Boeuf a la Ficelle with Horseradish Cream
Really amazing poached beef dish from Chez Panisse--although time-consuming and a bit expensive to make.
3 pounds beef tenderloin roast
salt and coarse-cracked black pepper
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
1 small carrot, peeled and sliced
2 quarts Chez Panisse beef stock *
2 quarts chicken stock
3 chicken legs
1 bay leaf
1 sprig thyme
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 cup heavy cream
prepared creamy-style horseradish, to taste
1. With a sharp knife, remove all of the exterior fat, silver skin and oxidized dark spots from the beef. Tie the tenderloin with butcher twine around its circumference at 2-inch intervals; then weave a piece of twine lengthwise around the meat to make a secure, compact roast.
2. Season liberally with salt and cracked black pepper and refrigerate overnight. Bring the beef to room temp before cooking--this is important for beef to cook in the allotted time.
3. To make the broth, saute the onion and carrot gently in a little olive oil until softened. Cover with the beef * and chicken stocks, and add the chicken legs, bay leaf, thyme, and garlic.
4. Bring to a gentle boil, skimming occasionally. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Strain the broth, skim the fat, and season with salt to taste (if using canned chicken stock make sure to not over-salt). Stock can be made ahead and kept in the fridge or freezer; reserve the chicken legs for another use.
5. Place the room temperature beef in a heavy-bottomed pot just large enough to accommodate the roast. Pour in the broth (you want the roast to be submerged in the broth) and slowly bring to just below a boil. Adjust the heat so that the broth remains at a gentle simmer to ensure that the roast will be tender and evenly cooked.
6. Simmer the fillet for 20-25 minutes (start timing once broth is simmering; this takes a while). Check the internal temp with a meat thermometer--for medium rare, take the meat out when it reaches 120°F.
7. While the fillet is simmering, whip the cream until medium peaks form. Fold in horseradish to taste. Add salt and pepper to taste. Chill until ready to use. May be prepared several hours in advance.
8. Remove the beef from the broth and place it on a warm platter. Cover loosely and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes. Slice the roast into 1/2 inch thick slices and serve in large, wide bowls with a ladle-full of the poaching juices. Top with a dollop of the horseradish cream--pass extra cream and a dish of salt at the table.
* NOTE: This recipe can be made with a good quality canned chicken broth (I like Swanson's low-salt brand in a box) in place of the beef stock (i.e. 4 quarts of chicken broth total), but the recipe is really amazing with the beef stock.