Fillet of Beef with Mushrooms and Thyme Leaves*


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Simply Delicious: Book 1

Simply Delicious

By Darina Allen

Published 1989

  • About

Fillet of Beef is always a treat nowadays and this delicious recipe for a special occasion makes a little beef go as far as possible.


  • 1.010–1.125 kg/2¼ - 2½ lbs fillet steak (allow 170–200 g/6–8 ozs sirloin or fillet steak per person)
  • 15 g/½ oz/1 level tablesp. butter
  • 1 dessertsp. olive oil
  • 225 g/½ lb/4 cups sliced button mushrooms
  • 30 g/1 oz/ cup butter
  • 3 tablesp./4 American tablesp. chopped shallot or spring onion
  • salt and freshly-ground pepper

For Sauce

  • 150 ml/ fl ozs/¼ pint red wine or dry Vermouth
  • 150 ml/ fl ozs/¼ pint home-made brown beef stock
  • 290 ml/10 fl ozs/½ pint cream roux (optional)
  • ½ teasp. fresh thyme leaves
  • a few drops of lemon juice


  • tomato concassé
  • salt, freshly-ground pepper and sugar
  • flat parsley or watercress or chervil


The Sauce

Melt the butter in a frying pan and sweat the finely-chopped shallot on a gentle heat until soft but not coloured; remove from the pan. Increase the heat and sauté the mushrooms in small batches; season each batch and add to the onions as soon as they are cooked. Add the wine or Vermouth and stock to the pan and boil rapidly until the liquid has reduced to 75 g/ pint approx. Add the cream and allow to simmer for a few minutes to thicken (whisk in a tiny bit of roux if you like), add the mushroom and onion mixture and the thyme leaves. Simmer for 1 or 2 minutes; don’t allow the sauce to thicken too much or it will be heavy and cloying. Correct seasoning if necessary. If the sauce tastes too rich, add a squeeze of lemon juice. This is the sauce and it can be prepared several hours in advance and reheated later.

To Prepare the Beef

Trim the beef of any fat or membrane, cut into 55 g/ 2 ozs pieces.

To Cook the Beef

Melt a very little butter and some olive oil in a hot pan and when the foam subsides sauté the beef. Remember not to overcrowd the pan; the pieces of beef will only take 1–3 minutes on each side, depending on how you like it cooked. As soon as the beef is cooked, place the pieces on an upturned plate which rests on a larger plate to catch any juices.

To serve

Reheat the sauce, place the pieces of beef on individual plates or on a large serving plate and coat with the mushroom sauce. Garnish with tomato concassé and flat parsley or chervil.