Beef Wellington

This recipe is adapted from an earlier version. It is friendlier to the modern kitchen and adds a puff pastry option.

Beef Wellington

Origin: Halifax Citadel National Historic Site
Region: Atlantic (Nova Scotia)
Period: 20th Century - present
Course: Main Course

Portrait of Duke of Wellington, Halifax Citadel National Historic Site Painting of the Duke of Wellington by Robert Home
Public Domain

The Duke of Wellington, pictured above, played an important role in British North America in the wake of the War of 1812. When new fortifications were recommended for the defence of Canada after that war, the Duke of Wellington was the one who approved the plans for the building of the fourth Halifax Citadel - and also the Rideau Canal, Fort Henry and La Citadelle in Quebec. Whether Beef Wellington was the Duke’s favourite entree, or whether it somehow resembled the Wellington boots that bear his name, his influence over the dish’s name is indisputable.

Beef Wellington has become a regular feature in the re-enactments of officer’s mess dinners at the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site. It is served to visitors along with stories of the historic relevance of the meal and the food.

Beef Wellington


  • Pastry
    • 4 cups | 400 g all-purpose flour
    • 1 tsp | 5 g salt
    • ½ cup | 115 g butter
    • ½ cup | 115 g shortening
    • 1 egg, lightly beaten
    • ½ cup | 125 ml ice water, approximately

  • Filling
    • 1 filet of beef (2½-3 lbs | 1-1.5 kg)
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 egg, lightly beaten


  • Place the flour, salt, butter and shortening in a bowl and blend with a pastry blender or two knives. Add the egg and enough ice water to make a dough. Wrap in wax paper and chill.
  • Option: You can use defrosted puff pastry instead of this homemade pastry.
  • Preheat oven to 450°F (230°C). Season the filet with salt and pepper. Place the meat on a rack in a roasting pan and roast for 15 minutes for rare or 20-25 minutes for medium. Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature.
  • Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Roll out the pastry into a rectangle, about 18 x 12 inches and ¼-inch thick. Place the filet in the middle. Overlap the long sides of the dough over the meat and brush with egg to seal. Fold in the short ends of the pastry and brush again with egg to seal. Transfer the pastry-wrapped meat to a baking sheet, seam side down. Brush all over with egg. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.
  • Serve the dish hot or cold.


Recipe tested by Chef David Fairbanks, Algonquin College School of Hospitality and Tourism