Thursday, June 30, 2016

Oven Roasted Beef Filet infused with Lime

I discover some filet in the deep recesses of my freezer. The unused remnants of a large tenderloin features in tonight's dinner. Trimmed of visible fat, I portion them into chunks. Then I contemplate their fate. Should I make a simple pan roast with salt and pepper? Or should I aim for a more ambitious roast. A new cookbook has been burning a hole on the shelf. Big Flavors from a Small Kitchen has an innovative take on recipes. There are no titles...just the mains bunched together as a guide. I pour over unusually paired creations. And I joyfully experiment with the chef's leanings. Love blossoms immediately. Chris Honor uses staples from my pantry with more than unusual slants. One such compilation is beef marinated with nigella, coriander and  fenugreek, lime juice, kaffir lime leaves and curry leaves.... Hmmm...Sounds like the beginnings of a pickle. And all items are within arms reach! 

I deviate a little from the original. The filets are rubbed with garlic, salt and pepper. Nigella seeds soak in water while I assemble the marinade. Limes are zested and juiced. Garlic cloves are lightly smashed. Kaffir lime and curry leaves are roughly slivered. Coriander and fenugreek seeds sit in heaps. Nigella seeds are drained and added to the beef along with marinade ingredients for a short steep.  A cast iron pan goes into the oven as it comes to a high temperature, another deviation from the recipe. I find beef roasts best in cast iron. The sizzle sets the tone for the night.

Adapted from Chris Honor's Big Flavors from a Small Kitchen
Serves 4-6

2 pound Beef Filet OR Sirloin
2 tablespoons Nigella seeds
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt 
1 teaspoon ground Black Pepper 
2 teaspoons Garlic powder 
1 tablespoon Coriander seeds
1 tablespoon Fenugreek seeds
20 Curry leaves
12 Kaffir Lime leaves
6 Garlic cloves
4 Limes, zested and juiced
3 tablespoons Olive Oil 
Basil leaves

Trim filet of silver skin. Slice filet into 2-3 inch pieces. Place in a bowl. If you use a sirloin steak, leave the steak as is and follow the recipe.

Soak nigella seeds in water for 20 minutes.

Sprinkle salt pepper and garlic powder over filet. Massage seasonings into meat.

Roughly chop curry leaves and kaffir lime leaves.

Smash garlic lightly.

Add lime juice to filet, along with half the zest.

Drain nigella seeds and add to beef, along with coriander, fenugreek, garlic, curry and kaffir lime leaves and garlic. Massage spices into beef.

Drizzle olive oil over beef, cover and marinate for 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 425F. 

Put cast iron pan into oven to heat. 

Once the oven has reached 425F, use tongs to place beef pieces in the cast iron pan. Add the remaining marinade to the pan.

Roast for 15 minutes for medium rare, 25 minutes for medium, 35 minutes for well done.

Remove beef from oven.

Place on a platter and tent with foil for 5 minutes.

Sprinkle the remaining lime zest on beef.

Garnish with basil leaves.

Slice and serve.

Roasting beef inevitably emits the most pleasing aroma. Cooked in cast iron, the beef emerges crusty but medium rare. Browned spices add layers of flavor and crunch. Lime features predominantly as we slice and dice.  Each bite  is reminiscent of achaar gosht..Indian style meat cooked with similar spices. No need for naan or roti...all this beef needs is a steak knife and good appetite.