Beef Wellington

English historians agree their two greatest naval heros are Sir Francis Drake and Lord Nelson. Drake was buried at sea but Nelson was given an elaborate funeral. When the Duke of Wellington died in 1852, he was interred beside Admiral Nelson.

Arthur Wellesley came from a titled English Protestant family in Ireland. His father was the Earl of Mornington but his older brother inherited the title. He was a lazy, indifferent student. "What can I do with my Arthur ?" his mother wailed. She pushed him into the army, accidentally putting him in the role he was born to play. Arthur entered the army as an Ensign in 1787. He rose to the rank of Field Marshal. He also went from plain Arthur Wellesley to the title of Duke of Wellington. The family choose the title. It was close to the family surname and Wellington was a village near the family estate.

The Anglo-Irish soldier and statesman managed to combine military and political careers, twice serving as Prime Minister.

He rose to prominence during the Napoleonic Wars but he had earlier fought the French in Holland and spent nine years (1796-1805) suppressing native uprisings in India.

His noble titles were rewards for spectacular military victories. When Napoleon occupied Spain and placed his brother Joseph on the throne, England dispatched Wellington to Portugal. After saving Portugal at the Battle of Douro, the Crown named him Baron Wellington of Douro. Another victory over the French at the Battle of Talavera elevated him to Viscount Wellington of Talavera. He had invaded France and besieged Toulouse when Napoleon abdicated and went into exile on the Mediterranean island of Elba. He was named lst Duke of Wellington for this campaign.

The "Iron Duke" was in Vienna when Napoleon escaped in February 1815 and reassumed command. Marshal Ney was sent to arrest him. Instead he surrendered to the former Emperor. The French military genius would remain in power for the legendary "one hundred days of glory."

The English sent their most brilliant field commander to command all Allied forces in Northern Europe. The two armies clashed at Waterloo, Belgium on June 18, 1815. Wellington's tactics were to stay on the defensive while awaiting the arrival of General Blucher and his Prussian forces. When they arrived, he attacked. Napoleon was routed. He abdicated, again, and went into exile on the 47 square mile island of St. Helena in the South Atlantic. It is 1,200 miles off the African mainland. They made certain Napoleon would never repeat his earlier escape from Elba. He died there in 1821. Two decades later his body was brought home and entombed in Paris. Napoleon's Tomb is a prime tourist attraction in the fabled "city of light." His nephew would reestablish the Napoleonic Dynasty as Napoleon III.

Wellington, the man who had beaten him, went home to the acclaim of a grateful nation. Many cities, roads and parks were named for him. A chef created a new dish in his honor, Beef Wellington.


1 cup Burgundy

1 cup dry Sherry

1 large onion, quartered

2 bay leaves

1 — pound eye of round beef roast

1 4 ounce can liverwurst spread

1 egg, beaten

1 block frozen pie crust

PREPARATION: Combine first four ingredients, pour marinade over beef. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Remove from marinade, bake on rack at 425 degrees for 75 minutes. Meat will be about medium rare. Set aside. Roll dough into an oblong, place on greased baking sheet. Place meat in center, smear with liverwurst. Seal beef by pulling pastry wings up, then brush with beaten egg. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, until pastry shell is golden brown. Slice and serve.

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