Beef fillet with lentils and potato

This is a simple but winning meal for any dinner party and you can be sure to impress your friends. The lentil dish comes from Saffron, Garlic & Olives, a cookbook by Loukie Werle. The beef fillet ‘recipe’ came from my friend Pete many years ago – it’s my favourite method of cooking what is an expensive cut but maximising all the taste and quality of the meat.

Sear the fillet in a pan before transfer to the oven


  • 750g beef fillet
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 large cloves garlic finely chopped
  • half teaspoon of chilli flakes
  • 400g French Lentil du Puy
  • 1.5 litres water, or equivalent good quality chicken stock
  • 750g waxy potatoes cut into 2cm cubes
  • 2 -4 bunches of rocket
  • 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • lemon wedges to serve


To cook the lentils

Combine the oil, garlic and chilli flakes and cook over a low heat for 10 minutes without colouring the garlic. Stir frequently.

Add the lentils and stir for a few minutes to coat then in oil. Add the water (or stock) and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer gently for 20 minutes.

Add the potatoes and cook uncovered for a further 20 minutes or until the lentils and potato are tender. Add more water or stock if necessary. Stir in the lemon juice and rocket. Season with salt and pepper.

To cook the beef fillet

Pre heat an oven to around 200ºC.

Grind cumin seeds with a mortar and pestle. Mix this with some freshly ground pepper and sea salt (or Maldon salt) and rub into the meat. Sear the meat in a heavy pan on the stove top with a little olive oil. Transfer to a shallow roasting dish and roast for 15-30 minutes per 500g (depending on how you like your meat cooked). Once cooked remove from the oven, wrap loosely in tinfoil and stand for 10-15 minutes.

Dish the lentils into shallow bowls. Slice the meat into 1 cm slices and serve on top of the lentil and potato.

Serve with fresh baby carrots and ciabatta bread and lemon wedges.

Serves 6

A big thank you to Willow Butchery in Ngaio (now Cameron Harrison) for the most succulent and tender beef fillet. They cut it to size to suit a dinner party of six.

For those of you nervous about how long you need to cook fillet the test is if you can press it with your finger and it feels slightly firm but bounces back then it’s probably done medium. Don’t forget that in resting the meat it will continue to cook. So it’s better to be a little under done than over.

I’ll post a lesson on how to judge cooking times at a later date.


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