Mike Tomkins' Ultimate Beef Wellington

Mike Tomkins' Ultimate Beef Wellington

MasterChef finalist 2021 Mike Tomkins shares his favourite, ultimate beef wellington recipe. Layers of bresola, spinach pancakes and mushroom duxelles mixed with duck liver pâté make this recipe extra special.

I’ve done a fair bit of research around the legendary beef wellington! It’s a dish close to my heart and one that I adapted for the MasterChef semi final. I’ve borrowed a lot of little tips from top chefs to bring you what I think is a fool proof wellington recipe that tastes absolutely amazing. 

It’s perfect for special occasions – this is the recipe I follow for my private dining events and whilst it takes a bit of prep it’s definitely worth the effort!

I’ve broken the work down into two days which makes everything a lot easier, but you could refrigerate it for a few hours rather than overnight. The key to a wellington has nothing to do with timing, it’s all about temperature!


Medium rare: 36°C (temperature will rise to 45°C whilst resting)

Medium: 48°C (temperature will rise to 52°-55°C whilst resting)

Medium well: 60°C (temperature will rise to 65°-70°C whilst resting)

  • 620 g centre cut beef fillet
  • 1 handful spinach
  • 1 handful basil
  • 125 g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 600 g ready rolled puff pastry
  • 120 g bresola
  • 100 g duck liver pâté
  • 400 g button mushrooms
  • 200 g chestnut mushrooms
  • olive oil
  • English mustard
  • salt
  • pepper
Day 1
  • Remove the fillet of beef from the fridge at least one hour before you’re ready to start cooking. Place on a J-cloth and salt the fillet all over before resting for an hour to bring the fillet to room temperature. Bring a heavy bottomed pan to a very high heat, until the pan is almost smoking. Splash some olive oil into the pan and then sear the beef on all sides (for no more than 15 seconds each side) until completely browned. Remove the fillet from the pan and place onto a J-cloth to cool. Remove the pan from the heat and set to one side.
  • Finely dice the mushrooms or blend in a food processor for a couple of seconds. If you’re planning to use the food processor, carefully use the pulse setting to ensure that you’re not left with a mushroom pâté. You want these to be finely chopped, not blended. Place the mushrooms in the pan previously used to sear the beef and add a splash of olive oil along with salt and pepper to taste. Cook the mushrooms on a medium high heat. You are aiming to draw out all the liquid from the mushrooms to make duxelles and this process can take up to 15 minutes.
  • Set aside and allow the mushrooms to cool once cooked, then add the duck liver pate and mushrooms to a bowl or food processor and bring the mixtures together. The pate adds an amazingly moreish depth of flavour to the wellington.
  • While the mushrooms are cooking, prepare the spinach pancake. This is a sure-fire way to ensure the pastry remains dry and crisp throughout the cook as well as adding some great flavour! Preheat your oven to 200°C. Add one egg, the water, flour, spinach, baking powder, basil and some salt and pepper to a food processor. Blend the mixture for a couple of minutes until completely smooth.
  • Rather than making multiple pancakes in a frying pan, I prefer to bake my mixture in the oven as one as I have found it to be more consistent. To do this, line a large baking tray with non-stick baking paper and pour the mixture over the paper until it is around 5mm thick. Bake for around 5 minutes until the top of the mixture is dry to the touch. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  • Right, now onto the “tricky” bit! But assembly doesn’t have to be tricky, and hopefully the below will help you build your wellington with confidence. First, lay cling film on a flat surface that covers an area of roughly 50cm x 35cm. Overlap the cling film where required. First, lay the pancake onto the edge of the cling film closest to you. Lay the bresola over the pancake mixture, carefully overlapping each piece until the pancake is covered, leaving roughly 1cm at the far end free. Next, carefully spread your mushroom pâté mix evenly over the bresola. This can be quite fiddly so I’d suggest using a pallet knife and take your time! Brush the fillet of beef with English mustard on all sides, then place in the centre of the pancake but at the edge closest to you. Carefully use the cling film to wrap the beef in your layered pancake, tucking the edges in to form a tight parcel just before the cling film comes together. Pinch the edges of the cling film together and roll the whole parcel away from you. Lift and repeat, this will tighten the wellington into a tight cylinder. Add the whole neat package to the fridge and rest overnight.
Day 2
  • Lay out the puff pastry onto a lightly floured surface (if you’re rolling your own, make sure it’s no more than 5mm thick) and brush lightly with egg wash. Very carefully, remove the wellington from its cling film parcel using some sharp scissors. Place the wellington in the centre of the pastry at the edge closest to you. Lift the bottom edge of the pastry up against the side of the wellington and roll until the filling is fully covered. Trim the sides of the pastry, leaving enough space to just tuck underneath the bulk of the wellington.
  • Cook until the beef reaches your desired temperature, turning halfway through to ensure it cooks evenly. To test the temperature, probe the wellington through one of the ends using your Thermapen. You’re looking to cook the beef to the below temperatures before resting on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes. Medium rare: 36°C (temperature will rise to 45°C whilst resting) Medium: 48°C (temperature will rise to 52°-55°C whilst resting) Medium well: 60°C (temperature will rise to 65°-70°C whilst resting)
  • The best bit – carving. Start by using a serrated knife to mark out your cut, make sure you’re slicing from above the wellington to ensure it’s even. Once you’ve made the serrated cut, use a sharp chef’s knife to easily slice through the ultimate wellington and enjoy!
Products to help you achieve perfection
"Thermapen is one of those kitchen tools I can't live without – it's something I use every single day from making sauces, to bbq cooking, to private dining and events, it comes with me everywhere! A Thermapen will improve you as a chef and a cook by taking the guess work out of complex cooking."
Mike Tomkins
Masterchef 2021 Runner Up
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