I have found the perfect way to cook beef fillet! I have always been very hesitant to cook it because it is an expensive cut of meat and easily ruined. I have usually followed a Nigella Lawson recipe, where I cook it on a high heat and then wrap it up and leave in a warm place to rest for a few hours. But I came across a new way of cooking it and was very interested in trying it. And as it was my birthday on Monday I thought I would give it a go! And OMG.... I think I have just made my best fillet ever! It is so soft you don't even need a knife to cut it, you can almost eat it with a spoon! Just writing this makes me want to make it again, and again and again....! We are even thinking that this could potentially be our Christmas dinner.
You can, of course, flavour the meat any way you want but I just wanted to keep it simple and do a flavoursome sauce to go with it. The timing is for a 1 kg. beef fillet and can easily be adjusted according to the size of the meat. The best thing to do is to use a meat thermometer to be absolutely sure. I like my meat medium/rare and this is the perfect way to get the meat absolutely amazing!
1 kg. beef fillet
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons butter
Start by seasoning the meat generously with black pepper and lay the rosemary sprigs on it. Wrap it very tightly in cling film, I probably did 6-7 layers. Preheat the oven to 60° and put the meat in for 2 hours. Take the meat out and check the core temperature of the meat, for medium/rare you are looking at 57°. Let the meat rest for 10 minutes.
Melt the butter in a pan and make sure you heat it quite well because you really want to sear the meat as soon as it hits the pan. Season with salt and pepper and brown nicely on all sides and baste with the butter while the meat is browning. The butter will brown, don't worry, it's supposed to.
Remove the meat from the pan and let it rest for 10 minutes before carving into it.
Green peppercorn sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 heaped tablespoon green peppercorns (I use the ones in brine)
30 ml brandy
500 ml beef stock
200 ml double cream
salt and black pepper
Heat butter and oil in a saucepan. Chop the shallot as finely as you possibly can and cook in the pan on medium heat for 3-5 minutes until nicely softened. Add the peppercorns and cook for a further minute or two. Add the brandy and allow it to cook down completely before adding the beef stock. Let this simmer for 5 minutes on a medium/low heat and best if it can reduce a little bit. Add the cream and a good grinding of black pepper. Let this cook for 3-5 minutes on a low heat and allow the cream to thicken the sauce. Season to taste with salt and more black pepper if needed. If you think the sauce isn't thick enough you can use what ever method you like, f.x. cornflour or plain flour mixed with a little bit of cold water. Serve with the meat.
With the meat I didn't want to make something that would take anything away from the meat so I decided to make simple potato wedges and some French beans.
For the potatoes I cut them into wedges, arranged on a baking tray, drizzled with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and cooked on 180° for 30-40 minutes until nicely golden.
I steamed the beans for 5 minutes and made a very simple dressing I make all the time with all sort of vegetables. I take a tablespoon of green pesto (I always use fresh pesto), 2 tablespoons of good quality olive oil, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and a pinch of salt and black pepper. When the beans are cooked, remove them from the steamer and throw them straight into the dressing and give them a good mix.
I have to say, I have been to many restaurants for my birthday but this is by far the best birthday meal I have ever had!