Classic beef Wellington is the perfect dish for a dinner party, making individual ones add a special touch.
olive oil, for frying
4 x 300g/10½oz beef fillet steak
freshly ground black pepper
4 tbsp finely chopped fresh mixed herbs (chives, chervil and flatleaf parsley)
4 Portobello mushrooms, finely chopped
4 slices prosciutto
few slices fresh truffle
1 packet ready-made puff pastry, rolled to 5mm thick
1 free-range egg plus 1 free-range egg yolk, beaten together
For the pancakes, whisk together the eggs and flour in a bowl until smooth and well combined. Gradually whisk in the milk, until the batter has the consistency of single cream (you may not need all of the milk).
Heat a frying pan over a high heat and add the butter. When the butter is foaming, add a ladleful of the pancake batter and swirl the pan to evenly coat the base. Fry for 1-2 minutes, or until the underside is golden-brown. Carefully flip the pancake over and cook for a further minute, or until the pancake is cooked through and golden-brown all over. Slide the pancake out onto a plate lined with greaseproof paper, then cover with another layer of paper. Repeat with the remaining pancake batter to make 4 pancakes.
For the Wellingtons, heat a little olive oil in a frying pan until hot. Season the fillet steaks with freshly ground black black pepper, then sear in the hot frying pan for 2-3 minutes, turning occasionally, until golden-brown all over.
Sprinkle the chopped herbs on a plate and roll each fillet in the herbs to coat. Set aside.
Heat the butter in the frying pan until foaming, then add the mushrooms and fry for 3-4 minutes, or until the mushrooms are golden-brown. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then set aside to cool.
Cut the puff pastry into 4 equal squares and lay a pancake on each piece, followed by a slice of prosciutto. Spread the cooled mushrooms over the prosciutto, then lay over a few pieces of freshly sliced truffle. Place the fillet steak in the centre, then fold the pastry over to cover. Fold up the edges to completely seal the steak in the pastry. Turn the Wellingtons over so that the seam is on the bottom and place onto a baking sheet.
Brush the Wellingtons with half of the beaten egg, then chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
Remove the Wellingtons from the fridge and brush once more with the egg wash. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, or until the pastry is golden-brown and crisp. (Cook for a further 20-25 minutes if you prefer the beef to be well done, covering the pastry with aluminium foil if it browns too quickly.) Remove from the oven and set aside to rest.
For the red wine sauce, heat a pan until hot and add the butter. When the butter is foaming, add the shallots and fry for 1-2 minutes, or until softened
Add the red wine to the pan and bring to the boil. Cook until the wine has reduced in volume by half. Add the beef stock, bring back to the boil and cook until the liquid has reduced in volume by half again. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
For the buttered spinach, heat a frying pan until hot and add the butter. When the butter is foaming, add the spinach and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the spinach has wilted. Season with salt, freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg.
For the baby carrots, heat another pan and add the butter, the baby carrots and the water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated and the carrots are tender. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
To serve, carve each Wellington into thick slices. Spoon the buttered spinach onto serving plates and top with the Wellington slices. Spoon the carrots alongside and drizzle the sauce around the plate.
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James Martin presents with help from top chefs Gennaro Contaldo and Francesco Mazzei.