Bouef a la ficelle (beef on a string)
Bouef a la ficelle is a deliciously simple and rustic dish of prime beef fillet and seasonal vegetables. It matches beautifully with a “baby” Burgundy (bourgogne rouge) or Cru Beaujolais. Use the best beef you can find; Charollaise in France or Cape Grim from Tasmania.
- 1 x 800g centre-cut beef fillet
- 875ml (3 ½ cups) beef stock
- 1 x swede – cut into batons
- 1 x carrot – cut into batons
- 1 x celery stalk – cut into batons
- 2 x large potatoes – cut into chunks
- ¼ cabbage – chopped
- 4 x scallions (spring onions) – sliced into long shreds
- 1 x bay leaf
- 2 x sprigs thyme
- parsley to garnish
Trim the beef of fat and sinew and slice into 4 even roundels. Tie kitchen string around the circumference of each slice to hold its shape, leaving a long length of string to suspend the beef in the stock.
Pour the stock into a saucepan and bring to the boil over a medium-high setting. Add the vegetables and herbs and cook uncovered over moderate heat for 8 – 10 minutes or until tender. Remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon and reserve in a warm place. Discard the herbs and skim any surface foam from the stock.
Season the beef with freshly ground pepper and sea salt (sel gris marin if you can find it). Attach the long ends of string to a wooden spoon or similar and suspend over the pot, lowering the beef into the simmering stock. Cook for around 8 – 10 minutes for medium-rare or longer to taste.
Place each piece of beef in a large shallow bowl, add the cooked vegetables and ladle the cooking broth over. Garnish with parsley to serve.