Marinated Beef Filet with a Potato and Horseradish Cake

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The best Valentine’s Day recipes, for me, should include beef — one large filet shared. This excellent marinated recipe comes with a coating of chopped fresh rosemary, garlic and olive oil, with further sprigs of rosemary tucked under the string of the tied filet. Do not stint on the beef; buy the prime Angus. This accompanying potato cake is a very easy and an unusual twist with potatoes.

I serve the beef cooked medium (140-145°F). To take the guesswork out of this, I recommend you buy a thermometer. Remove the beef from the oven and while it is resting, continue browning the potato cake for 5 minutes if it needs it. When you’re ready to serve, remove the string and the rosemary sprigs from the beef and carve it in nice slices. Voila! A beautiful Valentine’s Day dinner for two. Happy V Day.

Serves 2

1 whole filet weighing 1 ½ pounds, trimmed
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 handfuls of fresh rosemary sprigs
1 bulb of garlic, broken up, cloves left whole with skins on
extra virgin olive oil
3 pounds potatoes, peeled and sliced ¼ inch thick
2 heaped tablespoons creamed horseradish
½ bottle of red wine
4 oz butter

Generously season the beef filet with salt and pepper. In a pestle and mortar bash up about a quarter of the rosemary with a clove of garlic to make a paste. Loosen with 4 tablespoons of olive oil and then rub this all over the beef. Tie the beef up with 3 pieces of string then poke the remaining rosemary sprigs under the string. This way the beef is almost protected by the herb during the cooking and it will give great flavor.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Parboil your sliced potatoes in boiling, salted water for around 5 minutes. Drain and transfer to a bowl with just enough olive oil to coat them. Season well. I like to make the potato cake in a round greased or non-stick cake tin, but you can use a non-stick fry pan with a metal handle if you have one. Place half the potatoes into the tin or pan, smearing the creamed horseradish over the top. Place the rest of the potatoes on top then pat down and place to one side.

Brown off the beef in a snug fitting roasting tray until all sides are colored. Add the garlic cloves to the tray, place the beef on top of them and put in the oven with the potatoes on the shelf below. Cook for 15 minutes, then turn the beef over, baste it and add the red wine and butter to the tray. Remove the potato dish then carefully place a clean tea towel over it and push down to compact the spuds into a nice tight cake. Put the potatoes back into the oven for another 15-20 minutes.

I serve the beef cooked medium (140-145 degrees). To take the guesswork out of this, I recommend you buy a thermometer. Remove the beef from the oven and while it is resting, continue browning the potato cake for 5 minutes if it needs it. When you’re ready to serve, remove the string and the rosemary sprigs from the beef and carve it in nice slices.

Turn the potato cake out on to a board, or just scoop it out of the pan with a spoon if its stuck. Save any juices from the rested meat and return them to tray, where the red wine, all the butter, and all the goodness from the meat will have made a very simple but tasty cooking sauce. Finish by mashing up the garlic cloves, then pass the sauce through a sieve on to the meat.

Alex Allson