Roast Beef Fillet

Serves 6

For the Beef & Gravy

  • 1kg roast beef fillet, middle cut
  • salt & pepper
  • 80ml vegetable oil
  • 10 shallots, peeled (baby onions can be substituted)
  • 20 small button mushrooms
  • 100ml red wine
  • 1 tablespoon best quality powdered beef fond 
  • 200ml water
  • 20g butter
  • 4 thyme sprigs

Preheat oven to 190ºC. Season the fillet well. Place a heavy bottomed pan on the stove and heat until smoking hot, add 50ml of the oil and the seasoned beef. Brown on all sides; the more colour, the better the flavour. Remove the beef and lower the heat. Give the pan a quick wipe with a paper towel to remove excess black and add the remaining oil, followed by the peeled shallots. Brown for 5 min, then add the mushrooms and continue to colour for a further 2 min. These vegetables should fill the bottom of the pan. Place the fillet on top of the shallots and onions and transfer the pan to the oven for approximately 15-20 min. The vegetable base is known as a ‘trivet’ in the industry; it prevents the meat or fish from making contact with the bottom of the pan, as this causes uneven cooking.

After 15 mins, pierce the meat through the middle with a poultry lancer or metal skewer and leave it in the meat for 5 seconds. Remove it quickly, and run the lancer across your top lip. You are checking the core temperature of the meat, which should be moderately warm; if it is hot, the meat will be well done, if it is cold, the meat is undercooked. The ideal temperature is around 54ºC for rare, 59ºC for medium-rare and 64ºC for medium. (A meat thermometer is a slightly more conventional method, but not as much fun as the poultry lancer or metal skewer.) Leave the meat to rest in a roasting pan and place the pan back on the stovetop. Bring the mushrooms and shallots up to a high heat and add the wine, reduce it by half, add the water, and stir in the fond. Once the mixture has thickened to a nice gravy consistency, add the juices from the beef and stir in the butter and the thyme sprigs. Check the seasoning and add salt if necessary.

Enjoy this recipe with a Shiraz. Try a Shiraz from SA’s Top 12 Shirazes 2016, go to wineofthemonth.co.za for more information.