Beef fillet is always a good choice for special occasions. In fact, it’s the perfect cut for a dinner party or buffet table as it looked beautiful and you can cut it into neat, even slices. The most important thing to remember is not to overcook it, and to let it rest for a decent length of time. Serve it with hot English mustard and roasted root vegetables.
Preheat the oven to 180C. Tuck the thin tail-end of the fillet underneath so that the beef is an even thickness all along its length. Tie securely with butcher’s string at 5cm intervals. Smear a thin coating of oil all over the beef, season with salt and pepper, and rub on the thyme.
Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a heavy-based frying pan. When it is very hot, brown the beef fillet all over. Transfer to a wire rack inside a roasting tray and roast for 12-15minutes, or until the internal core temperature reachers 38C on a meat thermometer, indicating the beef is cooked rare. (If you prefer your beef cooked longer, 45C indicated medium-rare, 55C medium and 65C medium-well done.) Keep in mind that the temperature will continue rising by about 5C once you take the meat from the oven.
When the beef is cooked to your liking, cover with foil and leave to rest for at least 10 minutes in a warm place.
To serve, snip away the string and carve the beef into thick slices. Serve with hot English mustard and roasted vegetables.
Extracted from The Good Life by Adrian Richardson, published by Pan Macmillan/Plum RRP $59.99, available 1 August, 2011.
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