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Kitchen Queries

Welcome to Kitchen Queries, where the nigella.com team will answer your cooking or food related questions.  We’d love you to submit some of your recipe problems, dilemmas or queries for us to get our teeth into!

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  • Beef Wellington & Time Management

    When making Beef Wellington, can I cook the beef to medium rare then rest/cool it before wrapping in mushroom & olive paste, prosciutto and pastry etc and refrigerating until ready to bake? This should bring the beef closer to medium. Previously I have cooked and served in one motion, never having to break the process but I want to cook it for Xmas dinner and need to prepare the wellington in advance. Any thoughts on how I can do this, particularly avoiding any food poisoning?! The beef fillet will be around 1.8kg.

    From the nigella team:

    Beef Wellington is a dish that can be prepared up to 24 hours in advance and baked from fully chilled. Generally you want the beef fillet (tenderloin) to be fully cooled before wrapping it in the puff pastry as if the beef is warm when it is wrapped it can warm the puff pastry up and cause it to be a little greasy after baking.

    We would suggest that the beef is cooled and chilled as quickly as possible after its initial cooking. Cool the beef until it is just warm then refrigerate for 2-3 hours before wrapping in the remaining ingredients and refrigerating. If you are going to glaze the pastry with an egg wash we would suggest that you do this just before baking.

    As the Beef Wellington will be quite cold if cooked from the refrigerator, you may find that it will take slightly longer for the centre of the beef to warm up. It is usually better to slightly undercook the beef in the first instance as it can always be cooked for slightly longer at the second stage. You may find it useful to use an instant-read/digital thermometer when cooking the beef, particularly for the second stage. When the beef is in its pastry casing it should still be possible to insert the thermometer discreetly though the side of the pastry into the beef to check the temperature. Medium meat should reach an internal temperature of around 60-65c (140-145F) however as the Wellington will continue to cook once it is out of the oven you will need to remove it about 5c (20F) below this. 

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