I think making a beef wellington is something to revere as brilliantly ‘Delia territory’. It takes a good deal of effort and precision, so if you are ever served it remember to make the right noises to the chef, because those painstaking hours of work will be gone in mere moments of pleasure.
But the naked version this isn’t one of those dishes. Its a synch in comparison and it transports you into south central Europe in winter with its flavours. This all came about due to finding the most glorious fillet of beef and being totally undecided as to whether to make carpaccio of it or cook it whole. I just knew it had to be eaten well and I didn’t want pastry.
This dish is most likely to serve 4, as buying a fillet of beef for many more than that starts to make this a very expensive venture. But when you do choose your piece, make sure it a good barrel shape, with minimal marbling, preferably none at all.
Prep time 20 mins.
600g fillet beef
8-10 slices prosciutto
1 handful of dried porcini mushrooms
Knob of butter
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
3 handfuls of rosemary and thyme
Small glass (150ml) red wine (optional)
Cooking string/twine (not plastic or coloured, Bridget Jones)
Preheat the oven to 180C. Start by soaking the porcini in a bowl with 300ml boiled water. Next, finely chop the rosemary and thyme together on a chopping board, throwing a little salt and pepper in with them into a flat mound in the centre.
Add the knob of butter to a frying pan, with the garlic and add the soaked porcini on a medium heat for 1 minute, retaining the mushroom water aside. Then add half the water to the pan, simmer and reduce for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, on a clean dry surface lay out 3 lengths of sting and 1 horizontal piece like so
III, placing half of your prosciutto in lengths on top, slightly overlapping. When the mushrooms are cooked, spoon half of them onto the prosciutto. Place the herbed beef on top of the mushrooms and spoon the other half of the mushrooms on top of the beef. Layer the remaining prosciutto on the top, overlapping all the pieces so the beef is parcelled, and tie the string loosely to secure it together.
Place in the oven and cook for 20 minutes (rare), 30 minutes (medium) or 40 minutes (well done). I prefer 20 mins. Half way through add the red wine to the tray. Use these juices as a sauce (you can reduce for a richer taste whilst the beef sits for 10 mins). Serve in slices on wilted spinach, with greens or even mash potatoes.