Beef fillet on an eggplant round with a peppered beef reduction sauce
For the fifth course I chose fillet of beef. A round of fried eggplant is a good foil for tender beef but the real effort goes into the reduction which can be made over a number of days leading up to the occasion. As a general rule I make a stock of roasted beef bones, mirepoix vegetables [carrot, celery and onion], fennel heads, star anise, juniper berries, dry porcini mushrooms, peppercorns, parsley stalks, bay leaves, a chilli pepper and, after a while, a measure of red wine [say a bottle or two, remembering that life’s too short to use lousy wine]. For the ten people for this dinner party, I was looking to produce about 300ml of reduced sauce.
Houghton’s Jack Mann is from the Western Australian wine regions, an area famous for big red cabernet blends. I could easily have chosen a wine made by one of our legion of great female wine makers, Vanya Cullen’s Diane Madeline, but those in my cellar are too young right now.