Beef fillet with chimichurri

It’s set to be sizzling this weekend so if you’re looking for that extra kick to add to your braai repertoire, consider beef fillet chimichurri.
There are many stories as to where chimichurri originally came from but we like the one that tells of an Irishman, Jimmy McCurry, who was marching with Argentinian troops in the 19th century and made the sauce. The recipe was a hit but calling it ‘Jimmy McCurry’ didn’t exactly roll off the tongue for the Argentinians so they opted for the jolly ‘chimichurri’. We like it.

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One beef fillet
4 garlic cloves
1/2 cup red wine
Juice of 1 lemon
4 glugs olive oil

For the chimichurri:
1 big bunch parsley, chopped
125ml olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
2 garlic cloves, chopped
A handful of chillies, chopped (use to taste!)
A few sprigs of fresh oregano

1. Trim your fillet to remove any sinew.
2. Peel four cloves of garlic, then make four little incisions in your fillet at equal intervals and tuck them in.
3. You can then truss your fillet (as seen here). Trussing your fillet is by no means essential but it does help the meat to cook evenly. To truss your fillet, tuck the tail over so it is the same thickness as the thick part of the fillet. Trussing it beautifully with string can take quite a bit of practice but the overall aim is for a fillet that is shaped evenly all over, this will avoid the thinner/tail end of the fillet cooking too quickly. Tie string round the fillet at the base, direct the string up the fillet, then wrap underneath and bring over and under the straight piece of string. Continue until you have reached the end, then tie a small knot. Trussing also has the added benefit of keeping the meat neat and tidy and means it is easier to handle on the braai.
4. For the marinade, mix together your red wine, lemon juice and 4 glugs of olive oil. Marinade your fillet for 30 minutes. If you are using a flavour injector, you can inject a little marinade into your fillet at this stage.
5. Make your chimichurri sauce before your fillet goes on the braai. Chimichurri has quite a kick so use the chilli at your discretion. Place all the ingredients into a pestle and mortar and grind away.
6. Once your braai is ready (it should not be piping hot and there definitely shouldn’t be roaring flames), place the fillet on the grill. Turn frequently. Be careful not to over-cook your fillet. You can baste your fillet with your marinade whilst it cooks.
For rare: aim for 10-12 minutes per 450g
For medium: aim for 12-15 minutes per 450g
For well done: 15-18 minutes per 450g (Think twice about this! Fillet is such an exceptional cut of meat, it tastes better when not overcooked.)

If using a meat thermometer, your fillet will be rare at 60°C, medium at 70°C and well done at 75°C.
When cooked to your liking, let your meat rest a while. Then slice thinly and serve with salad or make the ultimate prego roll. Wondrous.

Recipes and styling by Jules Mercer

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