Fillet of beef with braised oxtail, textures of onion and morel Madeira sauce

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This is a wonderful celebration of beef from chef Simon Haigh, where he pairs a prime fillet of beef with braised oxtail and a Madeira sauce made with veal glace. If you can't get hold of the glace, simply reduce 500ml of beef stock by half. The addition of morels makes this a great dish for early spring.

First published in 2015





Braised oxtail


Madeira sauce

Shallot purée

Onion relish

  • 3 red onions, thinly sliced
  • 40g of brown sugar
  • 40ml of sherry vinegar
  • 30ml of vegetable oil


  • Deep fat fryer
  • Twine
  • Fine strainer


For the oxtail, cut the oxtail into sections and tie butchers twine around the meat - this will help it hold its shape and ensure a more consistent finish
Coat the base of a large pan with vegetable oil and place on a medium-high heat. Seal the oxtail until dark golden on all sides. Remove from the pan and set aside
  • vegetable oil
Pour in a little more oil and add in the carrot, leek, onion, garlic, and thyme. Lightly brown the vegetables and then pour in the red wine. Cook until reduced by half
Return the chicken stock and oxtail to the pan. Bring to the boil, cover and reduce to a very gentle simmer. Cook for 3 hours or until the meat starts to fall off the bone
  • chicken stock
Remove from the heat and allow to cool. While still warm, remove the middle tail bone/cartilage. This can be done by pressing the centre bone until it slides through and is released from the surrounding meat. Try to keep the meat as intact as possible. Reserve some of the cooking liquor to use in step 19
Fill the hole with your chosen ingredient(s). Simon recommends using chicken mousse, mushrooms and bacon, which is then reheated before serving, or, the bone can be left in and served whole, if you prefer
For the Madeira sauce, preheat the oven to 160˚C/gas mark 3. Add the shallots, garlic and thyme to a deep roasting tray and roast until golden, approximately 20-30 minutes
Add the mushrooms and continue to roast until all the moisture has been released and evaporated from the tray, but not burnt
Pour in the vinegar and scrape with a wooden spoon to deglaze and release all the browned ingredients from the base of the tray
Pour into a saucepan, add the Madeira and reduce by half. Add the stock and veal glace and reduce to achieve a syrup-like consistency. Strain and set aside
  • 500ml of Madeira
  • 500ml of chicken stock
  • 250ml of veal glace
For the shallot purée, add the shallots, garlic and chicken stock to a pan and simmer until tender. Add the double cream and thyme, reduce until thick. Blend until smooth, pass through a fine strainer, season and set aside until required
For the onion relish, heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the onions and cook over a moderate heat until browned and soft. Add the sugar and vinegar
  • 3 red onions
  • 40g of brown sugar
  • 40ml of sherry vinegar
  • 30ml of vegetable oil
Turn the heat down and continue cooking until the liquid has evaporated and the onion relish has become a rich dark red/brown colour. Season to taste
For the garnish, peel away the outer layers of the leeks and wash thoroughly. Slice in half lengthways but leave the root intact. Peel and half the baby onions through to the root
Add a small amount of vegetable oil to a pan and place over a medium heat. Place the leek and onion, skin-side down, and cook until lightly browned. Add a dash of chicken stock and knob of butter. Cook down until the vegetables are tender, but still hold their shape. Season to taste before serving
Cut the morels in half lengthways. Add a large knob of butter into a pan over a medium heat, once foaming, add the mushrooms and cook for 2-3 minutes. Season to taste and add to the Madeira sauce
For the crispy shallots, leave the shallot rings in milk for 1 hour - this will help the rings cook and colour evenly once fried. Drain and then lightly coat in flour before deep frying at 170˚C. Drain on absorbent kitchen towel, season and keep warm
Preheat the oven to 200˚C/gas mark 6. Coat the base of a large pan with vegetable oil and place on a high heat. Season the beef fillets and cook in a hot pan until golden on both sides. Reduce the heat and add a large knob of butter to finish in the pan
For a rare steak, you do not need to cook the steak further in the oven. For a medium-rare steak, place in the preheated oven for 1 minute (increase this number by 2 minute increments for medium, medium-well and well-done finishes). Remove the steaks from the oven and set aside to rest for 4 minutes
Pour a little of the cooking liquor over the oxtail and reheat in the oven for 10-15 minutes. Reheat the purée in a separate pan
Spoon some of the purée across each plate and arrange the hot oxtail in the centre. Slice each portion of beef in half and place either side of the oxtail
Place 2 pieces of leek and 4 onion halves around the plate. Add a quenelle of hot onion relish on top of the oxtail and sauce. Place the morels over the beef and serve immediately

Simon Haigh cut his teeth at the famed Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, working with Raymond Blanc, whom he cites as a key inspiration to this day.

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