Poached Beef Fillet with Vegetables


This version of boeuf à la ficelle is garnished with little new vegetables, but you could easily use big vegetables cut up, and could include cabbage, mushrooms, leeks and other roots, as well as marrow bones, duck sausage, garlic sausage, and tongue. Other herbs, like rosemary, can be substituted, and why not dot the plate with tomatoes dressed in olive oil and fresh herbs? Whole-grain mustard is a very good accompaniment. Barbara Kafka in New York does a superb version of this recipe using lamb loin.


  • 4 eight-ounce tournedos (pieces cut from the beef fillet)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 sprigs fresh tarragon
  • 1 cup tomato concasse
  • ½ pound fresh horseradish, peeled, rinsed
  • ½ cup sour cream or crème fraîche
  • 2 quarts rich beef, veal, or chicken stock
  • 10 medium carrots, peeled, halved
  • 20 very small turnips, peeled but tops left on
  • 20 pearl onions, peeled
  • 4 parsnips, peeled, quartered
  • 16 small new yellow potatoes
  • 20 small yellow summer squash


Rub the tournedos with the olive oil. Season them and press 1 sprig thyme and tarragon into each of them. Marinate for 1 hour at room temperature.

Put the tomato in a saucepan and cook over medium heat until the juices have evaporated to leave a thick puree, about 20 minutes. Stir every few minutes to prevent sticking and burning. Put through a sieve and let cool.

Grate the horseradish in a food processor or by hand. Mix the horseradish and sour cream and stir it into the tomato puree. Add salt to taste and reserve.

Remove the herb sprigs from the beef and set aside.

Bring the stock to a boil. Add the carrots, turnips, onions, parsnips, and potatoes; simmer for 5 minutes. Add the squash, herb sprigs, and tournedos; cook for 8 minutes for medium-rare beef.

Take the beef out and put it on warm plates. Surround the beef with the herbs and vegetables. Pour some of the horseradish sauce over the beef and serve the rest separately.