The ideal main course for a special occasion — it looks as though you've been toiling all day when in fact you've been having your hair and nails done! Serve it with the Madeira Sauce.
Note: To freeze, open-freeze the beef on the lined baking sheet. When frozen, carefully transfer into a bag and freeze until required. To defrost, let stand for about 24 hours in the refrigerator before cooking.
- One 2-pound piece beef tenderloin, taken from the center, with an even thickness of about 4 inches
- Black pepper, to taste
- Splash of olive oil
- 9 Ounces cremini mushrooms, chopped very finely
- 1 large clove garlic, chopped finely
- 1 Tablespoon Madeira
- Salt, to taste
- All-purpose flour, for dusting
- One 18-ounce package refrigerated all-butter puff pastry in a block
- 6 slices Parma ham
- 1/2 Teaspoon teaspoon English mustard powder
- 1 egg, beaten, for brushing
- Madeira sauce, for serving
Season the beef all over with black pepper, to taste. In a very hot heavy-bottomed skillet, heat the oil until smoking. Add the beef and quickly brown it all over, about 5-10 seconds on each side, not forgetting the ends. Remove to a board and let cool completely.
Add the mushrooms to the pan and sauté over medium heat for about 5 minutes, letting them brown, but stirring occasionally. Add the garlic, stir for 1 minute, then add the Madeira and some salt and pepper and cook until all the liquid has evaporated. Remove to a bowl and let cool.
Dust the counter with flour. Take the pastry out of the refrigerator and roll out until about 1/8-inch thick. Cut to fit your piece of beef (I haven’t given exact measurements as fillets can vary so enormously in size, but the pastry will need to be large enough to wrap up your beef, with a generous overlap).
Lay 4 Parma ham slices side by side on the pastry so they are touching, then spoon most of the mushroom mix over the ham and pat down. Season the beef with the mustard powder and rub all over, then place the fillet on top of the mushrooms in the center of the pastry.
Spoon the remaining mushroom mix on top, pat down, and lay the remaining slices of Parma ham lengthwise along the beef. Carefully and tightly bring the lower pieces of Parma ham up and over the beef to wrap it. Then, trim the pastry, brush all the pastry edges with beaten egg, and fold up to enclose the beef in the most dainty but efficient way you can.
Line a baking sheet with waxed paper and place the beef on the baking sheet, with the pastry folds on the underside, and brush all over with beaten egg. When ready to cook the beef, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place on a baking sheet. (If removing directly from the refrigerator, leave for 20 minutes at room temperature.) Bake in the oven until the pastry is golden brown, for 30-35 minutes. Let rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing thickly and serving with the Madeira Sauce.