Vaca Filete con Especias (vah-kah fi-yet-ey konn ay-spay-syas), a variation of a Spanish recipe, is an unusual but delicious combination of beef fillet cooked with cinnamon and mace. Serve it with boiled new potatoes and buttered French beans. x
2 lb. fillet of beef
1 TEASPOON salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
4 slices ham, cut into strips
2 garlic cloves, halved
2 oz. butter
10 fl. oz. red wine
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground mace
1 tablespoon beurre manie
Preheat the oven to very hot 450’F (Gas Mark 8, 230′ C). Rub the meat all over with the salt and pepper. Using a sharp knife, make 4 horizontal incisions in the meat to about half way through the fillet so that the meat remains in one piece.
Place a quarter of the ham strips and half of a garlic clove in each incision.
Roll up the fillet with the incisions on the inside and secure with trussing string. Set aside.
In a large flameproof casserole, melt the butter over moderate heat. When the foam subsides, add the fillet to the casserole and cook, turning occasionally, for 12 minutes or until the meat is browned on all sides.
Pour over the wine and add the cinna-mon and mace to the casserole. Place the casserole in the oven and cook for 25 to 30 minutes or until the meat is tender when pierced with the point of a sharp knife.
When the meat is cooked, remove the casserole from the heat. Using two large forks, remove the beef from the casserole and place it on a warmed serving plate. Keep warm while you make the sauce.
Place the casserole over moderately high heat and bring the liquid to the boil. Reduce the heat to moderate, add the beurre manie and cook for a further 5 minutes or until the butter has dissolved and the sauce has thickened.
Pour some of the sauce over the beef and the remainder into a warmed sauceboat. Serve immediately.