I have tried making Wellington for the first time in my life and I chose pork for 3 reasons:
1. I knew I'll screw up the first time (but you won't because I'll give you all the details about this recipe)
2. It's waaaay cheaper than the classical beef filet mignon
3. I'm not really a fan of beef (yeah, sorry for that - I eat it sometimes, but after this year, I changed my mind😆)
And if you do it for the first time, I would suggest doing the same. It's not very difficult to make it, but it needs a little bit of practice and some secrets that I was stubborn enough not to follow the first time. By doing a lot of research and by listening to my friend Gordon, I managed to achieve an amazing result at the second attempt.
I have served it with cranberry sauce and mashed potato and parsnip. Perfect dish for Christmas!
In a hot pan, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and add the finely diced mushrooms, together with salt, pepper and thyme. Very important: cook them until all the water from the mushroom has been evaporated, mixing constantly with a spatula. That will take approximately 15 minutes. I have tried using a blender to chop the mushrooms before cooking but they have released too much water before cooking and that gave a soggy and watery texture. By finely dicing the mushrooms, they preserve their flavour much better and you get some texture as well, not a puree. Once the duxelles is done, set it aside and cool completely.
Take you tenderloin out from the fridge and trim the edges so that you will get a cylinder (usually pork tenderloin is not perfectly cylindrical, so this is why I trimmed the edges by cutting the uneven parts). Add salt and pepper throughout its surface and let it sit for 10 minutes at room temperature, then take a towel and absorb the moisture which the salt took out of the pork. We have to do this because the meat releases a lot of water during cooking and that will make the puff pastry soggy. So ensure you extract the water at this stage. Be very careful when working with pork and make sure you don't contaminate any surfaces or utensils.
In a very hot pan, add the oil and fry the tenderloin for 2 minutes - 30 seconds on each side including the edges! This is why the pan has to be very hot so that you will sear the meat properly. Once it is seared, place it on a plate and take a pastry brush and spread the mustard all over the pork while still hot. Let it rest for a while.
If your duxelles has come down to room temperature and your meat has rested for 10 minutes after searing it, then you can start wrapping the pork.
Step 1: Take some plastic foil (make the cutting board a little wet so that the foil will stick) and then place your crepe or crepes - trim them according to the size of your tenderloin, making sure that they provide some extra space for the edges (the meat has to be completely covered by crepes including the edges, so leave some margins).
Step 2: Take the prosciutto slices and place them one my one next to each other on the crepe.
Step 3: Take you duxelles (mushroom mixture) and spread it evenly on the surface and pressing gently to ensure that they are almost glued to each other.
Step 4: Take the meat and place it in the middle of the prosciutto, crepe and duxelles surface and very carefully roll it by using the plastic foil. Roll it very tight! The tighter you roll it, the more stable it will be. This part is really crucial. Once again, make, sure that the meat and everything is covered by the crepe.
Step 5: Twist the ends of plastic foil of the roll and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. For me it worked better to keep it 1 hour in the fridge.
Afte 30 minutes/1 hour, take the roll out and remove the plastic foil. It should look stable and like a very big and plump salami. Take your puff pastry out of the fridge (very important, it has to be cold, if t is room-temp, it will stick a lot) and de-roll it on a surface. Add the roll to it and very carefully roll once, until the entire roll is covered in puff pastry. Cut the excess part and press gently on the border (where the puff pastry ends) and make sure it is completely sealed. It is basically like putting a blanket over the roll and making sure that blanket follows its shape all the way and seals it completely. Trim the edges and seal by using your fingers.
Take the plastic foil again and roll it again just like you did earlier (very tight, twisting the ends - it is very important to roll it tight so that the puff pastry will adhere to the crepe ad bake evenly) and place in the fridge for 30 minutes at least. You can make it in advance and keep it in the fridge a couple of hours before your guests arrive.
Take the wellington out, remove the plastic foil and place on a baking tray. Optionally, you can beat 1 egg and brush it over the pastry, to have a nice golden colour. Sprinkle some sea salt and bake in the preheated oven at 175 degrees Celsius for about 35 minutes (if you overbake it, the pork will be dry, if you undercook it, the puff pastry will be raw - somewhere between 35-45 minutes is okay).
Once you take it out, it is crucial to allow it to rest for at least 10 minutes before cutting, because the juices will keep on flowing inside and this will keep the pork moist too.
The cranberry sauce is very easy to make. Just add all the ingredients to a saucepan until it has a sauce consistency and the cranberries are mushy. Enjoy with the wellington!