This is a classic recipe from the Cordon Bleu school of cookery, but is not difficult to prepare. Surprise your loved one with a really classy main course dish this Valentine's day.
Medallions de Bœuf (Medallions of Beef)Serves: 4
Ingredients:500g (1 lb) fillet of beef
strips of fat for barding
3 tbsp beef dripping or oil
225g (8 oz) pâté (any liver pate, such as duck or pork will do)
50g (2 oz) butter
1 truffle or 8 button mushrooms (use chestnut mushrooms if using button ones)
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp dry sherry
225g (8 oz) cooked gammon, sliced
900ml (3 3/4 cups) aspic jelly (made by dissolving 3 tbsp powdered gelatine in 900ml hot clear stock)
Method:Though the fillet of beef is the most tender cut, and requires little cooking, it does not have much natural fat and tends to dry readily. As a result it needs to have fat added to it. Thin sheets of beef fat would be best. Cover the beef in thin strips of fat and tie these in place with butcher's twine.
Heat the dripping or oil in a roasting tin. Place in an oven pre-heated to 200ºC (400ºF) and when hot remove from the oven. Add the barded beef and spoon over the hot fat. Turn the beef and baste with the fat once more.
Place a roasting rack in the tin, sit the beef on this then place in the oven and roast for between 30 and 35 minutes, turning the meat and basting half way through the cooking time.
Remove from the oven and set the meat aside until cold.
Mix the pâté with the butter until smooth. If you are using truffle, add the trimmings. If not, add the Dijon mustard and sherry to flavour.
When the fillet is cold, remove the string and slice into 6mm (1/4 in) thick slices. Trim the ham then cut out a round large enough to fit each slice of beef. Carefully spread a layer of the pâté on top of each piece of beef fillet then lay the ham on top. Press lightly together to sandwich then use a knife to smooth around the edge.
Arrange these meat pieces in a shallow dish and spoon over just enough cold (but still liquid) aspic to cover. Set aside until just set then garnish each meat piece with a sliver of truffle or a whole, cooked, mushroom (cook the mushrooms in water and lemon juice, as any oil would cloud the aspic).
Coat over the mushrooms with a layer of aspic then set aside until completely set.
To serve, cut around the meat slices in aspic with a sharp knife or an oval cutter. Arrange in a serving dish then chop up the remaining aspic and spoon around the meat.
Serve accompanied by boiled potatoes and French (green) beans in a vinaigrette dressing.
For a Complete Valentine's Day meal, you can choose from the recipes presented on this blog:
Pork Tenderloin with Prunes (Pork)
Sea Trout en Gelée with Mayonnaise Nantua (Fish)
Medallions of Beef (Beef)
Chocolate Truffles (to serve with coffee)