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.
First prepare 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 about 60 ml. 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 sauce can be prepared several hours in advance and reheated later.
Trim the beef of any fat or membrane, cut into 55 g pieces. Melt the butter and 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.
© 2001 Darina Allen. All rights reserved.