Beef fillet with red cabbage and straw fries

James Martin’s beef fillet is cooked at a low temperature to keep it tender in this delicious dinner party recipe.


For the beef
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 500g/1lb 2oz middle-cut well-hung beef fillet
  • 250ml/9fl oz red wine
  • 250ml/9fl oz beef stock
  • 1 tbsp Pedro Ximénez sherry vinegar
  • 1 tbsp redcurrant jelly
  • 75g/3oz butter
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the vegetables
  • 50g/2oz butter
  • 1 banana shallot, finely sliced
  • ½ red cabbage, very finely shredded
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
  • 110ml/4fl oz sherry vinegar
  • 3 tbsp soft brown sugar
  • 2 apples, finely diced
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • vegetable oil, for deep-frying
  • 2 large chipping potatoes, peeled and very finely julienned

Preparation method

  1. For the beef, preheat the oven to 60C/140F/Gas ¼. Heat half of the vegetable oil in a frying pan over a medium to high heat. Add the beef fillet and fry until browned on all sides – this should take no more than two minutes in total.

  2. Remove the beef from the pan and set aside to cool.

  3. Wrap the cooled beef fillet in cling film and place onto a roasting tray. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes. (NB: Not every type of cling film is suitable for using with all foods. Check the description on the packaging to see which foods and temperatures it can be used with.)

  4. Meanwhile, heat a saucepan until piping hot, then add the red wine and cook until the volume of the liquid has reduced by two-thirds.

  5. Add the stock and return the mixture to the boil. Simmer until the volume of liquid has reduced by two-thirds once more, then stir in the sherry vinegar, redcurrant jelly, half of the butter, and some salt and freshly ground black pepper.

  6. Meanwhile, for the vegetables, heat a large saucepan over a medium to high heat. Add the butter and shallots and fry for one minute. Add the red cabbage and thyme and stir fry for two minutes, or until just beginning to wilt.

  7. Add the sherry vinegar and cook until the volume of liquid has reduced by half, then add the sugar and apples and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cover with a lid and continue to simmer for 4-5 minutes, or until just tender. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

  8. Heat the oil in a deep-fat fryer to 190C/375F, or until a cube of bread sizzles and goes brown when dropped in. (CAUTION: Hot oil can be dangerous; do not leave unattended.) Carefully add the potatoes to the fryer and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until just coloured and crisp. Remove from the pan using a slotted spoon and set aside to drain on a plate lined with kitchen paper. Season with salt.

  9. Check the meat. For medium-rare, the core temperature of the meat needs to be 57-59C (135-138F). Test the meat with a digital meat thermometer and if the desired temperature has not been reached, increase the oven temperature slightly and return the beef to the oven for a further 10 minutes, before checking once more. Repeat until the desired temperature has been reached.

  10. Remove the beef from the oven and heat the remaining oil and butter in a frying pan.

  11. Cut the beef fillet into 4cm/1½in thick slices and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

  12. When the butter is foaming, add the beef and fry for no more than 30 seconds on each side. You will find that there is no need to rest the meat.

  13. To serve, spoon the red cabbage on each of four plates and top with the beef. Place the fries in a bowl alongside then spoon the sauce over and around the beef.

James Martin recipes from Saturday Kitchen Best Bites

30 mins to 1 hour preparation time

30 mins to 1 hour cooking time

Serves 4