Probably nothing to do with the Duke of Wellington, as this is very much a 20th-century creation, this is a splendid thing to serve for Sunday lunch if you are feeling ambitious. Most recipes call for a layer of foie gras, which is authentic, if a little grand – so it’s optional here.
- First make the pastry. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Chop the butter, then add to the bowl and rub together to mix – there should still be small lumps of butter.
- Pour in the cold water and mix to form a firm dough – do not overmix.
- Cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for 30 minutes to rest.
- Turn the pastry out on to a floured board and roll out into a square. There will be small streaks of butter running through the pastry – this is how it should be.
- Fold the right-hand third of the pastry halfway into the middle and repeat with the remaining left-hand side. Roll out again and repeat the folding process. Wrap the pastry in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes, or until needed.
- Preheat your oven to 200°C (400°F), Gas Mark 6.
- Season the meat and seal it on all sides in the olive oil in a smoking hot pan. Transfer it to the preheated oven and roast for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, leave to cool,then chill in the fridge.
- Meanwhile, finely chop the mushrooms. Heat the butter in a large pan and fry the mushrooms with the thyme sprig over a medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring often, until you have a softened mixture.
- Season, pour over the Madeira and cook for a further 10 minutes, until all the liquid has been absorbed. The mixture should hold its shape when stirred. Remove the mushroom duxelle from the pan, discard the thyme and leave to cool.
- Slice the foie gras, season, then pan-fry in a hot dry pan.
- Overlap 2 pieces of clingfilm on a large chopping board.
- Lay the ham on the clingfilm, slightly overlapping, in rows. Spread half the mushroom mix over the ham, then sit the sealed beef on it and spread the rest of the mushroom mix over the beef.
- Use the edges of the clingfilm to draw the ham around the fillet, then roll it into a sausage shape, twisting the ends of the clingfilm to tighten it as you go. Chill the rolled fillet in the refrigerator while you roll out the pastry.
- On a lightly floured work surface, roll out one-third of the pastry to a strip about 3mm (1/8 inch) thick and 4cm (1½ inches) larger on all sides than the beef, ham and mushroom parcel.
- Place the pastry on a non-stick baking sheet or a baking tray covered with baking parchment. Roll out the remaining pastry to a rectangle about 3mm (1/8 inch) thick
- Carefully unwrap the fillet from the clingfilm and sit it in the centre of the smaller strip of pastry. Place the foie gras on top, then brush the edges of the pastry, and the top and sides of the wrapped fillet, with beaten egg. Using a rolling pin, carefully lift and drape the larger piece of pastry over the fillet, pressing well into the sides.
- Trim the edges to a rim about 4cm (1½ inches) wide and seal by pinching the pastry between your fingers or pressing together with a fork.
- Glaze with beaten egg and chill for at least 20 minutes.
- Preheat the oven again to 200°C (400°F), Gas Mark 6. Brush the Wellington with a little more egg and cook for about 30 minutes, until golden and crisp.
- Allow to stand for 10–15 minutes, then serve cut in thick slices, with Madeira Gravy and sides of your choice.
PRIME: The Beef Cookbook by Richard H. Turner, published by Mitchell Beazley, £25 (octopusbooks.co.uk)
Image credit: Paul Winch-Furness