This rich and sumptuous meal has a mouth-watering sauce and together with the ham-wrapped beans makes for a tasty dinner treat
- 800g (13⁄4lb) beef fillet
- 3 shallots, peeled and chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Few glugs of olive oil
- 40g (11⁄2oz) butter
- Large handful of cracked black, green and pink peppercorns, or just black if the others are not available
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 80ml (3fl oz) Cognac
- 200ml (7fl oz) beef stock
- 1 bay leaf
- 250ml (9fl oz) crème Fraîche
- For the green beans with Parma ham
- 230g (81⁄4oz) green beans, trimmed
- 4 slices of Parma ham
- 1 tbsp butter
- Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F), Gas Mark 7. Put a little oil in a sauté pan, add the shallots and fry until they begin to go soft and translucent. Remove them from the pan and set aside.
- Season the fillet with salt and pepper.
- Heat more oil and the butter in the sauté pan over a medium heat.
- Add the meat and leave it to sear for a couple of minutes until browned. Do this on all sides then remove from the pan.
- Spread the cracked pepper out on a plate.Smear the beef with mustard and roll in the cracked pepper, then place on a wire rack set over a roasting tin. The benefit of this is that the meat cooks more evenly because it is not sitting directly on the tin, which gets much hotter.
- Bake in the oven for about 35 minutes, then switch off the oven, open the door and leave the beef to rest for 10–15 minutes.
For the sauce:
- To make the sauce, put the reserved shallots and Cognac in a medium saucepan over a high heat.
- Boil for a couple of minutes then add the stock and bay leaf.
- Leave to boil merrily away until reduced by half.
For the green beans and Parma ham:
- Meanwhile, bring a pan of salted water to the boil, add the beans and boil for about 4 minutes, then drain. Divide the beans into 4 piles. Take one pile and wrap Parma ham tightly around it. Repeat with the other 3 piles. Season with salt (not too much as the Parma ham is salty) and some pepper.
- Heat the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat, add the beans and fry gently for a minute or two until the ham is crisp.
- When the sauce has reduced, add the sautéed shallots and cook for 1 minute. Gradually add the crème fraîche, stirring all the time, then cook until the sauce is heated through.
- Place the beef fillet on a warmed serving plate. Pour the sauce over the meat and serve with the green beans wrapped in Parma ham.
Lorraine Pascale for Save the Children http://bornto.savethechildren.org.uk/
Parma ham also goes fantastically in omelettes, see a quick and easy recipe here