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Boeuf à la Ficelle AKA Beef on a String

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Boeuf à la FicelleWhen I buy a slab of pricey beef tenderloin, my thoughts go to roasting or grilling the tender roast. But this week, for our French Fridays featured recipe, Dorie Greenspan has us poaching our meat. Poaching, you say? Poaching on a string??? Yes, Boeuf à la Ficelle translates to beef on a string as our tied tenderloin has a tail of string which makes for easy removal from the veggie and herb infused bouillon in which it’s poached. And this fancy pants beef was what Dorie served as her New Year’s Eve entree each year.
Boeuf à la Ficelle (2)
Bill gave this Boeuf à la Ficelle rave reviews, and I must admit the house smelled incredible after the process of making the beef bouillon with marrow and ox-tail bones. The poaching resulted in a gray mass of meat, but quite rare in the center. Dorie suggests pouring hot broth over the meat if it’s too rare for your liking. I took her advice as the hubby likes his beef just short of mooing…and I’m more of a medium rare gal. The veggies were incredibly tasty, but the tenderloin slices were a bit bland despite their flavorful poaching medium. A sprinkle of fleur de sel and a bit of the recommended Dijon mustard and fresh horseradish accompaniments were enough to change my tune…I agreed with Bill. It was marvelous. And he even took a bite of some celery root and proclaimed it “not bad.”  But I can’t help thinking how much easier it would be to cover a tenderloin in bacon and pop it in a hot oven for 25 minutes instead.

This recipe can be viewed in full on the Splendid Table website.

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41 comments on “Boeuf à la Ficelle AKA Beef on a String”

  1. Ah see I knew Mr Neil and Bill had a lot in common – Neil likes his beef to moo on the plate too! I liked how you could customise the “doneness” with the broth. A surprising hit!

  2. It does look good. I’m with you on the medium-rare side. And I think “not bad” is a pretty good review from Bill, at least when referring to something he doesn’t usually eat!
    Thanks for your candid review.

  3. Ooooh…bacon. I need to convince matt to include some bacon in his tenderloin preparations in the future. It shouldn’t take much convincing. Glad that Bill was on board with this one!

  4. I must admit, Liz, this is an interesting concept. I’m not sure I would be willing to give it a try at the price of beef lately. Poaching isn’t something I do often enough but now that you mentioned the bacon, well, I may not be poaching beef any time soon. I’m glad it was a success at you abode:) Thanks for sharing, Liz…

  5. I like my beef almost mooing too!! I can’t wait to try this.

  6. I can hardly get my husband to touch meat if it is pink so this one was hard this week. I am glad your husband liked it though! 🙂

  7. This was good enough to make again in my house! Love that you got every ingredient taken care in this dish!

  8. Oh wow – that looks so delicious! Your plating looks amazing – as always!!!

  9. Wow poaching beef, how different. the results do look ever so tempting. Yum on the marrow and celery root 🙂

  10. Yes, Joe likes his meat to speak back at him too.
    So nice that Bill and Dorie are back on terms with each other. Lovely job, Liz.

  11. Dear LIzzy, This does sound nice and glad that your hubby enjoyed it too. I tend to gravitate to the bacon wrapped meat myself though.
    Have a beautiful weekend. Blessings dear. Catherine xo

  12. Such a funny name for such a wonderful sounding dinner! I’d be like you Liz, a bit hesitant about poaching such a nice cut of meat. But it sounds like the results were worth it!

  13. Wow, I’ve never tried poaching meat before either but it sounds like you had great results and so glad Bill loved it too 🙂

  14. Haha such a gourmet name 😀
    Delicious looking beef!

    Choc Chip Uru

  15. I love your final sentence! I’ve had poached beef before and loved it. I found it to be very tender and yes, it was served rare. I think this meal looks extremely French and I’m glad to hear Bill’s had another good meal – that must be three in a row. Is that a record? xx

  16. Yay, another winner for Bill. I liked this, but like you, probably won’t make again.

  17. Howard was definitely on board this week. I liked it but, like you, it seems like a fancy cut of meat like this should be grilled or roasted.

  18. I’ve only had poached beef once and maybe it was just the way it was done but not my favorite. I’m one of those, ‘less is better’ when it comes to what I do with beef. This does look amazing and maybe I should try it. 🙂

  19. I am sure that it is delicious but I think I’d prefer to roast it and serve it with the vegetables .

  20. I’m sorta getting weary of Bill liking everything. It’s fun to see you have to scramble bit, I must admit. Basically I am not a mean-spirited person. However, I bet the all-white action next week is not going to go down easily with him. Your beef and veggies are beautiful to see. That’s exactly how I like my meat, rare to medium rare. I am making this next week along with the all-white salad. After everyone’s mostly good comments, I am looking forward to pulling this meal together.

  21. Funnny and a litte bit fancy about the name of dish,
    i love poached thinly sliced of wagyu beef ribs, but never try it with loin, tempting to try!!!

  22. I haven’t had tenderloin in such a long time, it sounds amazing:@)

  23. You cook and bake so well, Liz. The beef looks perfectly tender and delicious.

  24. Yeah that was my first worry that it might turn out kind of bland. Still, tenderloin is tenderloin.

  25. I wouldn’t have considered making the broth from scratch… but maybe some day, just to have the aromas that you had in your house. So glad Bill enjoyed.

  26. thats how we wanted to make ours too! wrapped in bacon! 🙂

    At least Bill loved it! I bet if you made a list of the recipes that Bill “loved” it wouldn’t be too awful long for FFWD but it would contain many of the group favorites! : )

  27. That beef looks SUPER amazing!!! So tender and perfectly cooked…..oooooh I wish I lived at your house (as I think multiple times a week) 😛

  28. No mooing beef for me either. I like mine two steps from being burned and would have had to use lots of hot broth. Frank would love this fancy pants beef just as you’ve presented it, veggies and all!

  29. Lol. It’s hard to say no to bacon, isn’t it? But this looks very tender to me! Thanks for sharing Liz!

  30. My husband likes his steaks blue (or as I say a good vet could bring it back to life meat). However, I am with you and like mine more on the medium rare side and a good splash of hot broth would be perfect. Gorgeous photos and wishing you a splendid weekend.

  31. Oh I can practically smell this through the screen, I can only imagine how wonderful your kitchen smelled! This would be wonderful on a rainy Sunday afternoon.

  32. This certainly was a hit with all the meat eaters in my family! Glad both of the Bills enjoyed this week! Your photo makes this look so appetizing…lovely!! Have a great weekend, Liz!

  33. My stomach is rumbling.

  34. Such a beautiful tender piece of beef…perfectly done, just the way I like it! Pricey…yes, but so well worth it for a special occasion! xoxo

  35. It always makes me happy when your hubby loves a recipe. 🙂 I can see why with this amazing dish. 🙂

  36. I am so utterly impressed that you made the broth. Well done. And don’t even get me started on how stunning those photos are. I think you are going to need to rename your blog “that skinny chick can bake and take stunning photos” 😉 . And of course, happy to hear the hubby enjoyed it. I think we had many a happy hubby with this one…..

  37. Lovely photos! Yours looks terrific! You are right though- it needed that little boost from the fleur de sel and a dab of horseradish sauce. It was a perfect dish then! Glad you enjoyed!

  38. That’s unusual. It looks good though!

  39. P.S. I just read your recipe again, because it was intriguing…your last line had me laughing! Haha!

  40. Bacon sounds great, and more attractive than the gray mass of meat that came out after poaching! Gorgeous presentation! Did your bouillon take all afternoon too? I thought was a bit too labor intensive for a dish that was supposed to be about the ease for entertaining.

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