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Sunday, November 19, 2006

Beef Eye Fillet

We're obviously feeling very carnivorous at the moment, here is another big chunk of meat and some more pork products. Serves four.

700g beef eye fillet, room temperature
250g of lardons
6-8 large field mushrooms, quartered
6-8 long sprigs of fresh thyme
3-4 tablespoons of freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon of freshly ground salt
6 sage leaves, chopped

8-12 very large Agria potatoes, (or more depending on how many chips you want to serve)

1 large bunch of fresh spinach

200 ml fresh cream
1 teaspoon of black pepper
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon of clarified butter
2 tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chives

Pre heat your oven to 180C and place oven racks one near the top for the potatoes and one in the lower half of the oven for the beef.
Peel the potatoes and make as many large chips as you can, you will have waste but keep the chips as straight and square as you can (see picture). Try to get an even thickness of chip, different lengths are fine.
Dry the chips and oil them. Place on an oven tray and put in the oven on the higher rack.
Oil the beef fillet and then pat the freshly ground black pepper and the salt all over (you will have to spend some time grinding the pepper, 3-4 tablespoons is a lot of grinding).
Lightly oil a baking tray and place the lardons in the centre to form a bed on which you can rest the beef while cooking. Place the beef on the lardons and put in the oven on the lower rack. If the beef fillet is thin you may want to wait until the chips have cooked for 15-10 minutes before putting it in the oven.
Wash the spinach and remove any thick stems, chop into large pieces and set aside in a large pot until ready to cook.
After 30 mins turn the chips (they will take about an hour). Remove the beef from the oven and add the mushrooms, sage and thyme to the lardons. Turn the beef and place back on the lardons. Return the beef to the oven. The amount of time the beef takes will depend on the thickness of the fillet, you are aiming for a medium-rare finish so check it to make sure it is not getting over done. The beef can be removed from the oven and rested for some time before serving if it is cooking too quickly.

Heat the butter in small saucepan and cook the garlic for about 1-2 minutes to colour very slighty but not brown. Add the cream and stir. Leave the cream to come to a simmer and cook for about 10 mins. The cream will change colour to a light yellow and reduce. Taste and add salt & pepper and then keep cooking till you have a good sauce consistency. Add parsely and chives, taste and season again if necessary. Remove from heat when done and reheat just before serving the meal.

When you are ready to serve, place the pan with the spinach in on a hot element and pour in some boiling water. Put the lid on and shake and then let the spinach cook it will only take 2-3 minutes. Drain.
Arrange your chips, beef, lardons and mushrooms on the plate. Add the spinach and spoon over the sauce.


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