Recipe: Fillet of Beef, Pommes Anna, Mushroom Sauce with Cognac and Charred Spring Onions

New Year’s Eve feels so far away. Was it only three months ago?! But I still remember the lovely evening we had, and the food I cooked of course.

After plenty of bubbly and nibbles we had lobster with beurre blanc, and after that we had fillet of beef with pommes Anna, mushroom sauce with cognac, broccoli and charred spring onions. So yummy!

I cooked the fillet of beef whole, giving the end bits to Emma who prefers her more cooked, the medium pieces for the boys and the rarest for me. My guess work worked out well but I suggest you use a thermometer to get it just right.

I made the sauce the day before and heated it up while the rest was cooking but the rest I did the same evening. Luckily my friends have an open plan kitchen dining room so it’s easy to cook and be sociable at the same time.

Fillet of beef, Pommes Anna, mushroom sauce with cognac, broccoli and charred spring onions, serves 4

800-1000 g fillet of beef

butter and oil for frying

salt and pepper

1 kg maris piper (or similar firm potatoes), peeled and thinly sliced

150 g salted butter, melted

salt and peppar

300 g tenderstem broccoli

1 bunch spring onions, washed and trimmed

Mushroom sauce:

1 shallot, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 tbsp butter + 1 tbsp neutral oil for frying

100 g fresh mushrooms, washed and sliced

30 g dried black trumpet mushrooms (porcini works too but then you probably need a bit less)

400 ml double cream

1/4 vegetable stock cube

1-2 tsp dijon mustard

1 tbsp cognac

salt and pepper

Start with the potatoes as they need the longest time to prepare (and can be kept warm if needed). Add some melted butter to a cast iron (or oven proof – if you haven’t got one, use a springform) frying pan and cover the bottom of the pan with a layer of potato slices. Add more melted butter, salt and pepper and continue to layer (each slice overlapping others) until it’s full. Place a sheet of parchment paper on top and add something heavy and oven proof as a weight on top. Place in 200C oven for approx 15 minutes, then remove the weight and the paper and cooked until golden on top and soft in the middle (pierce with a pairing knife), approx 45 minutes all together. If it’s getting too brown cover with tin foil. Can be kept warm until needed covered in foil on a 150 C heat.

Next brown the beef on all sides in butter and oil on high heat. Add salt and pepper and place on an oven tray covered in oil. Add garlic and maybe some herbs and place in a 200 C oven until a few degrees shy of the temperature you want. Remove from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before cutting it into 1cm though slices. If you want your beef really rare, brown it early but don’t put it in the oven until the potatoes and the sauce are well on their way. You can cook the vegetables as the meat is resting.

For the sauce, cover the dried mushrooms with boiling water in a bowl for a few minutes. Fry the onions and garlic until soft in butter and oil. Remove from pan, add more butter and oil if needed and fry the fresh mushrooms. Season and add it to the fried onions. Lastly, fry the rehydrated dried mushrooms and season. Add the other mushrooms and the onions back to the pan and lower the heat. Add the cream and stock cube and bring to a gentle boil. Add the dijon mustard and cognac and season to taste. If it’s too thick add a little water or fresh cream to make it thinner. Keep warm or reheat just before serving.

Boil the broccoli for approx 3 minutes, until it’s softened a bit but is still a bit crunchy. Drain and cover with kitchen towel. Fry the spring onions in a fry frying pan on high heat until charred.

To plate, cut the Pommes Anna into wedges, add the sauce, vegetables and the meat on top. Add some extra salt and pepper and enjoy!

Eating NYC: the wonderful Minetta Tavern

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I can’t remember where of from whom I heard about Minetta Tavern the first time, but when I asked people for restaurant recommendations leading up to my holiday everyone told me come here. So of course I did.

This extremely cosy one Michelin-starred restaurant in Greenwich Village was just as nice as I had hoped it would be. It gives you the impression it’s from a different time with red sofas, lots of mirrors and soft lighting.

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Considering the size of New York portions, we started our dinner with a drink (espresso Martini for Sinead and a glass of tatty for me) and then went straight for the main courses. Sinead had the roasted chicken with Swiss chard and fries. It was super simple but stunning!

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A decent portion of fries, as you can see.

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I decided on the steak frites, but substituted the fries for pommes Anna, and received one of the best steaks I have ever had! Just amazingly good!

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Not a small portion of pommes Anna either… but very good!

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We ate as slowly as we could to savour every bite but also to be able to eat as much as possible, so we were more than full when they cleared the table. But after some wine and a breather we decided to try the chocolate caramel tart with sea salt our waiter so highly recommended. And I’m so glad we did. It was pure perfection! I’m not even a pudding person but this was to die for. You simply must order it when you go.

Minetta Tavern, 113 MacDougal St., New York, NY 10012  (Betw. Bleecker & W. 3rd Street)