Celebrating British Food & Cooking
Victoria & Albert
When the young Queen Victoria married her cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, in February 1840 I’m sure the last thing on her mind was how he liked his beef cooked. This recipe, fillet of beef Prince Albert, is named in his honour. Although it’s a British classic I can’t say I have ever seen it on a restaurant menu.
They were married for only 21 years with Albert dying early in December 1861 after fathering nine children. Victoria and Albert are credited with starting many trends including the indoor Christmas tree and the white wedding dress.
The Great Stink of 1858
Albert is also credited with being influential in the decision to give London a proper sewerage system after The Great Stink of 1858. At that time the river Thames was so polluted with sewage that MPs suggested moving parliament which was and still is on the north bank of the river to St Albans on the outskirts of London because of the smell!
Anyway, enough of the history lesson and back to Albert’s beef fillet.
It is an extravagant dish of beef fillet with a filling of pate de foie gras, wrapped in bacon and served with a vegetable sauce containing both cognac and Madeira wine.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What is Fillet of Beef Prince Albert?
Named in honour of Queen Victoria’s husband Prince Albert, this style of fillet steak is filled with pate de foie gras and wrapped in bacon.
Who was Prince Albert?
Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha was Queen Victoria’s cousin and later husband who married in 1840.
What is pate de foie gras?
Pate de foie gras is made from livers of ducks or geese fattened by gavage, a form of force-feeding which enlarges the liver dramatically. Foie gras is protected under French law but is controversial and banned in many other countries.
Here’s the Recipe …
Fillet of Beef: Prince Albert
- 3 tbsp sunflower oil
- 1 onion sliced
- 1 garlic clove finely chopped
- 2 carrots diced
- 2 celery stalks thinly sliced
- 1 kg beef fillet trimmed
- 75 g duck liver pâté parfait
- sea sal
- freshly ground black pepper
- ½ tsp truffle oil optional
- 6-8 rindless streaky bacon rashers
- 3-4 fresh bay leaves
- 100 ml cognac
- 200 ml Madeira
- 150 ml fresh beef stock
- handful chopped fresh parsley
- creamed potatoes
- green beans
- Heat two tablespoons of the oil in a frying pan. Fry the onion, garlic, carrots and celery for 10-12 minutes, or until softened and golden-brown. (You may need to increase the heat toward the end of the cooking time to encourage the vegetables to brown.) Spoon the cooked vegetables into a casserole dish.
- Place the beef fillet onto a chopping board. Cut a pocket in the side of the fillet, leaving a 2cm/1in gap at each end. (Make sure that you only make an incision halfway into the meat and that you don’t cut the meat into two pieces).
- Cut the pâté into 1.5cm/½inwide strips, place them inside the pocket and drizzle with the truffle oil, if using. Close the pocket to encase the filling. Season the beef all over with sea salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper.
- Wrap the beef in the bacon rashers and secure with kitchen string. Place a bay leaf between the bacon and string every other rasher. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
- Heat the frying pan and add the remaining oil and brown the beef fillet in the frying pan for 10-12 minutes, or until the bacon is crisp and golden-brown. Place the beef fillet on top of the vegetables.
- Remove all but two tablespoons of fat from the frying pan and stir in the flour. Slowly add the cognac, stirring constantly. Once the mixture is boiling, add the Madeira, followed by the beef stock. Bring the liquid to a simmer then pour immediately around the beef. Cook the beef in the oven for 30-35 minutes for rare beef, or 40 minutes for medium-rare.
- Carefully remove the beef onto a chopping board, cover with a piece of foil and two tea towels. Return the casserole to the hob and simmer for 2-3 minutes, or until the liquid thickens slightly. Strain through a fine sieve into a warmed jug. Carve the beef into thick pieces.
- Pour some of the sauce into six deep plates. Place the beef on top and garnish with fresh parsley and serve with creamed potatoes and green beans.