Now that you’ve mastered duxelles with lobster mushrooms, here’s an elegant old-timey recipe to put those duxelles to work: Beef Wellington. Don’t make this dish, however, if you’re not willing to pony up for top-drawer ingredients. You need a beef tenderloin and bona-fide pâté de foie gras; a lesser cut of meat and cheap pâté will compromise the Wellington beyond repair. That said, I do urge you to make one life-saving short-cut: buy frozen puff pastry.
For a small Wellington that will easily feed four, you can get away with a tenderloin that’s 1.5 pounds. You’ll also need:
4 oz pâté de foie gras
1 egg, beaten
1 lb lobster mushrooms (or buttons)
1 large shallot
1 cup heavy cream
1 sheet puff pastry
beef stock (for gravy)
madeira wine (for gravy)
Note: The duxelles can be made a few days in advance.
1. Season the meat with salt and pepper, brown quickly in a hot skillet with olive oil, then set aside to cool. Now get your puff pastry out of the freezer to defrost; you’ll need one sheet.
2. Make your lobster duxelles while the puff pastry is defrosting. Finely chop shallot and mushrooms, saute in butter, season, deglaze with cognac, stir in heavy cream to taste, and garnish with chopped herbs. (Click here for detailed recipe and images.)
3. Spread a thin layer of foie gras on the pastry, leaving an inch untouched on all sides, then spoon duxelles over the foie gras. Place the tenderloin in the middle and then tightly wrap the pastry around it, folding the edges. Brush egg on the folds, then roll the Wellington over onto a greased baking tin and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
4. Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees. Remove the Wellington from the refrigerator and brush all surfaces with egg before putting in oven. Bake 10 minutes, then lower temp to 375 and bake another 15 minutes or until pastry is golden. Remove from oven and allow to sit 10 to 15 minutes before carving.
5. Make a gravy while Wellington is cooling. Reduce equal parts beef stock and madeira, then finish with a knob of butter.
Serve with potatoes and a green vegetable. And a good cabernet!
Hints: Make sure your puff pastry hasn’t defrosted too much (and gotten soft and gooey) before spreading foie gras and duxelles. Also, make sure your duxelles and beef are cool during this step to prevent puff pastry from tearing.
About the lobster mushrooms: The season is just about over in the PNW, but you can still find them along the sides of old logging roads and elsewhere where the duff composition is good. If you see lots of Russula brevipes, then you have a good chance of finding lobsters. And once you find one, look carefully in the vicinity because there will usually be others lurking under the duff nearby. Here’s a video illustrating lobster mushroom habitat along a mountain biking trail.