Buongiorno, bonjour and “g’day”! (don't you like how they're all the same thing? ~ who knew Australian vernacular was so cosmopolitan???).

Also, "a good day to you, sir/maam" for our American pals, "Ni Hao" to China, and "Здравствуй" to our Russian comrades, "etcetera etcetera and so forth"... (for Yul Brynner).

It’s your old pal Kit (Christof) Fennessy here. I've been writing this blog with your help for ten years, and there's over a hundred and fifty recipes, restaurant reviews of Australia and around the world, and general gourmet articles in these pages for you to fritter away your idle hours on.

Want to know more about me? Friend me on facebook, follow me on twitter, or even look up my New Yorker cartoons on instagram! NB; different platforms not all food related)

A big thank you, as always, to my sponsors at Blue Vapours (use them for all your design and advertising needs - we are waiting for your call!).

Now, what's on the bill of fare today?

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Fillet of Roast Beef with Red Wine Sauce

For a Dinner Party with Friends

I cooked a fantastic piece of “rosbif” the other day; served with Stephanie Alexander’s “quick” red wine sauce.

I don’t think the wine sauce is actually that quick (in fact I know it’s not, particularly if you make your own stock), but you can make it the day before.

The surprising thing about this recipe is that the roast veg we had with the roast beef and wine sauce (you could always just do a green salad, or some couscous) took much longer than the meat.

... Usually it’s the other way around.

There was so much, I had to call a couple of friends to come over and help us out with the eating, and it was very gratefully received. So good, in fact, I thought I’d make some notes for posterity.

Let’s start with the early things and knock them out of the way in succession, shall we? Find the full recipe and method below:

Red Wine Sauce

Do this the day before or early in your dinner making progress…

  • One cup of trimmed beef scraps (possibly from the flap or an end off your fillet, or buy a cheap cut specially for the sauce).
  • One cup aromatic veg (carrot, celery, onion), finely sliced
  • One cup of red wine (there’s a lot of “one cup”s here…)
  • Bay leaf
  • Shallot (one of those little brown onions) finely sliced
  • 2 cups of Chicken stock (Ah ha! Not always one cup…)

Pour red wine into a small saucepan with bay leaf and sliced shallot. Reduce the liquid over a low heat to 3/4 a cup in volume.


Fry beef scraps in some olive oil until quite dark.

Add aromatic veg to the beef scraps when done, coat in oil et al.

Combine with the red wine that’s been reduced to 3/4 of a cup with a bay leaf and a sliced shallot.

Next, add couple of cups of stock (the first should frizzle when you pour it in), deglaze (get the stuck bits off the pan with a wooden spoon), boil in pan for a few minutes, and then strain off.

Your sauce is just about done.

You can keep this in the fridge ready to go. Then, when the moment comes, you heat the sauce with a couple of tablespoons of butter to give it a glossy look (what the experts call giving it “eyes”, a new one on me). Apparently it doesn’t need salt because of the natural salts in the veg, but you might like to test it for pepper…

The Fillet

This is surprisingly easy and delicious. Buy a fillet of beef, something you’ve heard of that is an equivalent cut used as frying steak (i.e. not a slow cooked beef like topside). If there is a thin end, fold it under and tie up the whole thing with string to keep it compact and even in width the whole length.

I used a kilo length of steak, the cut was scotch fillet, tied up with string with some herbs in the middle. I added oregano from the back yard between the main fillet and the flap of the meat – bought at a Victoria St butcher, cheap! – before tying up.

Rub the outside of the fillet with oil and coat with black pepper. Stephanie did not bother to, but I decided to seal mine in a pan first, giving it a quick fry on all sides for a bit of colour.

Cook in a hottish oven (210 degrees fan forced) for twenty minutes per five hundred grams for medium done meat, fifteen minutes per 500 gm for rare. Mine took forty minutes.

Remove from oven and allow to rest (cover with foil and a tea towel) for about five or ten minutes, possibly on a plate in the griller drawer of your oven.

Pour the juices that collect on the plate under the roast into the red wine sauce, which by this time should now be getting its “eyes” on on the stove top (i.e. you should be heating up the sauce with the butter now in it…).

Carve beef directly onto warmed plates and serve with red wine sauce. We cut thickish steaks from the roast. It was tender, juicy and delicious.


Your friends will thank you, and proclaim you a gourmet, but you’ll find yourself congratulating the guests because you’ll have forgotten you made it and be surprised when reminded that you made something so tasty. At a restaurant, you’d be looking at $30+ per head, but this dinner for four will see you done and dusted for about twenty five dollars all up ~ and such a nice change from chicken and gravy. I rate this dinner party dish a delicious 7 tentacles out of 8!


Kit Fennessy said...

Gawd... apologies to red wine sauce makers who wondered why their sauce was so gloopy. Just remade this yesterday, and see I mucked up the reduction amount... now fixed in the above text.