes, too, and I completely agree that the ingredients need to be high-quality! Gorgeous photography, as always!

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    1. Thanks Kristy. Yes it's such a spectacular dish and once a year worth the extravagance!

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  4. Love beef wellington and the flavors you used. Gorgeous photography!

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  5. I always wanted to make beef wellington at home but I am also very scared that I will totally screw it up! May be I should start with a tiny piece.

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    1. No! It's so much easier than it looks ... give it a try and you will see it's worth it. Let me know!

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  6. I absolutely love beef wellington although I may have to disagree with you about the truffles - they served beef wellington with truffles inside at a restaurant on my honeymoon and it was one of my most favourite meals ever!

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    1. Oh I do not mind truffles in the Beef Wellington but I am totally averse to truffle oil. I doubt the oil has ever really been near a real truffle! Shavings of truffles in the duxelles sounds entirely heavenly.

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  7. That looks absolutely beautiful Meeta! Lovely pink colour in the centre. Your receipes are giving us a beautiful white Christmas vibe.

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    1. I am so glad you like the Christmas recipes I am putting out for you :o) Thanks for the comment.

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  8. Your Beef Wellington looks and sounds perfect and the mushroom combination is a fabulous complement. We will serve Fennel & Rosemary Tenderloin for Christmas--so simple, yet so delicious. :)

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    1. It's usually the simple dishes that are so delicious. Wishing you a happy feast Judy!

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  9. I love the combination of pumpkin, mushrooms and parsnips with creamy sage mustard sauce. Going to try it tonight. Thanks :)

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    1. It really is a sensational combination. Do let me know what you thought of it!

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  10. The beef looks so picture perfect, u r an ace Meeta so glad i found your page.

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    1. Glad you came by and thanks for your kind comment.

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  11. I could not have chosen a better grouping of ingredients myself! This dish is calling to me and I'm ready to give in! Thanks for sharing another wonderful recipe...

    -Shannon

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    1. Glad you liked this Shannon. Let me know what you think when you make this!

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  12. Very beautiful pics and the dish itself. I love the dark tones here.

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  13. Meeta, your beef wellington is making my stomach growl as I haven't had breakfast yet! Thanks for the tips on the duxelles - hoping to make a Beef Wellington tonight for a potluck and crossing fingers that it will transport well.

    We are having a low key Christmas this year as Scotch has to work so sadly, no travels to UK or US to be with family.

    Happy holidays to you and yours!

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    1. Hey Sandy! Ha .. glad I can get you tummy growling with this. Sorry to hear that there will be no travels ... but you know what it can be a blessing in disguise to just spend valuable time with your two men ... enjoying the time you have together. Wishing you happy holidays too! Hugs xo

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  14. Though I don't eat beef and I am never going to try this dish in my life, you just tempted me with that first shot!! What splendid looking dish Meeta. *takes a bow*

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    1. Anita - this must be the best compliment I have gotten by far LOL! Thank you for that .... but you know what you can make this a vegetarian Wellington too. I've made it in the past for my mum who does not eat beef. Just use mushrooms, spinach and if you like add some butternut squash chunks - I like roasting mine with a cumin seeds. Then roll out the puff pastry, spread the filling and roll tightly and bake till crispy. ;o) Enjoy.

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  15. Every year my family has a nice bone in prime rib roast, would you believe that this year I was considering changing it up and Wellington was on my list (made with venison instead). Now that I have seen your post, my mind is made up. It's good to have change every now and then.

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    1. Oh I do believe in change every now and then. We usually do duck breast for Christmas - this time I am changing to the Wellington. So go for it! :o)

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  16. That looks like a conversation in my dinner table. So much food and so much discussions. A apt season to talk about food, food and more food. I have a pre-Xmas party on 22nd Dec and I have been busy planning the whole dinner menu. I am loving this recipe. Have not made wellington at home but will try it this year. Happy Holidays Meeta!

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  17. What a brilliant and original Christmas dinner. I've shared it on my Facebook page. Your creativity never stops!

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  18. I am very happy to read your articles it’s very useful for me,and I am completely satisfied with your website.All comments and articles are very useful and very good. Your blog is very attention-grabbing. I am loving all of the in turn you are sharing with each one!…

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  19. I made this recipe a few days ago (my first Wellington!) and it was delicious. Thank you very much for the recipe!

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  20. luking so delicious and gracefull i'll try to make this dish at home

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  21. Even though it is really a wrong time (it is June now) to give my comment on this post now...it is a great recipe. Thanks Meeta!

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Thank you for visiting What's For Lunch, Honey? and taking time to browse through my recipes, listen to my ramblings and enjoy my photographs. I appreciate all your comments, feedback and input. I will answer your questions to my best knowledge and respond to your comments as soon as possible.

In the meantime I hope you enjoy your stay here and that I was able to make this an experience for your senses.

Hugs
Meeta