when was beef wellington invented

Many of the earliest references to ‘Beef Wellington’ come from the US, including ‘Fillet of beef, a la Wellington’ in the Los Angeles Times in 1903, and it appears in a 1939 guide to New York City restaurants ‘Where to dine in ’39’.

beef Wellington, beef fillet coated in chopped mushrooms and liver pâté and baked inside a puff pastry shell.

Considerable confusion surrounds the origin of beef Wellington. One version that seems more legend than fact attributes it to a cook for the famed duke of Wellington (Arthur Wellesley), the English general who defeated the armies of Napoleon Bonaparte at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. Wellington, it is said, liked food that could be eaten on the march, and the dish, with its crusty shell, is certainly portable. Another origin story has the dish simply named in Wellington’s honour, while yet another posits that the beef roast wrapped in pastry resembled a Wellington boot—the original leather kind, not the rubber boot beloved of gardeners today.

Ironically, considering the name, beef Wellington’s true origin would seem to lie in a French dish called filet de boeuf en croûte. To add to the mystery, the first known citation of beef “à la Wellington” dates only to 1903, and the first recipe, from a cookbook written by a chef for Chicago’s Palmer House hotel, appeared in 1940. Beef Wellington became a popular dish in the 1950s and ’60s, largely thanks to the American chef and cookbook author Julia Child’s having included a recipe for the French variation in her best-selling book Mastering the Art of French Cooking (1961) and then, on a 1965 episode of her television show The French Chef, calling it “filet of Wellington beef.” A favourite dish of U.S. Presidents John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon—a recipe is included in the White House cookbook—beef Wellington became a hallmark of fine dining. Its popularity waned in subsequent decades, although in the early 21st century it enjoyed a modest revival, often cooked in single portions in the manner of the kindred Cornish pasty.

Ingredients vary, but a classic beef Wellington is a tenderloin fillet coated in goose or duck liver pâté and duxelles—which combines chopped mushrooms, shallots, and thyme—that is wrapped in puff pastry and washed in egg and milk to aid in a deep browning of the pastry in the oven. After the dish is cooked at high heat (about 400 °F [200 °C]) for about 25 minutes, the beef emerges rare to medium rare. Some recipes add ham, mustard, and spinach, although the water content of the last can compromise the shell by making it soggy.

Naming edit

While historians generally believe that the dish is named after Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, the precise origin of the name is unclear and no definite connection between the dish and the duke has been found.[1]

Leah Hyslop, writing in The Daily Telegraph, observed that by the time Wellington became famous, meat baked in pastry was a well-established part of English cuisine, and that the dishs similarity to the French filet de bœuf en croûte (fillet of beef in pastry) might imply that “beef Wellington” was a “timely patriotic rebranding of a trendy continental dish”.[2] However, she cautioned, there are no 19th-century recipes for the dish. There is a mention of “fillet of beef, à la Wellington” in the Los Angeles Times of 1903, and an 1899 reference in a menu from the Hamburg-America line.[3]

In the Polish classic cookbook, finished in 1909 and published for the first time in 1910, by Maria Ochorowicz-Monatowa (1866-1925), Uniwersalna książka kucharska (“The Universal Cooking Book”), there is a recipe for “Polędwica wołowa à la Wellington” (beef fillet à la Wellington). The recipe does not differ from the dish later known under this name. It is a beef filet enveloped together with duxelles in puff pastry, baked, and served with a truffle or Madeira sauce. The author, who mastered her cooking skills both in Paris and Vienna at the end of the 19th century, claimed that she had received this recipe from the cook of the imperial court in Vienna. She also included “filet à la Wellington” in the menus proposed for the “exquisite dinners”.[4][5]

In Le Répertoire de la Cuisine a professional reference cookbook published by Théodore Gringoire and Louis Saulnier in 1914, there is mentioned a garnish “Wellington” to beef, described as: “Fillet browned in butter and in the oven, coated in poultry stuffing with dry duxelles added, placed in rolled-out puff pastry. Cooked in the oven. Garnished with peeled tomatoes,lettuce, Pommes château“.

An installment of a serialized story entitled “Custom Built” by Sidney Herschel Small in 1930 had two of its characters in a restaurant in Los Angeles that had “beef Wellington” on its menu.[6] The first occurrence of the dish recorded in the Oxford English Dictionary is a quotation from a 1939 New York food guide with “Tenderloin of Beef Wellington” which is cooked, left to cool, and rolled in a pie crust.[2]

beef Wellington, beef fillet coated in chopped mushrooms and liver pâté and baked inside a puff pastry shell.

Ironically, considering the name, beef Wellington’s true origin would seem to lie in a French dish called filet de boeuf en croûte. To add to the mystery, the first known citation of beef “à la Wellington” dates only to 1903, and the first recipe, from a cookbook written by a chef for Chicago’s Palmer House hotel, appeared in 1940. Beef Wellington became a popular dish in the 1950s and ’60s, largely thanks to the American chef and cookbook author Julia Child’s having included a recipe for the French variation in her best-selling book Mastering the Art of French Cooking (1961) and then, on a 1965 episode of her television show The French Chef, calling it “filet of Wellington beef.” A favourite dish of U.S. Presidents John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon—a recipe is included in the White House cookbook—beef Wellington became a hallmark of fine dining. Its popularity waned in subsequent decades, although in the early 21st century it enjoyed a modest revival, often cooked in single portions in the manner of the kindred Cornish pasty.

Considerable confusion surrounds the origin of beef Wellington. One version that seems more legend than fact attributes it to a cook for the famed duke of Wellington (Arthur Wellesley), the English general who defeated the armies of Napoleon Bonaparte at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. Wellington, it is said, liked food that could be eaten on the march, and the dish, with its crusty shell, is certainly portable. Another origin story has the dish simply named in Wellington’s honour, while yet another posits that the beef roast wrapped in pastry resembled a Wellington boot—the original leather kind, not the rubber boot beloved of gardeners today.

Ingredients vary, but a classic beef Wellington is a tenderloin fillet coated in goose or duck liver pâté and duxelles—which combines chopped mushrooms, shallots, and thyme—that is wrapped in puff pastry and washed in egg and milk to aid in a deep browning of the pastry in the oven. After the dish is cooked at high heat (about 400 °F [200 °C]) for about 25 minutes, the beef emerges rare to medium rare. Some recipes add ham, mustard, and spinach, although the water content of the last can compromise the shell by making it soggy.

Many of the earliest references to ‘Beef Wellington’ come from the US, including ‘Fillet of beef, a la Wellington’ in the Los Angeles Times in 1903, and it appears in a 1939 guide to New York City restaurants ‘Where to dine in ’39’.

FAQ

Who invented Beef Wellington?

Like many famous meals, the exact origin of Beef Wellington is unknown, though it was most likely inspired by a handful of places and cultures. The widely accepted story is that it was created to celebrate Arthur Wellesley, Irish general of the British army, becoming the first Duke of Wellington—hence the name.

Is Beef Wellington English or French?

Beef Wellington is a steak dish of English origin, made out of fillet steak coated with pâté (often pâté de foie gras) and duxelles, wrapped in puff pastry, then baked.

What makes Beef Wellington so special?

It Consistently Combines Multiple Ingredients For example, it’s quite common to wrap the pâté and duxelles coated steak with parma ham to retain the meat’s inner moisture. What’s more striking is that all these ingredients combine in every slice and bite of beef wellington.

Is Beef Wellington a traditional British dish?

England is well-known for many meat dishes wrapped in puff pastry, so it’s not surprising that it is a popular English recipe. Most people believe that it was named after Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington. Wellesley is famous for drafting Napoleon at Waterloo and serving as prime minister twice.

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