PEPPERED FILLET OF BEEF WITH COGNAC AND ROAST POTATOES WITH GARLIC AND ROSEMARY
by Henry Harris
Ditch the traditional turkey and try this luxurious fillet of beef recipe from the master of Gallic cuisine, Henry Harris.
FILLET OF BEEF
- 1 centre cut fillet of beef (1-1.5kg)
- 5tsp cracked peppercorns (pound whole peppercorns in a pestle and mortar to break them into smaller pieces)
- 2tbsp clarified butter or vegetable oil
- 50-75g butter
- 50ml Cognac
- 1. Preheat the oven to 170°C. Take the fillet, place it on a platter and press the pepper onto the outside of the fillet – press well into the meat with the heel of your hand to ensure it is well attached, then season with salt.
- 2. Heat the clarified butter in an ovenproof large frying pan, add the steak and cook while rotating it in the pan until it is crusted and brown.
- 3. Tip out the clarified butter from the pan and slip in half of the regular butter. Turn down the heat to a medium temperature and let the butter foam and cook to a gentle hazelnut colour. Baste the meat with the butter regularly. If the butter appears in danger of turning too dark then just lower the heat. Continue this process for three to four minutes then transfer to the oven and cook for a further 10 minutes.
- 4. Remove it from the oven and add the Cognac. It will splutter a little and after 30 seconds the alcohol will have evaporated. Remove the fillet from the pan and place on a dish to rest in the oven for 10 minutes. Turn off the oven.
- 5. To serve, slice the beef thickly and place on plates and spoon over the buttery juices.
- 1.5kg large potatoes (King Edward or Désirée both work well)
- Maldon sea salt
- 180g duck fat
- 2 heads of garlic
- 1 small packet of fresh rosemary
- 1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- 2. Cut the potatoes in half lengthways and cut off nice long wedges. Rinse well then place in a large saucepan, cover generously with water and season with the sea salt.
- 3. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for a brief time. A precise time cannot be given; what you are looking for is the outside surface of the potato to start to soften and disintegrate, and the texture of the middle when pierced with a knife to feel just the uncooked side of ready. Drain into a colander and leave for five minutes.
- 4. Take a large roasting pan (cast iron for preference) and add the duck fat. Place it on the stove and warm the fat. Carefully add the potatoes, broken bits and all. Season with sea salt and black pepper.
- 5. Take the garlic bulbs and break off the cloves and add them unpeeled to the pan along with the rosemary. Using a large spoon, turn the potatoes through the fat so they are all well covered.
- 6. Transfer to the oven. Every 20 minutes, turn the potatoes with a large spoon. After approximately an hour, maybe even 30 minutes more, your potatoes will have achieved a golden crunchy state. Remove from the oven and transfer to a dish and keep hot.