Beef Wellington is a preparation of fillet steak coated with pâté (often pâté de foie gras) and duxelles, which is then wrapped in puff pastry and baked. Some recipes include wrapping the coated meat in a crêpe to retain the moisture and prevent it from making the pastry soggy.
A whole tenderloin may be wrapped and baked, and then sliced for serving, or the tenderloin may be sliced into individual portions prior to wrapping and baking. Many spices may be added to enhance the flavour; some examples are allspice and ginger.
Leah Hyslop, writing in The Telegraph, observes that by the time Wellington became famous, meat baked in pastry was a well-established part of English cuisine, and that the dish's 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". However, she cautions, there are no 19th-century recipes for the dish. There is a mention of "fillet of beef, a la Wellington" in The Los Angeles Times of 1903, but the first occurrence of the dish itself is in the Oxford English Dictionary which cites a 1939 New York food guide with "Tenderloin of Beef Wellington" which is cooked, left to cool and rolled in a pie crust.
Clarissa Dickson Wright argues that "This dish has nothing to do with that splendid hero, the Duke of Wellington; it was invented for a civic reception in Wellington, New Zealand, but it is a splendid addition to any party."
Similar dishes of different types of protein baked in pastry include sausage and salmon. Various vegetarian mushroom Wellington recipes exist also.