Celebrating its first birthday, the Cookery School at The Grand in York’s city centre invited me to try its most popular course; the Beef Wellington, oh and there’s a discount code below for those wanting to try out the course for themselves.
Having never been to The Grand before I was stunned by its elegance as I parked up outside and I handed the gentleman in a top hat and tails the keys to my very dirty Polo – I knew I should have cleaned it! I also didn’t know that the modern building next door to is also part of The Grand and home to its cookery school.
The Cookery School in York
Opened just a year ago the Cookery School is led by cooking guru Andrew Dixon. He has grand plans for the school including becoming an academy as he’s seen first-hand the industry decline over the years and wants to do something to revive it. Having welcomed over three thousand people through its doors the school heads into its second year with great success.
Tonight, we were there to learn its most popular course, the beef wellington. As I stop drooling, I’ll tell you a little more about how to make it… but promise me you’ll try making it yourself!
I was due to bring a friend but ended up going alone which isn’t abnormal as many events don’t allow a plus one. But it was in my favour as I saw so many lovely people that I knew from Ben at York on the Fork, Kate from Avocado Events to Laura from Girl About York and people I’d just met that night like Roger and his wife who were situated on the bench opposite me. The atmosphere was brilliant from the offset and I knew it would be a night filled with fun and giggles.
Beef Wellington Recipe
First-off we learnt the steps from the master. Sat round a demo bench we poured over Andrew’s every movement, trying to remember what order he did it in as soon it will be our turn. Returning to our bench myself, Laura, Roger and his wife looked plainly at the bench, scratching our heads before proceeding.
- Vegetable oil
- 25g wild mushrooms
- 10g unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons of chick in mousse (chicken breast, egg yolk, double cream, seasoning)
- 1 x 170g fillet steak, cut lengthways
- 1/2 shallot, finely diced
- 1/8 tablespoon of truffle oil
- 1 square of butter puff pastry, double the length and width of the beef
- Egg wash
- 25ml Ruby port
- 25ml red wine
- 1/2 shallot, sliced
- 1 sprig thyme
- 1/2 garlic clove
- 80ml chicken stock
1. Wash your hands – always wash your hands guys – we don’t want any nasties here!
2. Pour yourself a glass of obligatory wine because stirring a pan with a wooden spoon is so much more fun with a full glass in the other hand.
3. Preheat oven to 220°C.
4. Heat the frying pan over a medium heap and until hot. Drizzle the vegetable oil into the pan, add the prepared wild mushrooms and cook for two to three minutes until just starting to soften.
5. Add the butter and shallots and cook for a further minute, before taking off the heat and leaving to cool. Once called add the chicken mousse with the truffle oil season and chill until needed.
To dice the onion without becoming a blubbering wreck, cut the onion in half and take off its two outer layers. Cut the top off but leave the bottom where the roots are. Slice into the onion horizontally and then in strips vertically from the root. The root helps hold it all together and thus not allowing the onion to release its toxic crying potion. You can then dice it nicely to form perfect small squares.
Sealing the beef
6. Using the same pan as the mushrooms, drizzle more vegetable oil, season the beef fillet and place in the pan. Add the butter and seal the beef fillet for 20 seconds each side until golden all over.
7. Remove the fillet from the pan and place into a fridge to cool. Keep your frying pan to make your sauce.
8. Place the puff pastry onto a flat surface and apply egg wash. Trim the pancake to the same shape but leave a 2cm gap all way round and place on top of the pastry.
9. Spread a layer of mousse in the centre, place the sealed beef on top of the mousse, and then cover the rest of the beef with the mousse.
10.Using the closest edge, fold the pastry over 360 degrees, and create a seal where it meets, using more egg wash if required.
11. Place the wellington onto a lined baking tray, brush the outside with egg wash and place in the fridge to chill. Before cooking, repeat this further two times to create a perfect glaze.
To look uber fancy you can create a lattice look over the top of your wellington. You can either struggle with long thin pieces of pastry or just buy the most amazing invention ever to dawn this earth… a lattice cutter – I know what I’m getting my family this Christmas and it’s only March!
12. Place the tray in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes for rare or until it reaches your desired core temperature. Remove from the oven and place into a cooling rack to rest for eight 10 minutes.
Another gadget any budding chef must have is a thermometer probe. Head Chef Andrew doesn’t go by this meat weight x times it by 30 minutes blah! Instead for a Beef Wellington if you like it rare the core temperature of your beef must read around 40°C for medium rare it’s 45°C, for medium it’s 50°C and for well-done you need to aim for a core temperature of 55°C
Create the sauce
13. Place your frying pan on a medium heat. Deglaze the pan with the port and red wine.
14. Add the shallot, thyme and garlic and reduced by half until the alcohol has evaporated.
15. Once reduced, add the chicken stock and reduced by half again until it reaches a coating consistency. Keep it warm until ready to serve.
No thin slices here please, we want a good think slice of beef wellington on our plates, coat with gravy and enjoy!
It really was a fantastic evening, making memories with people some of which I didn’t even know so thank you to everyone who attended and to The Grand for inviting me.
The Cookery School at The Grand is available for leisure and corporate experiences, with classes starting from £55 per person. As well as acting as the ideal environment for unique group celebrations, The Cookery School also offers parent and child classes, a three hour course where children are given the freedom to lead the way with parental assistance.
The next Beef Wellington course is on 24th April 2020 and is £85 for a three hour class.
Guests can enjoy 10% off all bookings made throughout March for classes March-September 2020, by quoting Birthday10 at the checkout.