B has always wanted to make a Beef Wellington for Christmas dinner, and he was so excited to make it this year when his brother Alan came to visit for 2 weeks. They had a great time fishing, crabbing, shooting skeet, and of course cooking meats/BBQ/eating lots of Seattle’s finest food.
We always joke that when Alan visits, our red meat intake quadriples.
B’s brother sadly couldn’t stay til Christmas day, so we had our “Christmas dinner” early. They used Gordon Ramsey’s Beef Wellington recipe, but just left out the red wine sauce. This is probably a travesty to Beef Wellington purists, but we were very happy with how it tasted (and the Wellingtons had plenty of steps already). I felt it had plenty of flavor going on already. Some versions have pâté too, but I don’t like pâté, and Gordon Ramsey’s version doesn’t contain it.
I’ve only had Beef Wellington once before when my mother made it for Christmas years ago. She made individual round Wellingtons, but I think the log version is much easier for a group (probably why my mother only made it once and never again lol).
This history of the Beef Wellington seems vague. Historians believe it’s named after Arthur Wellesley, the 1st Duke of Wellington and the man who defeated Napoleon at Waterloo. While some say his cook made it for him, there’s no mention of Beef Wellington in any British or French period cookbooks. There’s debate over whether its origin is French, English, Irish, or African (source, source, source).
It was published for the first time in a Polish cookbook in 1910 just like how it’s presented today, where it was a beef filet enveloped with duxelles in puff pastry, baked, and served with a sauce. Beef Wellington does not show up in any English cookbook until 1970 surprisingly. Beef Wellington then became extremely popular in America in the 1960s and 1970s, largely thanks to Julia Child (source, source, source).
Of note, the first time they baked it, my husband and his brother were puzzled that their Wellingtons weren’t cooked at all after 30 min. Turns out that Gordon Ramsey’s recipe called to bake it at 200°C (and they mistakenly put it at 200°F). We like it around 400°F and will reduce it to 375°F to avoid overbrowning since we bake it in a toaster oven.