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Oven Roasted Beef Fillet
By Charlie Burke

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Holiday entertaining calls for special meals, and roasted whole fillet, or
tenderloin, of beef certainly fits that description. Although its cost approaches
luxury levels, there is virtually no waste, so four pounds will easily serve ten.
Roasted whole, it makes an impressive entrance into the dining room and is
easily sliced into serving portions and served with sauce made from pan
drippings. Preparation is fast and simple, making it ideal for entertaining.

Because this is a long, thin cut, cooking time is the same for all whole fillets of
at least five inches in length. To determine how much to order, calculate one
and a half inches per serving and order by the inch, adding one extra inch for
the ends which will probably be overcooked . Be certain the butcher
understands you are ordering the fillet, which is three to four inches in
diameter. High heat is used, and a savory coating ensures a dark, flavorful
crust and moist interior. I think this cut ideally is served medium-rare, but
medium is acceptable. Cooking this very lean piece well done is not advisable.

I pulverized fresh rosemary, mixed peppercorns and sea salt in a spice
blender and then made a paste with extra virgin olive oil to coat the meat.
Because of the smaller diameter of the fillet, the crust flavors more of the meat
than in a larger cut such as prime rib.

For four servings:

One whole fillet of beef, measuring at least 7 inches
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary (or 1 tablespoon dry)
2 tablespoons whole black or mixed peppercorns
2 ½ tablespoons of coarse sea salt or 2 tablespoons kosher salt

For sauce:

1 large shallot, finely chopped (2 – 2 ½ tablespoons)
½ cup dry red wine
1/3 cup chicken or veal stock
Sea or kosher salt and ground pepper to taste.

Remove the meat from the refrigerator one hour before cooking and preheat
oven to 500 degrees. Place peppercorns, rosemary and salt into a spice grinder
and reduce to a powder; a few larger pieces of pepper will remain. Mix
thoroughly with olive oil, place fillet on a plate and rub oil mixture all over
the meat.

Place fillet into a shallow baking dish just large enough to accommodate it,
pouring any remaining oil mixture from plate onto the meat. Place into the
lower third of the oven and cook for 8 minutes; turn and cook an additional 8
minutes. The meat should then be 145 – 150 degrees; it will increase from
retained heat as it rests. Place the fillet on a warm serving plate or a wooden
carving board. Drain the fat from the roasting pan, place it over medium - high
heat and add shallots, stirring for a minute or two until slightly softened. Add
wine and stock and boil, scraping fond from the roasting pan. Cook until the
sauce begins to thicken slightly and pour into a serving vessel

Slice fillet into 1 ½ inch slices and serve on warmed plates with the pan
reduction and any juices from the serving plate. When testing this recipe, I
served the meat with pan seared mushrooms and sautéed baby spinach, but
for guests I’d include mashed or pan roasted fingerling potatoes. This calls for
an elegant Pinot Noir or Cabernet Sauvignon to complement this great cut of

Few simple preparations can match a roasted beef fillet’s visual impact, and
the sliced pieces, now “fillets mignon”, have a richer flavor than when these
are cooked as steaks, making this a perfect meal for special occasions. Left
over meat can be thinly sliced and served at room temperature with a salad
for a light lunch.

About the author: An organic farmer and avid cook, writer Charlie Burke is the vice
president of the
New Hampshire Farmer's Market Association, president of the NH
Farm to Restaurant Connection and helps run the Sanbornton (NH) Farmers' Market.  
Along with his wife, Joanne, Charlie grows certified organic herbs, greens and berries at
Weather Hill Farm in Sanbornton, NH.  
The Heart of New England
Celebrating the unique character & culture of Maine ~ New Hampshire ~ Vermont
Oven-Roasted Beef Filet Recipe
©The Heart of New England online magazine
...celebrating the unique character & culture of Maine, New Hampshire & Vermont!
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