Beef in a Bag with Peppercorn Sauce
French poached “boeuf à la ficelle” is something very special but who wants to simmer a vessel of stock in summer? I decided to roast the meat wrapped in parchment to capture all the juices for a sauce, then serve the dish at room temperature with Steamed Vegetables. I’d never seen a chunk of beef really cooked like this and so there is always the worry I might sacrifice €60. Sous vide would have been an option, but it was more complicated and would take longer. This method has always been successful and my sauce made with local olive oil and picked Green Peppercorns is nicely balanced with the simplicity of the buttered steamed Vegetables.
- 1kg good quality Rib-eye beef in one piece tied and shaped
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and ground black pepper
- 4 shallots finely diced
- 1 clove of garlic crushed
- 40cl stock
- 40cl whipping cream
- 4tbsp Green Peppercorns
- 20g butter
- 5cl Cognac
Heat oven to 200°C. Rub meat with 1 tablespoon oil and season with salt and pepper. Wrap securely in a large sheet of parchment paper and tie like a package with butcher’s cord so it can be opened from the top. Place in a baking dish and roast 30 minutes for medium-rare. Test at 25 minutes by inserting an instant-read thermometer into the middle of the meat, right through the paper; it should register 50°C; at 55°C it will be done. Remove from the oven and transfer meat, still wrapped, to a cutting board to rest for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
While meat is roasting, heat remaining oil and the butter in a frying pan. Add shallots and sauté on medium-low until soft and barely starting to colour then add the chopped garlic and turn for a couple of mins switch off the heat and deglaze with the cognac.
Pore the cooked shallot mix into a casserole dish with the stock, half of the peppercorns crushed and the other half whole put on a medium heat bring back to the boiling point. As the gravy thickens pore whipping cream a little by little and slowly bring back to the boil and reduce heat to low for just a slight simmer for 10 to 15 mins and then kill the heat and allow to rest.
Note: If you like spicy peppercorn sauce then this can me made the day before and left to infuse and just reheated when needed.
After meat has rested at least 30 minutes, remove string from the package and carefully open the parchment so as not to lose any of the juices inside. Lift the meat out with tongs, then pour all the juices from the parchment into the sauce.
Simmer the sauce mixture until hot and reduce if needed. Season with salt and pepper if needed. Slice meat about 1/2-inch thick and arrange on a platter. Garnish with rosemary sprigs and serve sauce, just warm, alongside.