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Boeuf a La Ficelle

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Serves: 4
800g / 1lb 12 oz centre-cut beef fillet
900ml / 31 fl oz beef stock
1 swede, cut into batons
1 carrot, cut into batons
1 celery stalk, cut into batons
2 potatoes, cut into chunks
1/4 cabbage, chopped
4 spring onions, trimmed into long lengths
1 bay leaf
2 thyme sprigs
2 flat-leaf parsley sprigs

Trim the 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.

Put the stock in a saucepan, bring to the boil and add the 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.

Season the beef with salt. then lower into the simmering stock, keeping the strings tied around the saucepan handle or a wooden spoon balanced over the pan. Cook for about 6 minutes for rare, or 10 minutes for medium-rare, depending on your taste.

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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