Elk Wellington with Madeira Sauce

Elk Wellington with Madeira Sauce

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Want to wow your dinner party guests with a meal fit for a king? This Elk Wellington with Madeira Sauce is the perfect choice. Start with a pan-seared elk tenderloin fillet, brushed with Dijon mustard, cloaked in mushroom Duxelles and prosciutto, and then wrapped in a homemade sourdough puff pastry that has been baked to golden perfection. Finish off by topping it with a generous spoonful of silky Madeira sauce that has simmered in a demi-glace sauce of vegetables and herbs. 

Elk Wellington in Homemade Sourdough Puff Pastry

Madeira wine is named after the Madeira islands in the Atlantic ocean off the coast of Portugal where the grapes for it are grown. Not overpoweringly sweet, it boasts a caramel flavor with a nutty, smoky undertone. Sauces made with it go well with roasted meat, especially venison, which makes it the perfect compliment to Elk Wellington.

 

Ingredients to Make Elk Wellington with Madeira Sauce

DUXELLES:

  • cremini mushrooms
  • white button mushrooms
  • Portabella mushroom caps
  • butter
  • minced shallots
  • minced garlic
  • Madeira wine
  • heavy whipping cream
  • dried thyme
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to season

MEAT:

  • elk tenderloin, trimmed
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to season
  • vegetable oil
  • thinly sliced prosciutto
  • Dijon mustard
  • large sheet frozen puff pastry – Or see my Sourdough Puff Pastry Recipe Here.
  • all-purpose flour for dusting
  • large egg + water for egg wash
  • flaky sea salt and dried parsley, for topping

MADEIRA WINE SAUCE:

Spice Sachet:

  • whole bay leaf
  • dried parsley
  • dried thyme
  • whole allspice
  • whole peppercorns

Sauce:

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • onions
  • carrots
  • celery
  • strained mushroom juice (from Duxelles)
  • low-sodium beef stock
  • Madeira wine
  • cornstarch
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

A Few Notes Before We Begin

Time-Saving Tips

As you can see from the list of ingredients, there is quite a bit of time commitment to making this recipe. However, I found that I could make several things ahead (1-2 days) which really helped in the process. To begin, you may prepare the Duxelles one or two days before, as well as the demi-glace for the sauce. You may also prepare the tenderloin up to the point of wrapping it in the puff pastry a day ahead.

Of course, another time-saver is to use frozen puff pastry, either your own (which I highly recommend) or store-bought. Doing as many steps ahead of time will make this dish come together easily with less stress for the day you serve.

As an additional aid, I’ve included break-downs in time for each recipe section. Hopefully, this will help you to plan and prepare.

 

Finding Elk Meat and Substitutions

Another item worth mentioning, is that elk may be difficult for some to find, unless you know (or are married) to a hunter. It’s also quite expensive to buy. My husband hunted elk in Colorado for many years, and we were recently gifted with half an elk that had been roaming in our area of Kansas, even in our uncle’s backyard–wild as that may seem! But if you don’t know a hunter, you may purchase domestic elk from various places around the country. Here in Kansas, you may purchase elk meat at Yoder Meats in Wichita.

Ted's Venison (Deer) Wellington

If unable to find an elk tenderloin (also referred to as the backstrap) you may substitute it with beef tenderloin or deer. Our son-in-law, Ted, has made Venison (deer) Wellington several times, and helped me with the preparation of this recipe. He was my inspiration for making this elk dinner with some homemade puff pastry. As you can see from the picture above, a deer tenderloin will be much smaller, so this recipe will accommodate two tenderloin. Okay, let’s begin!

 

Instructions for Making This Recipe

Gather ingredients for each step as you go, so that you have everything close at hand on the counter or table.

 

Step 1: Make the Duxelles:

Pronounced duhk·uhlz.

Squeezing Juice from the Mushroom Duxelles

Trim and chop the mushrooms into pieces. Process in a food processor until finely chopped, about 10-12 pulses. Place the minced mushrooms in a cheesecloth and twist to extract as much juice from them as possible. Reserve the mushroom juice for later to make the sauce.

This made 1 cup of mushroom juice for me.

Using a Chef’s knife and cutting board, finely mince the shallots. Mince the garlic.

Heat butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the minced shallots, minced garlic, and dried thyme. Saute until tender, 1-2 minutes.

Stir in the processed (and squeeze-dried) mushrooms. Cook, stirring often, until the mixture becomes dry, 8-10 minutes. At this point, the mushroom pieces should begin to separate and crumble.

Making the Duxelles

Add the Madeira wine and heavy cream. Stir to combine. Boil the mixture until the liquid has evaporated to make a pate.

Season as needed with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Remove from heat and cool completely. Place in a covered bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.

[Prep time: 25 minutes; Cook time: 18 minutes]

 

Step #2 – Making the Madeira Sauce

Prepare the spice sachet. Place bay leaf, dried parsley, dried thyme, allspice berries, and peppercorns on a square of cheesecloth. Tie with cooking twine to create a sachet.

Using a Chef’s knife and cutting board, slice the onion, carrots, and celery.

Heat extra-virgin olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the chopped onions, carrots, and celery. Saute for 7-10 minutes until the vegetables are tender.

Add in 2 cups of beef stock, along with the reserved mushroom juice  and the spice sachet. Bring to a boil, then simmer for an hour until reduced by about a third.

If necessary, add water to the mushroom juice to make 1 cup.

Remove from heat and take out the sachet (save for later). Carefully strain the sauce through a fine mesh strainer lined with a piece of cheesecloth and into a large bowl. Use the back of a wooden spoon to gently push the sauce from the cooked vegetables.

Pour the strained sauce back into the pan. Stir in the remaining 2 cups of beef stock along with the spice sachet. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 50 minutes until the sauce has reduced by half. Discard the spice sachet.

Remove all but 2 cups of sauce from the pan. Allow the sauce to continue simmering. Store excess sauce in a covered jar in the refrigerator for later use.

If desired, you may make the sauce ahead of time up to this point and refrigerate in a covered jar. When ready to finish the sauce, measure out 2 cups of the demi-glace and reheat in a small saucepan.

*SAVE THIS STEP FOR THE VERY LAST – In a small bowl, whisk together the Madeira wine with cornstarch to make a thickening agent. Pour into the pan of simmering sauce and whisk until thickened. Serve with Elk Wellington.

[Prep time: 25 minutes; Cook time: 2 hrs. 12 minutes]

 

Step #3 – Preparing the Meat:

Trim the elk tenderloin, making sure there is no silver skin present. Tie the meat together with baker’s twine in 2″ intervals to ensure it’s shape. Pat the meat dry with a paper towel, and then season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Elk Tenderloin Tied and Ready to Sear

Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tenderloin and sear all over, including the ends, until browned, about 60-90 seconds on each side. Transfer the tenderloin to a platter and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

[Prep time: 10 minutes; Cook time: 10 minutes; Refrigerate 30 minutes]

 

Step #4 – Assembling the Elk Wellington

Lay out 2-3 sheets of plastic wrap so that they overlap a bit and are approximately 24″ long.

Place the prosciutto on the plastic wrap, overlapping pieces to form a rectangle that’s big enough to enclose the entire tenderloin.

Using a rubber spatula (or your hands), spread the chilled Duxelles pate evenly over the prosciutto, pressing gently.

Elk Tenderloin Ready to be Wrapped in Duxelles and Prosciutto

Remove the tenderloin from the refrigerator and cut off the twine. Spread the Dijon mustard all over the meat with a brush or your hands.

As you can see from the picture above, I forgot to cut the twine. Do as I say, not as I Do!

Place the venison on top of the mushroom mixture lengthwise. Using the plastic wrap as an aid, tightly roll the prosciutto-mushroom mixture around the tenderloin, tucking in the prosciutto to completely encompass the meat.

Elk Tenderloin Wrapped and Ready for Refrigeration

Twist and tie off the ends of the plastic wrap to seal and help hold its shape. Refrigerate for another 30 minutes or until ready to wrap in the pastry. You may refrigerate this for 1-2 days

[Prep time: 10 minutes; Refrigerate 30 minutes.]

 

Step #5 – Wrapping Tenderloin in Puff Pastry

On a lightly floured surface, roll the puff pastry to 1/4″ thickness to approximately 14″ x 15″ rectangle. Brush the pastry along the edges with egg wash (1 large egg + 1 tablespoon water, beaten together.)

Remove the plastic wrap from the tenderloin and place the venison along one side of the pastry. Carefully roll the pastry around the beef, overlapping the edges at the seam.

Trim off any extra pastry for use as decoration later, if desired. Pinch the seams to seal. Fold up the ends and pinch to seal.

Place the venison seam side down on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper.

If using extra pastry as decoration, cut out the decoration as desired. Arrange on the top of the Wellington and brush with egg wash.

Refrigerate the pastry (and remaining egg wash) until it is cold and firm, about 60 minutes.

[Prep time: 10 minutes; Refrigerate: 60 minutes]

 

Step #6 – Baking the Elk Wellington

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the baking sheet in the oven while it is preheating so that it is good and hot.

Remove the tenderloin from the refrigerator and place on the hot baking sheet. Brush all over with the remaining egg wash. Score the pastry as desired, being careful not to cut through the dough. Using kitchen shears, make 2-3 slits along the top of the pastry for the steam to escape while cooking.

Sprinkle with sea salt and dried parsley.

Elk Wellington Baked to Medium

Bake in preheated oven on a lower rack until the pastry has started to brown, approximately 20-25 minutes. Lower temperature to 375 degrees and continue to bake another 20-25 minutes until pastry is crisp and a dark golden brown.

Insert an instant-read thermometer to check the temperature at the center of the meat. 125-130 degrees for medium rare; 135-140 degrees for medium. (REMEMBER, the temperature will continue to rise about 10 degrees after it has been removed from the oven.)

Place the Elk Wellington on a carving board. Let rest for 17-20 minutes before slicing with a serrated knife.

[Prep 12 minutes; Bake 50 minutes; Rest 20 minutes]

Elk Wellington with Madeira Sauce

Serve thick slices with Madeira Sauce. Accompany Elk Wellington with Garlic Mashed Potatoes and a green vegetable such as Green Beans Almondine or steamed asparagus.

*Wine Suggestions: Serve Elk Wellington with Madeira Sauce with a favorite Cabernet Sauvignon such as Stag’s Leap Winery Napa Valley or Double Canyon Horse Heaven Hills

See more Wild Game Recipes Here. 

When researching recipes for Beef/Elk Wellington, there is much available online. A few of my sources included Gordon Ramsey, Mary Berry, Binging With Babish, and Julia Child from Volume II, Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

Recipe for Elk Wellington with Madeira Sauce

Elk Wellington with Madeira Sauce

Want to wow your dinner party guests with a meal fit for a king? This Elk Wellington with Madeira Sauce is the perfect choice. 
5 from 9 votes
Print Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, English
Keyword: Duxelles, Elk Tenderloin, Wild Game
Prep Time: 1 hour 32 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Refrigerate/Rest:: 2 hours 15 minutes
Total Time: 7 hours 17 minutes
Servings: 8

Equipment

Cuisinart Food Processor
Cheesecloth
Cooking Twine
Stainless Skillet

Ingredients

Duxelles:

  • 8 oz cremini mushrooms
  • 8 oz white button mushrooms
  • 6 oz Portabella mushroom caps
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/3 cup Madeira wine
  • 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to season

Meat:

  • 3.5 pounds elk tenderloin trimmed
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to season the meat
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil divided
  • 6 oz. thinly sliced prosciutto
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 large sheet frozen puff pastry See my Sourdough Recipe Here
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour for dusting
  • 1 large egg + water for egg wash
  • flaky sea salt for topping
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley for topping

Madeira Wine Sauce:

    Spice Sachet:

    • 1 whole bay leaf
    • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
    • 2 sprigs thyme
    • 6 whole allspice berries
    • 6 whole peppercorns

    Sauce:

    • 1/4 cup Extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1/2 cup sliced onions
    • 1/2 cup sliced carrots
    • 1/2 cup sliced celery
    • 1 cup strained mushroom juice from Duxelles
    • 4 cups low-sodium beef stock divided
    • 1/4 cup Madeira wine
    • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
    • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

    Instructions

    • To begin, gather ingredients for each step as you go, so that you have everything close at hand on the counter or table.

    Step 1: Make the Duxelles:

    • Pronounced duhk·uhlz. Trim and chop the mushrooms into pieces. Process in a food processor until finely chopped, about 10-12 pulses. Place the minced mushrooms in a cheesecloth and twist to extract as much juice from them as possible. Reserve the mushroom juice for later to make the sauce. (This made 1 cup of mushroom juice.)
      Using a Chef's knife and cutting board, finely mince the shallots. Mince the garlic.
    • Heat butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the minced shallots, minced garlic, and dried thyme. Saute until tender, 1-2 minutes.
    • Stir in the processed (and squeeze-dried) mushrooms. Cook, stirring often, until the mixture becomes dry, 8-10 minutes. At this point, the mushroom pieces should begin to separate and crumble.
    • Add the Madeira wine and heavy cream. Stir to combine. Boil the mixture until the liquid has evaporated to make a pate.
    • Season as needed with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Remove from heat and cool completely. Place in a covered bowl and refrigerate until ready to use. [Prep time: 25 minutes; Cook time: 18 minutes]

    Step #2 - Making the Madeira Sauce

    • Prepare the spice sachet. Place bay leaf, dried parsley, thyme sprigs, whole allspice berries, and peppercorns on a square of cheesecloth. Tie with cooking twine to create a sachet.
      Using a Chef's knife and cutting board, slice the onion, carrots, and celery.
    • Heat extra-virgin olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the chopped onions, carrots, and celery. Saute for 7-10 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
    • Add in 2 cups of beef stock, along with the reserved mushroom juice (if needed, add water to make 1 cup), and the spice sachet. Bring to a boil, then simmer for an hour until reduced by about a third.
    • Remove from heat and take out the sachet (save for later). Carefully strain the sauce through a fine mesh strainer lined with a piece of cheesecloth and into a large bowl. Use the back of a wooden spoon to gently push the sauce from the cooked vegetables.
    • Pour the strained sauce back into the pan. Stir in the remaining 2 cups of beef stock along with the spice sachet. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 50 minutes until the sauce has reduced by half. Discard the spice sachet.
    • Remove all but 2 cups of sauce from the pan. Allow the sauce to continue simmering. Store excess sauce in a covered jar in the refrigerator for later use.
      (If desired, you may make the sauce ahead of time up to this point and refrigerate in a covered jar. When ready to finish the sauce, measure out 2 cups and reheat in a small saucepan. )
    • In a small bowl, whisk together the Madeira wine with cornstarch to make a thickening agent. Pour into the pan of simmering sauce and whisk until thickened. [Prep time: 25 minutes; Cook time: 2 hrs. 12 minutes]

    Step #3 - Preparing the Meat:

    • Trim the elk tenderloin, making sure there is no silver skin present. Tie the meat together with baker's twine in 2" intervals to ensure it's shape. Pat the meat dry with a paper towel, and then season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
    • Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tenderloin and sear all over, including the ends, until browned, about 60-90 seconds on each side. Transfer the tenderloin to a platter and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. [Prep time: 10 minutes; Cook time: 10 minutes; Refrigerate 30 minutes]

    Step #4 - Assembling the Elk Wellington

    • Lay out 2-3 sheets of plastic wrap so that they overlap a bit and are approximately 24" long.
      Place the prosciutto on the plastic wrap, overlapping pieces to form a rectangle that's big enough to enclose the entire tenderloin.
    • Using a rubber spatula (or your hands), spread the chilled Duxelles pate evenly over the prosciutto, pressing gently.
    • Remove the tenderloin from the refrigerator and cut off the twine. Spread the Dijon mustard all over the meat with a brush or your hands.
    • Place the venison on top of the mushroom mixture lengthwise. Using the plastic wrap as an aid, tightly roll the prosciutto-mushroom mixture around the tenderloin, tucking in the prosciutto to completely encompass the meat. Twist and tie off the ends of the plastic wrap to seal and help hold its shape. Refrigerate for another 30 minutes. [Prep Time: 10 minutes; Refrigerate 30 minutes.]

    Step #5 - Encasing Tenderloin in Puff Pastry

    • On a lightly floured surface, roll the puff pastry to 1/4" thickness to approximately 14" x 15" rectangle. Brush the pastry along the edges with egg wash (1 large egg + 1 tablespoon water, beaten together.)
    • Remove the plastic wrap from the tenderloin and place the venison along one side of the pastry. Carefully roll the pastry around the beef, overlapping the edges at the seam.
      Trim off any extra pastry for use as decoration later, if desired. Pinch the seams to seal. Fold up the ends and pinch to seal.
    • Place the venison seam side down on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper.
      If using extra pastry as decoration, cut out the decoration as desired. Arrange on the top of the Wellington and brush with egg wash.
      Refrigerate the pastry (and remaining egg wash) until it is cold and firm, about 60 minutes. [Prep time: 10 minutes; Refrigerate: 60 minutes]

    Step #6 - Baking the Elk Wellington

    • Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the baking sheet in the oven while it is preheating so that it is good and hot.
    • Remove the tenderloin from the refrigerator and place on the hot baking sheet. Brush all over with the remaining egg wash. Score the pastry as desired, being careful not to cut through the dough. Using kitchen shears, make 2-3 slits along the top of the pastry for the steam to escape while cooking.
      Sprinkle with sea salt and dried parsley.
    • Bake in preheated oven on a lower rack until the pastry has started to brown, approximately 20-25 minutes. Lower temperature to 375 degrees and continue to bake another 20-25 minutes until pastry is crisp and a dark golden brown.
      Insert an instant-read thermometer to check the temperature at the center of the meat. 130 degrees for medium rare; 140 degrees for medium. (The temperature will continue to rise about 10 degrees after it has been removed from the oven.)
    • Place the Elk Wellington on a carving board. Let rest for 15-20 minutes before slicing. [Prep 12 minutes; Bake 50 minutes; Rest 20 minutes]
    • Serve thick slices with Madeira Sauce. Accompany Elk Wellington with Garlic Mashed Potatoes and a green vegetable such as Green Beans Almondine or steamed asparagus.

    Notes

    *Unless otherwise indicated, all butter used on this recipe site is salted. 
    **Wine Suggestion: Serve Elk Wellington with Madeira Sauce with a favorite Cabernet Sauvignon such as Stag's Leap Winery Napa Valley or Double Canyon Horse Heaven Hills.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 703kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 56g | Fat: 40g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 18g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 140mg | Sodium: 1377mg | Potassium: 1324mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1663IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 63mg | Iron: 8mg
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    13 thoughts on “Elk Wellington with Madeira Sauce”

    • 5 stars
      I have never had elk and not sure where to find it locally but I sure do love wellington recipes. I will share this with a friend that does hunt and lives where he can probably get elk.

      • Ah good! I hope your friend will be interested in trying the recipe. We really loved it. And you can substitute the elk for deer or beef, if interested yourself!

    • 5 stars
      Wonderful to know about this recipe, seems like one needs expertise and skill to make this dish. The bread stuffed with meat is usually loved by most of us. Great share!

      • There are a lot of videos out there that help with the construction of this recipe. Just pick one that you like, if needed.

    • 5 stars
      Wellington is such an elegant dish and this recipe is no exception. Though I’m most likely going to be making this dish with beef, the wonderful duxelles will add so much flavor I can hardly wait. I can see why this would be a family effort!

      • It would be wonderful with beef, Beth. And yes, I loved the duxelles. It was so delicious!

      • Yes, venison would be good with it. I thought the sourdough puff pastry went really well with the game meat. Thanks for stopping by.

    • 5 stars
      It has been years since I made a wellington and loved reading all your detailed steps to get it right. I think this will be made for our Easter dinner, but with beef. Thanks for the recipe

      • Hi Jere! I think beef wellington would be a wonderful Easter recipe. I hope it goes well for you. The sourdough puff pastry worked really well and complimented the dish very well. Thanks for stopping by.

      • We have elk here in the US as well as deer and other wild game. This dish can easily be adapted to use beef.

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