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Boeuf à la Ficelle

Beef fillet - a lean, tender cut - is normally grilled, pan-fried or roasted. In this classic preparation, it is poached in beef stock. The name translates as 'beef on a string', in reference to the kitchen string used to tie the beef, lower it into the stock then raise it when cooked.


Boeuf à la Ficelle
Boeuf à la Ficelle
800 g (1 lb 12 oz) centre-cut beef fillet
900 ml (31 fl oz) beef stock
1, cut into batons swede (rutabaga)
1, cut into batons carrot
1 stalk, cut into batons celery
2, cut into chunks all-purpose potatoes
¼, chopped cabbage
4, trimmed into long lengths spring onions (scallions)
1 bay leaf
2 thyme sprigs
2 flat-leaf (Italian) parsley sprigs



  1. Trim beef of any fat and sinew and cut into four even pieces. Tie each piece of beef around its circumference with kitchen string so it keeps its compact shape. Leave a long length of string attached, to lower the beef in and out of the stock.
  2. Put stock in a saucepan, bring to the boil and add vegetables and herbs. Cook over medium heat for about 8 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Lift out the vegetables with a slotted spoon and keep warm. Discard the herbs and skim the stock of any foam that floats to the surface.
  3. Season beef with salt, then lower into the simmering stock, keeping the strings tied around the saucepan handle or a wooden spoon balanced over pan. Cook for about 6 minutes for rare, or 10 minutes for medium–rare, depending on your taste.
  4. Place each piece of beef in a large shallow bowl and loop the end of the string onto the rim of the bowl. Add the cooked vegetables and ladle some of the cooking broth over the top to serve.




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