Sweet Spiced Beef with Green Beans


Served with a clever green bean salad, this sweet spiced beef was inspired by the idea of fusing Japanese and Chinese flavours with traditional British cuisine. Marinating the beef in a flavoured sugar and salt mixture gives a succulent and firm texture. One should never quibble with Sybil.


  • 170g/6oz light muscovado sugar
  • 155g/oz coarse sea salt
  • teaspoons ground star anise
  • tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • Zest of 2 lemons, finely grated
  • 1–2 fresh red chillies, finely sliced
  • 115ml/4oz Kikkoman soy sauce
  • 115ml/4oz toasted sesame oil
  • 450 g/1 lb trimmed fillet of beef
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower oil

For the salad

  • 350g/12oz fine green beans, trimmed
  • 3 heads of red chicory, or 2 handfuls of shredded red cabbage
  • 1 red onion, finely sliced into rings
  • A generous ½ teaspoon runny honey
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 generous tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons walnut oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Mix the sugar, salt, star anise, ginger, garlic, lemon zest, chillies, soy sauce and sesame oil in a dish large enough to hold the beef. Add the beef and turn to coat thoroughly in the sweet marinade. Cover and place in the fridge for at least 36 hours, turning the meat every 12 hours and rubbing the marinade into the flesh before returning it to the fridge.

After 36 hours, remove the beef and quickly rinse under cold water. Pat dry with kitchen paper. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6.

As soon as the oven is hot, heat the sunflower oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium flame. As soon as it is hot, add the beef. Colour and sear on all sides, then transfer to a small roasting tray or baking dish. Pour over the frying oil, and place the dish in the oven. Roast for 12 minutes. Remove, cool, and chill until required.

Shortly before serving, make the salad. Drop the green beans into a pan of boiling water and cook for 6 minutes, or until tender. Drain and set aside to cool. Now wash the chicory leaves, and tear them into large pieces. Place in a large bowl with the cooked beans and red onion rings.

Make a dressing by whisking together the honey, garlic, lemon juice and walnut oil. Season and toss everything together. Divide the salad between four plates and top with generous slices of the beef.