The object here is not to choose sides, but to illustrate how today’s modern
dishes often springboard from the pool of classical cuisine. Master the
classical. Know that there is a difference between classical and old-fashioned, and appreciate not only the historical significance of classical
cuisine, but its important place in modern cookery. Then, and only then, can
you move on to the modern. Notice that despite its differences, the modern
recipe still is anchored in classical technique.
As autumn approaches, so comes the joy of cool-weather comfort foods,
such as beef Wellington and its many varieties. For the fall face-off we called
on Patrick Hoogerhyde, executive chef at Glacier BrewHouse — an award-winning restaurant and brewery in Anchorage, Alaska — and Ashley Gurke,
production cook, who graduated from The Culinary Institute of America,
Hyde Park, N. Y., in April. Here, we explore the history behind beef Wellington,
look at its modern interpretations and, in keeping with this issue’s menu-trends topic, suggest appropriate beer pairings (if age-appropriate).
Beef Wellington consists of a fillet of beef covered with pâté de foie gras or
duxelles — a mixture of finely chopped mushrooms, shallots and herbs that
is slowly cooked in butter to form a thick paste — which is wrapped in pastry
and baked. Little is known of the date and origin of the dish, but there is
a story to its name. When Napoleon Bonaparte was defeated at Waterloo
in 1815 by the British forces under Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, the
English named several items in Wellesley’s honor. According to The Food
Encyclopedia (Robert Rose Inc., 2006), this dish, which he loved, was also
named in his honor. For the modern interpretation, Hoogerhyde prepares
Wild Alaskan Salmon Wellington with Braised Autumn Greens, Roasted
Asparagus, Truffle Hollandaise and Pinot Noir Syrup.
Gurke, who first tried beef
Wellington in culinary school, was
anxious to prepare it for the first
time, as it is not a common dish in
restaurants in Alaska.
“I love the presentation of this
dish and all of its components,”
she says. “The flavors marry
together well. The crispiness of the
puff pastry is a nice contrast to the
tenderness of the beef.”
Preparing beef Wellington is
time-consuming, which may be one
reason why it is not as common in
restaurants, says Gurke. Students
who prepare this dish will take
away many basic techniques,
such as baking, sautéing, meat
fabrication, roasting and various
knife cuts. Instead of the traditional
foie gras, which can be difficult to
find in Alaska, Gurke used chicken
liver pâté, easily found in stores
or made from scratch. The pâté’s
texture is a good substitute for foie
gras, she says.
Gurke had success with the dish
Yield: 2-3 servings
1 lb. fillet of beef, trimmed
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 oz. chicken liver pâté
8 oz. Mushroom Duxelles
¾ lb. puff pasty
1 egg, beaten
Roasted Vegetables (recipe follows)
Red Wine Sauce (recipe follows)
Method: Preheat oven to 400°F
with fan on high. Season beef with
salt and pepper. Spread pâté over
fillet; spread mushroom duxelles
over pâté. Center fillet on pastry.
Wrap pastry around fillet; fold sides.
Trim, if needed. Brush pastry with
egg. Bake in oven until beef reaches
115°F and pastry is golden-brown.
the first time preparing it, but did
face one obstacle. “I had a hard
time wrapping the fillet with the
puff pastry. I would suggest buying
SUGGESTED BEER PAIRING: GLACIER BREWHOUSE BEAM BLACK RYE BOCK
Allow to rest 10 minutes. Slice;
serve with roasted vegetables and
red wine sauce.
Yield: 8 oz.
8 oz. crimini mushrooms, cleaned,
1 T. butter
2 T. minced shallot
2 t. fresh minced thyme
1 T. dry sherry
Salt and pepper, to taste
Method: Remove moisture from
mushrooms. Heat medium-sized
sauté pan to medium-high; add
butter. Once butter is melted, sweat
shallot. Add mushrooms and thyme;
cook until liquid is almost completely
evaporated. Add sherry; cook until
completely evaporated. Season with
salt and pepper. Cool. Reserve.
extra puff pastry and trimming it.
Also, make sure you cut small knife
holes in the puff pastry to allow the
steam to escape.”