Guide to Fillet - Cooking Hints and Tips

Buy Fillet Steaks and Roasts

Low Temperature Cooking

Perfect for almost every cut

Low Temperature Cooking is a fantastic method that can be used for just about every naturally tender cut of beef, lamb, pork and veal. It involves searing the outside of the meat at a high temperature, and then roasting in a very low oven for a lengthy period.

Any size of meat can be cooked using this method, even something as small as a steak. This method is often used on the Continent, where it is considered superior to conventional roasting as there's less drying of the meat and the juices are retained, so the meat stays moist and succulent with a more natural flavour.

A meat thermometer (Buy Here) is essential for good results.

A step by step guide to Low Temperature Cooking:

Step 1

Step 1 -
Prepare the meat and equipment

Before cooking, remove the defrosted meat from its vacuum packaging and pat dry with kitchen paper. Allow the meat to 'bloom' and come to room temperature for at least 30 minutes before cooking. Preheat the oven (with the fan turned off) to 80°C and place a roasting tray in the oven to heat up. Heat a griddle or frying pan on high. Add a little olive oil to the pan, or brush the oil directly onto the meat to avoid using too much. Sear the meat on all sides for the recommended time (see table below) to brown it all over. This will vastly improve both the flavour and appearance of your meat.

Step 2

Step 2 -
Using the meat thermometer

Season the meat with salt and pepper. (Do not season before searing as salt can suck the moisture out of the meat). Place the meat on the preheated roasting tray. Set the meat thermometer to the desired internal temperature (see table below), and insert the probe horizontally into the centre of the meat. Place the meat in the preheated oven with the thermometer cord through the door (the main unit remains outside).

Tip: Always pre-heat the roasting tray as a cold one increases the cooking time. Do not be tempted to transfer the meat to the oven in the same pan used for searing, as this will make the meat cook too quickly.

Step 3

Step 3 -
The cooking process

Keep the oven door closed during cooking. Opening the door lets heat escape and increases the cooking time. When the thermometer beeps your meat is ready to serve straight away. There is no need to rest your meat as it has rested during the cooking process. The lower temperatures allow the meat juices to circulate continually during cooking so the meat stays incredibly tender and the joint is cooked more evenly.

Tip: If your guests are late you can keep the meat warm at 60°C for up to an hour for large joints and 30 minutes for smaller cuts. If your oven does not have a setting as low as 60°C simply switch off the oven.

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Hints & Tips

• Low Temperature Cooking is ideal for roasting the best cuts of meat which are very tender. It is not the same as slow cooking, which is a method of cooking humbler cuts of meat with liquid to tenderise them.

• Any cut of tender meat can be cooked using this method, but we would recommend cooking bone-in products (eg: Fillet Roast on-the-bone) by conventional roasting. Quite simply the higher heat brings more flavour out of the bone, giving you a sweeter, more flavoursome result. It also helps to melt the intrinsic fat in the meat, so the joint bastes itself.

• Oven temperatures can vary, so it may be worth having your oven thermostat checked, or use an oven thermometer to check the temperature before cooking.

Pan to Oven Roasting

Perfect for medium sized cuts

With this method, the meat cuts are first seared in a pan to brown and caramelise the outside and enhance the flavour. Then they are transferred into a preheated oven. This is a fantastic method for medium-sized cuts weighing 250g-1kg (½lb-2¼lb) as it helps the meat stay particularly juicy and succulent. It also gives a better colour than oven roasting alone.

A step by step guide to Pan to Oven Roasting:

Step 1
Step 1 - Prepare the Meat

About thirty minutes before you start cooking, remove the defrosted meat from its vacuum packaging and pat dry with kitchen paper. Spread it out in a single layer to allow the meat to 'bloom' and come to room temperature. This helps your meat cook more evenly and stay tender and juicy.

Step 2
Step 2 - Preheat your oven & Pan

Preheat oven to 230°C / 445°F / Gas 8. Once the frying or griddle pan is very hot, add a little olive oil to the pan, or brush the oil directly onto the meat to avoid using too much. Sear the meat for the recommended time (see table below). When you place the meat into the pan you should hear a sizzle.

Step 3
Step 3 - Cook to your liking

After searing for the recommended time, gently place your meat uncovered on a rack in a roasting tin, and put into the preheated oven. Use the tables (below) as a guide to cooking times or use a meat thermometer. Be careful not to overcook the meat, as this will make it dry and tough.

Step 4
Step 4 - Resting

Remove the meat from the oven. Cover with foil and leave to rest in a warm place for at least 10 minutes. Resting is as important as cooking, as it allows the meat to become warm, moist and tender. Use this time to warm plates, prepare vegetables or make a sauce.

Step 5
Step 5 - Serve your meat

Lay your table with razor-sharp, un-serrated steak knives designed to cut cleanly through the meat. A blunt knife makes the meat seem less tender, and a serrated knife encourages your guests to 'saw', both of which can ruin even the most beautifully cooked meat.

Cooking Times:

Roasting

Perfect for medium to large joints

Roasting in a hot oven is the traditional way to cook large joints of meat. It is a very easy way to cook a nourishing and satisfying meal for a large number of people. This method is suitable for any of the better quality, naturally tender cuts of meat weighing 950g or more. It is not suitable for humbler joints which need to be roasted with liquids for a longer period of time to encourage them to become tender.

A step by step guide to Roasting:

Step 1
Step 1 - Prepare the Joint

Before cooking, remove the defrosted meat from its packaging and pat dry with kitchen paper. Allow the meat to "bloom" and come to room temperature well in advance or for at least 30 minutes before cooking. This is essential to help the meat cook evenly.

Tip: Plan ahead - take your joint out of the freezer to defrost two or three nights before cooking.

Step 2
Step 2 - Preheat your oven

Preheat the oven to the required temperature (see table below). Starting with a very hot oven helps to seal the joint to prevent juices escaping. Then the temperature is reduced to cook it evenly all the way through. Season the joint generously with salt and pepper just before cooking.

Tip: Season at the last minute, otherwise the salt will draw out the juice and dry your meat.

Step 3
Step 3 - Cook to your liking

Cook the meat for the recommended time (see table below), and/or use a digital meat thermometer. A large joint will continue to rise in temperature by a further 3-5°C after it is removed from the oven. Be careful not to overcook, as this will make the meat dry and tough.

Tip: Meat thermometers are so easy to use and take all the guess-work out of roasting.

Step 4
Step 4 - Rest your joint

Once your joint is cooked to your liking it is important to rest it. Place it on a board or platter, cover with foil, then leave in a warm place for at least 20 minutes. Resting is just as important as cooking, as it allows the meat to become warm, moist and tender all the way through.

Tip: You can rest large joints for up to 60 minutes in a warm oven.

Step 5
Step 5 - Carving

For carving we recommend a large wooden carving board. Ensure your carving knife is very sharp as it makes it so much easier to carve neat, even slices. Carve the meat across the grain into slices approximately ½cm (¼") thick (or thicker if preffered) and arrange on a serving dish or individual plates.

Tip: Put a non-slip mat or wet tea towel underneath your carving board to help prevent it slipping.

Cooking Times:

Pan Frying

Perfect for small to medium cuts

Cooking the perfect steak can be a challenge, even for top chefs. That’s because smaller cuts of meat can dry out easily or cook too quickly so they become dry, tough or leathery. We recommend using a heavy frying pan or griddle (ridged pan) rather than an electric grill as you can control the temperature more easily.

A step by step guide to Pan Frying:

Step 1
Step 1 - Prepare the Meat

About twenty minutes before you start cooking, remove the defrosted meat from its vacuum packaging and pat dry with kitchen paper. Spread out your steaks on a board in a single layer. This will allow the meat to 'bloom' and come to room temperature.

Tip: If you need to defrost in a hurry, place the packs under cold running water

Step 2
Step 2 - Preheat your pan

Make sure your griddle or frying pan is preheated to the highest temperature before you start to cook your steaks. It should be hot enough that you hear a sizzle when you place the meat into the pan. Using a pan which is not hot enough can cause toughness. Add a little olive oil to the pan.

Tip: For a healthier option, brush oil directly onto the steaks - you will use less.

Step 3
Step 3 - Cook to your liking

Referring to the table below, fry the steaks for the recommended time, for rare, medium or well done. Fully cook one side first and then the other. Turn your steaks gently and only once to avoid letting out precious juices and drying out the meat. Be careful not to overcook, as this can make your meat dry and tough.

Tip: Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of your steaks.

Step 4
Step 4 - Rest your meat

Use the press-test (watch my
video here) to check if your steaks are done and then rest them. During resting the juices move evenly through the whole steak and the full flavour and tenderness develops. Place the steaks on a rack, so they don't lie in their own juice, cover with foil and leave in a warm place.

Tip: You can rest a steak for up to ten minutes. It's always better to over-rest than under-rest them.

Step 5
Step 5 - Use a good steak knife

Finally, always use a razor-sharp, unserrated knife to cut your steaks. A serrated blade encourages diners to ‘saw’ at their steak which gives the impression of toughness on even the most tender meat. A sharp blade slices cleanly through the steak and enhances the whole eating experience.

Tip: We offer a range of knives, crafted from finest steel and a joy to use.

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