Beef en Croute

A delicious, moist and tender beef fillet wrapped in crusty puff pastry. A red wine sauce accompanies the beef. Great for Sunday lunch or dinner celebrations
Serves: 12
Prep time: 45 mins
Cooking time: 1 hr 20 mins
Total time: 2 hrs 5 mins
Skill level: Bit of effort
Costs: Mid-price


    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 1-1.5kg (2¼-3lb) beef fillet
    • 60g (2oz) butter
    • 2 shallots, peeled and chopped
    • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
    • 250g (8oz) chestnut mushrooms, finely chopped
    • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
    • 250g tub mascarpone cheese
    • 2 tbs wholegrain mustard
    • 2 x 80g packs Parma ham
    • 375g packet ready-rolled puff pastry
    • 1 medium egg, beaten

For the sauce:

    • 2 tbs olive oil
    • 350g (12oz) shallots, peeled and chopped
    • 2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
    • 3 tbs tomato purée
    • 2 tbs balsamic vinegar
    • 200ml (7fl oz) red wine
    • 300ml (½ pint) hot beef stock


    1. Season beef well. Heat 30g (1oz) butter in a large frying pan over a medium heat and, when foaming, put the fillet in pan and brown it all over for 4-5 mins, taking care not to let the butter burn. Cool meat, and cover.
    1. Meanwhile, melt rest of butter in the pan, add the chopped shallots and cook for 1 min. Add the garlic, mushrooms and thyme and fry for a few mins.
    1. Beat the mascarpone with the mustard until smooth. Mix in mushroom mixture. Season.
    1. Lay half the Parma ham slices on a large piece of cling film with slices overlapping. Spread half the mushroom mixture on one side of the beef, then turn it over on top of the Parma ham. Spread rest of mushroom mixture over top and sides of beef, then wrap the rest of the Parma ham slices round, overlapping on top of the mushroom mixture. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge.
    1. Heat the oven to Gas Mark 7 or 220°C. Unroll the pastry and cut off a third. Roll out the smaller piece to 5mm (¼in) thickness and 2.5cm (1in) bigger than the beef. Prick several times with a fork. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake for 12-15 mins or until brown and crisp. Allow to cool for a few mins, then trim to the size of the beef. Remove the cling film from the beef and place on the cooked pastry, brushing pastry edges with egg.
    1. Roll out the rest of the pastry to a rectangle 25 x 30cm (10 x 12in). Cut 10 diagonal slashes in the pastry. Cover the beef with the pastry, tucking the ends under the cooked pastry base. Brush with beaten egg. Cook on a baking sheet for 40 mins for rare to medium-rare; 45 mins for medium. Leave to stand for 10 mins before serving.
    1. For the red wine sauce: Heat the olive oil in a pan, and fry shallots until soft, about 10 mins. Add garlic and tomato purée and cook for 1 min, then add the balsamic vinegar. Bubble for 1 min, before adding red wine. Continue to boil for a few mins to reduce, then add the beef stock and boil for 10 mins more until reduced by a third. Serve with the beef. Freeze unbaked. Defrost overnight in the fridge. Cook as above.

Nutritional information per portion

fat 29.0g saturates 15.0g calories 440(kcal)


This nutritional information is only a guide and is based on 2,000 calories per day. For more information on eating a healthy diet, please visit the Food Standards Agency website.

Guideline Daily Amount for 2,000 calories per day are: 70g fat, 20g saturated fat, 90g sugar, 6g salt.