Beef Fillet with all the sides you really want to eat
This is the last of my Christmas Dinner posts. For the main course, I wanted to make something different (read non-indian) and thought this would go well with the risotto as it’s filling and not too heavy on the carbs.
I bought 600g of Beef Fillet (Tenderloin) as there were 5 of us. That would work out to 100g per person with one piece for everyone to fight over. (I could have cut them into 5 bigger pieces). If I didn’t have all the sides I would have bought 120g-150g per person knowing my family and their appetites. If you want bigger steaks go for 200g each.
I cut the tenderloin into 6 equal pieces, and then butterflied each one to make them look bigger (ha). This also meant that they would cook really quickly. I seasoned each piece with salt only (pepper smokes) and rubbed a bit of olive oil over before sealing them in a smoking hot pan on each side (put oil onto the meat and not into the pan). Then into the oven for 10 minutes and they are done. Season with pepper afterwords if you like.
Let the meat rest so the juices stay in the meat and it does not bleed. This requires a bit of timing – work backwords from the time you would like to serve your main course.
Since my meat was considerably plain, I put all the flavour into the sides. To make the mushroom sauce I used:
- 1x Punnet mushrooms, sliced
- 250ml Cream
- 3x Garlic cloves
- Fresh sprigs of thyme
- Salt and pepper
- Butter/olive oil
Put a little bit of butter or olive oil into a pan, add the garlic, thyme and sliced mushrooms and cook until the water has dried up. Add the cream and reduce until consistency you prefer (thick/runny). I would say I reduced mine just less than a half. Add salt and pepper.
Green Beans with Cranberries and Toasted Almonds:
- 400g Green Beans, blanched
- Handful of Cranberries, chopped,
- Handful of Almonds, toasted and chopped roughly
- Squeeze of lemon
Blanch the green beans in hot water, then immerse in cold iced water to stop it cooking. (I chose this method as I could cook them partially beforehand and put it together before serving.)
Put a little bit of butter or olive oil in a hot pan and sauté the beans. (Grilling them would also work wonderfully). Add seasoning, a squeeze of lemon and the chopped cranberries and almonds.
- 500ml milk
- 2Tb Flour
- 2Tb Butter
- 400g Baby Spinach or Swiss Chard, steamed and chopped finely.
- Salt and Pepper to taste
In a pan, make a roux with the butter and flour. Once combined and you can see the flour has started to go slightly translucent, add the milk a bit by bit and whisk until combined. Only add more milk once the mixture has thickened again. If you don’t let the flour cook fully, you will get a raw flour taste in your béchamel (white sauce). Once all the milk has been added and it is quite thick, add the spinach and season well with salt and pepper.
I’ll be honest; I used a packet of ready cut and washed butternut to make my life easier. All I did was cut up the pieces to make them smaller, steam in the micro and mash. I added a little bit of butter and some cinnamon which gives a subtle sweet flavour. When you make this, try to add a little bit of water so the butternut mash is not runny.
When you portion your steaks, cut the meat against the grain i.e. in the same direction they travel. They travel across, so cut straight down. If you choose to butterfly the steaks, follow the same method and cut straight down the piece you have already cut. Flatten with your hand.
Beef Fillet is an expensive cut of meat, by butterflying them I made them look bigger and by serving them with all the sides, it didn’t feel like I skimped on anything. 600g cost +/- R140. Divide that by 5 and it’s cheaper than a Restaurant at R28 per portion.