I made this for Christmas dinner in 2010 for the first time and it came out perfectly. I am not a mushroom fan and think that the recipe would work equally well without the mushroom duxelles as long as you ensure that you smear enough pate around the venison.
Venison is in season at this point and is a such a tasty meat. I bought two loins and that cost around £75 - expensive but worth it. My very lovely butcher sliced the second loin into medallions for me and vacuum packed them in sets of two. They are still in my freezer and will be used as individual portion venison wellingtons when the deer season has passed.
Farmed venison is okay but pales into significance against the richness and texture of wild venison.
For the mushroom duxelles:
600g large black field mushrooms
2 tablespoons butter
small bunch of tarragon
For the venison:
1 length of boned loin (your butcher may refer to this as a cannon)weighing around 1kg
150g chicken liver pate
500g puff pastry
1 beaten egg
If you want a puree then I would put the ingredients into a blender until they are smooth.
If you want a mash then use a potato masher and less creme fraiche.
Here’s what you do:
If you are using the mushroom duxelles then make this part of the recipe first.
Step 1 - Rub the venison all over with the olive oil and then season with salt and pepper. Heat a heavy based frying pan over a high heat and then put the meat in. Sear the meat on all sides and then place it on a rack to cool completely.
Step 2 - Slice the mushrooms very thinly and then finely dice them. Do the same with the shallots. Heat the butter in a warm pan and when melted add the mushrooms, shallots and seasoning. Cook over a high heat until the mushrooms have expressed all of their liquid then add the finely chopped tarragon. Turn the heat down to a simmer so that the liquid evaporates. This may take 20 minutes or so. Cool the mixture and then place in a container in the fridge to set. It is important that all of the liquid is driven of as this mixture will be in direct contact with puff pastry and you don’t want it to become soggy.
Step 3 - Preheat he oven to 200 degrees and prepare a baking tin/sheet with baking paper. Ensure that the tin will be large enough. Cut the pastry in half and roll both into rectangles making sure that they are 3cm longer and wider than the venison loin. Place one of the pastry rectangles onto the parchment and brush the edges of the pastry with egg. Spread a third of the pate onto the centre of that same piece of pastry and smear the rest of the pate onto the top and sides of the venison. Place the venison onto the pastry with the pate on. Follow the same method with the mushroom duxelles. The venison should be covered in pate and the pate should be covered in the duxelles. Drape the second rectangle of pastry over the venison and crimp the edges. You may need to trim the pastry edge to neaten it up.
Step 4 - Brush the pastry with egg wash and then place in the oven for 20 minutes, turning it 180 degrees after 10 minutes.
Step 5 - The wellington should come out of the oven when the pastry is golden and crisp.
Step 6 - Allow the wellington to rest for 10 minutes before carving it for serving.
The beauty of this dish is that the wellington ends will cook more thoroughly than the middle so you can cater for all tastes from pink to medium.