At Hélène Darroze’s eponymous restaurant in London, the chef pays homage to the local cuisine by serving a Wellington, putting her own twist on the dish by wrapping grouse, rather than beef, in flaky pastry.
“Even if you are British, or if you are from somewhere else, it is always reassuring to see something that is a classic of the local cuisine,” says Darroze. “But they like, also, that a French chef is embracing the local cuisine.”
Chefs at the restaurant begin by deboning the breast of the grouse. Lots of attention goes into making sure the bones and feathers are all removed from the meat. Once the breast pieces are cut, the chefs lightly seasoned them with salt before sandwiching a rectangle of foie gras between the two cuts.
The grouse with foie gras in the middle is then wrapped tightly in plastic wrap to keep it together before the next step, where the meat gets rolled in mushroom duxelles, a layer of finely chopped mushrooms. This becomes the first layer of the Wellington.
The next layer of the Wellington is a crepe. “The crepe in this case is needed to absorb the humidity of the inside of the Wellington,” says sous chef Andrea Granzarolo. “And this is the last layer before putting the dough, the pastry.”
Once the chefs wrap the dough around the grouse, they brush it with egg yolk and a splash of water. At this step, the chefs pay special attention to pushing the air bubbles out of the pastry. “It’s very important at this step, you’re going to remove all the air because otherwise when you cook it you might create a bubble inside and you have the risk that is going to break the dough,” says Granzarolo.
Finally, the Wellington gets decorated with a thin, braided piece of dough, sprinkled with with fleur de sel and black pepper.
Watch the full video to see how chefs at Hélène Darroze prepare tasting menus for both lunch and dinner.