Beef with Shallots


My friends tell me that every time they cook this, their guests say it’s just like eating in a restaurant. It is better than that, though. Restaurants don’t give you second helpings of mash.


  • 20 small brown shallots
  • 600 g rolled fillet of beef, tied with string
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 600 g red-skinned potatoes, peeled
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • few thyme and rosemary sprigs
  • 125 ml milk
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • parsley or chervil sprigs, to serve


Cook the unpeeled shallots in simmering water for 5 minutes, then drain and peel.

Heat the grill, or a cast-iron grill pan or fry pan, until hot. Rub the beef with 1 tbsp olive oil, sea salt and pepper. Grill or pan-sear the beef on all sides until well marked, but still rare inside, around 12 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

In the meantime, cook the potatoes in a pan of simmering salted water until tender.

Heat the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil in a fry pan, and fry the shallots for about 10 minutes until golden. Add the balsamic vinegar, thyme and rosemary sprigs, and cook gently, stirring as the shallots colour and caramelise.

Gently heat the milk with the smashed garlic until hot. Drain the potatoes and mash well, then beat in the milk, discarding the garlic.

Discard the string, slice the beef into 1cm thick slices and season with salt and pepper. Spoon the mash onto warmed plates and arrange the beef on top with the caramelised shallots. Scatter with parsley or chervil to serve.