Beef fillets with braised oxtail and artichokes

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Nigel Mendham brings together four different types of artichoke in this elegant beef recipe. Crosnes (Japanese artichokes), globe and baby artichokes are cooked in a water bath to retain their shape, while Jerusalem artichokes (admittedly an artichoke in name only) are made into a silky smooth purée. Tender beef fillet and rich, slowly braised oxtail complete the dish, with a little luxurious truffle thrown in for good measure.

First published in 2016




Braised oxtail

Globe artichoke

Baby artichokes


Truffle gel

  • 10g of truffle oil
  • 600g of milk
  • 10g of agar agar
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • lemon juice, to taste

Jerusalem artichoke purée

To serve


  • Vacuum bags
  • Chamber sealer
  • Water bath
  • Blender
  • Piping bag and nozzle 2
  • Muslin cloth


Place the chopped oxtail and vegetables in a large bowl or dish and add the thyme and star anise. Pour over the red wine and leave to marinate for 24 hours
After this time remove and drain the oxtail from the marinade, reserving the liquor for later. Place a large, heavy-bottomed pan over a medium heat and, once hot, seal the oxtail on all sides
Drain any excess fat from the pan, then return the oxtail to the heat and deglaze with the vinegar. Stir in the tomato purée and allow to cook out for 1 minute
Preheat the oven to 160°C/gas mark 3
Pour the reserved marinade over the meat and cook for 15–20 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced by three-quarters. Add the beef stock, bring the liquid to the boil then skim off any excess fat from the surface. Cover with a lid and transfer to the oven to cook for 4 hours
  • 4l beef stock
Preheat a water bath to 85°C
While the oxtail is braising, prepare the artichokes. Mix together all the ingredients for the globe artichokes, place in a vacuum bag and seal. Cook in the water bath for 45 minutes
Meanwhile, mix together the baby artichoke ingredients and seal in a separate vacuum bag. Add the baby artichokes to the water bath with the globe artichokes and cook for 35 minutes
Repeat for the crosnes, sealing in a vacuum bag with the other ingredients and adding to the water bath for 30 minutes. Once cooked, chill all 3 bags in iced water to cool
Meanwhile, infuse the milk for the truffle gel. Place the truffle oil and milk in a pan over a medium heat and bring to the boil, stirring to combine. Remove from the heat, cover the pan with cling film and leave to infuse for 30 minutes
  • 10g of truffle oil
  • 600g of milk
To make the Jerusalem artichoke purée, add the butter to a large, heavy-bottomed pan over a medium heat and cook until it begins to foam. Add the sliced Jerusalem artichokes and a pinch of salt, then cover the pan and allow to cook for 10 minutes until soft, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking
Once soft, add the vegetable stock and bring back up to the boil. Allow to simmer and reduce by half, then stir in the double cream. Bring the mixture back up to the boil briefly, then remove from the heat and transfer to a blender
  • 500g of vegetable stock
  • 50g of double cream
Blend the mixture to form a smooth purée, then season to taste with extra salt and a squeeze of lemon juice if required. Transfer to a piping bag and keep warm until ready to serve
Once the truffle and milk mixture has infused, return the pan to the heat and bring the liquid to the boil. Whisk in the agar agar and simmer for 2 minutes, whisking continuously. Pour into a deep tray and allow to set in the fridge until just before serving
  • 10g of agar agar
Remove the braised oxtail from the heat and allow the meat to cool completely in the cooking liquor. Once cool, remove the meat from the bones, being careful to remove any excess fat. Set the meat aside
Return the cooking liquor to the heat and simmer for 30 minutes until reduced by half. Strain the liquor through a sieve lined with a muslin cloth and reserve until ready to serve
Once set, remove the truffle gel from the fridge and break up into pieces. Blitz in a blender to create a smooth gel and season to taste with salt and lemon juice. Transfer to a piping bag and set aside until ready to serve
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4
Place a large ovenproof frying pan over a high heat and seal the beef fillets on all sides. Transfer to the oven and roast 8 minutes, then set aside to rest for 10 minutes
Meanwhile, add the oxtail meat to a pan with just enough of the reserved sauce to cover and place over a medium heat. Cook for 5–10 minutes until the meat is heated through and the sauce reduces to a sticky coating. Season with lemon juice to taste and keep warm
Add a dash of oil to a frying pan and allow to heat up. Remove the cooked artichokes from the vacuum bags and drain from their cooking liquid, then sauté in the oil over a medium heat for a few minutes until golden brown
  • 1 dash of olive oil
To serve, pipe dots of the truffle gel on to serving plates along with larger dots of the artichoke purée. Scatter the mixed artichokes and sticky oxtail pieces across and grate over a little fresh truffle. Place a piece of beef fillet on each plate and serve immediately

Nigel Mendham has proved himself to be as adaptable as he is talented, prospering in restaurants all over Britain and winning great acclaim for his deftly classical cuisine.

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