Roasted fillet of beef with braised oxtail sauce, roast salsify and cauliflower macaroni

Roasted fillet of beef with braised oxtail sauce, roast salsify and cauliflower macaroni

William Meppem


Quantity Ingredient
1 quantity Cauliflower macaroni
2 600 g grass-fed centre-cut beef tenderloins, trussed, all skin and sinew removed
2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
150ml extra-virgin olive oil

Oxtail sauce

Quantity Ingredient
2kg centre-cut oxtail pieces
1 1/4 litres shiraz or pinot noir
1 carrot, roughly chopped
2 heads of garlic, halved horizontally
2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
1 brown onion, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon coarsely cracked black pepper
1 Bouquet garni for meat dishes
50ml olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
500ml Veal jus
250g shallots, sliced neatly or using a mandolin into 1⁄2 cm thick rings
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

Roast salsify

Quantity Ingredient
500g salsify, peeled and cut into 4 cm pieces on an angle
2 lemon, juiced
6 garlic cloves, skin left on
1/2 bunch rosemary
pinch salt
50ml olive oil
150g butter


  1. The oxtail sauce is best prepared a day in advance. Cover the oxtail with 1 litre of the red wine, add the vegetables, pepper and bouquet garni and marinate overnight in the refrigerator, for at least 6–8 hours. Turn the oxtail periodically.
  2. Preheat oven to 195°C. Remove the oxtail from the marinade and dry on paper towels. Strain the marinade, reserving the vegetables and bouquet garni. Put the marinade liquid into a saucepan and bring to the boil over a low heat, skimming off any impurities that rise to the surface with a spoon. Cook until the wine is clear, for about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  3. Add some olive oil to a large ovenproof casserole over a high heat. Season the oxtail pieces all over then sear in the casserole until well coloured. Add the reserved vegetables to the pan, frying in stages until well caramelised – add the carrots first, then the garlic, then the celery. Pour over the wine and add the reserved bouquet garni. Simmer gently over a medium heat until reduced by half. Pour the veal jus over and cover with a lid. Braise slowly in the oven for 2 hours, until the meat is falling off the bone.
  4. Remove the oxtail from the oven, allow to cool slightly then drain the braising liquid into a saucepan. Reduce to a light syrup over a medium heat. Pass through a sieve and cover until required. Carefully remove all the oxtail meat from the bones in large pieces, discarding any sinew and excess fat. Spread the meat on a small tray or plate lined with plastic wrap. Moisten the meat with a little of the reduced braising liquid, place another layer of plastic wrap on top and press down. Then put another plate or tray on top to weigh down the meat and refrigerate until required.
  5. Prepare the cauliflower macaroni. Then cover the shallot rings with the remaining red wine in a saucepan, add the sugar and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and allow to cool in the pan.
  6. To prepare the beef, season the tenderloins well all over, then massage in the extra-virgin olive oil. Keep at room temperature until required. To prepare the salsify, cover it with water and add lemon juice, garlic, rosemary and a pinch of salt. Cook slowly over a low heat, then remove from the heat just before it boils. Drain into a colander, reserving the garlic and rosemary, and dry the salsify on a clean tea towel.
  7. Increase the temperature of the oven to 220°C. In a flameproof roasting tray over a high heat, seal the beef until well coloured on all sides. Roast in the oven for 8–10 minutes, basting and turning every 5 minutes.
  8. Heat about 50 ml olive oil in a wide frying pan over a medium heat to around 180°C. Add the salsify and shallow-fry until it begins to colour, then add the reserved garlic and rosemary. Drain the salsify, garlic and rosemary. Once the beef is cooked, remove from the oven and allow to rest. Put the salsify, garlic and rosemary in the roasting tray and add some knobs of butter. Return to the oven and roast until crisp.
  9. Put the reduced braising liquid from the oxtail back on the heat and bring to the boil. Drain the shallot slices from the red wine, boil this marinade to a syrup and add it to the braising sauce. Remove the plastic wrap from the oxtail and dice the meat into 21⁄2 cm pieces. Put these in the sauce, along with the shallots.
  10. To serve, carve the beef into slices and arrange on serving plates. Add a scoop of the warm cauliflower macaroni, some roast salsify and spoon over the rich oxtail sauce.

Chef’s note

  • If you want to achieve perfectly round portions of beef, buy a whole piece of beef fillet, fully denuded of fat and sinew. Shape it tightly by spreading several layers of plastic wrap on a work surface on top of each other, put the beef fillet at one end and roll up extremely tightly. Tie the plastic wrap at each end and set in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. Remove from the refrigerator, slice into portions (roughly 250 g per person) with the plastic wrap still holding together each piece, season and seal the meat over a high heat (keep the plastic wrap around the meat). Allow to rest, then remove the plastic wrap and seal the meat on the uncovered edges before serving.
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