JOANNA'S FOOD: family cooking, from scratch, every day

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Fillet of beef

This is a wonderful recipe for a special evening - not least because you don't have to worry if things are running a little late. I'm posting it because two or three people asked me for the method on Saturday evening.

I've adapted this over the years, but the basic recipe and most of the method comes from Nigella Lawson's How to Eat. (The amounts given here are to serve eight; I doubled it for 14, and had plenty left over to add to Sunday's buffet lunch.)

You need a heavy pan that will fit two fillets without touching each other. I use a heavy roasting pan, but would like, one day, to buy a rectangular Le Creuset dish which would be the ideal.

Olive oil
Finely chopped shallots (or onions)
a good sprig of thyme
one head of garlic
one tin of anchovy fillets
two 750g fillets of beef
4 tbsp brandy (Marsala would do)
300ml good red wine

Slowly cook the onions. Just before they start to brown, add the chopped thyme and garlic, and, after a minute or two, the anchovies (and their oil). Once this is all amalgamated, push it to the ends of the tins, to make a space for the meat. Sear the fillets on all sides until they're brown. Add the brandy, bubble it up, then add the wine. Cover with a loose tent of tinfoil.

At this point, Nigella cooks the meat for 10 minutes on the hob, turns it over and cooks for a further five or ten minutes. She then rests the meat while she tidies up the sauce. She says you can get this far BEFORE THE FIRST COURSE.

On the other hand, I have an Aga, so after browning (and I do that very thoroughly) I put the meat in the "bottom oven" (85-100C) for at least half an hour. I have once or twice left it for an hour and it was still rare.

Cut into thick slices, lay in a heated serving dish, and spoon over some of the juice. Serve the rest in a jug.

Either way, it's a good-tempered dish.

1 comment:

David Hall said...

Not a patch on mine Joanna! Only kidding, sounds delicious. Really interesting site and one born of alomst tradgedy. How fantastic that you can find strength though food and writing eh? Brilliant. I now have you in my links and will regularly be checking in.

All the best