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Herb & Pepper Crust Beef Fillet

Updated: Jul 31, 2018

This takes a bit of time to prepare (45 minutes) and an hour to cook in the oven, so its the kind of dish you would do at the weekend. This recipe uses Madeira wine, but you can substitute any of dry port, sherry or Marsala wines.


Half fillet beef, about 950g (2lb 2 oz)

Sea salt - sufficient to rub the beef fillet all over with

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 tablespoon of plain flour

250ml (9fl oz) hot beef stock

75 ml (3 fl oz) Madeira

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

About 130g (4oz approx) of white or wholemeal bread, whizzed in a food processor to make into breadcrumbs, combined with some fresh herbs of your choice e.g. thyme. However, you can use a ready-made/packet breadcrumb mix.

Serves 8


To prepare and roast the meat:

Rub the meat with plenty of sea salt and pepper. Brush all over with olive oil. I usually do this by sprinkling the salt and pepper onto a roasting tin, brushing the meat with olive oil, and then rolling the beef in the salt and pepper in the tin.

Its a good idea to seal the meat before roasting it. To do this, heat a large frying pan over a high heat and when it's very hot, fry the meat until its lightly browned.

Put the beef into the oven and roast for 25 minutes for medium cooked beef (20 minutes for rare beef; 30 minutes for well done beef). Transfer to a warm serving plate and cover in foil to rest for about 20 minutes whilst you make the gravy. Save the juices from the tin - you will need to transfer them to a saucepan when making the gravy.

To make the gravy:

Heat the saucepan over a medium heat, add the flour and a little of the meat juices, cooking for 1 minute. Gradually add in the remaining liquid from the meat. Remove from the heat and gradually stir in the stock, and then the Madeira, until smooth. Return to the heat and bring up to the boil. Keep stirring the mixture regularly until it is thickened. The trick is not to add too much liquid at a time, or it will go lumpy.

Lay the breadcrumb mixture (either your own breadcrumb mixture or a ready made breadcrumb mixture) in a single layer on a baking tray and toast in the oven for 5-10 minutes until golden. Brush the top of the meat with mustard and press the breadcrumbs on to the top and sides of the meat.

Serve the meat in slices with the gravy.

Inspired by Good Housekeeping Tried and Tested Recipes

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