Braised Scotch Fillet with Marsala and Red Wine Sauce

, from Issue #30. September, 2015
Photography by Aaron McLean.
Braised Scotch Fillet with Marsala and Red Wine Sauce

The sauce of this recipe is made from Marsala, a fortified wine from Sicily, prunes, mustard and spices. Served with braised scotch fillet creates a delicious flavour and experience.  

Serves: 6–8


1½ kilogram piece scotch fillet
8 pitted prunes

8 pitted prunes
½ cup Marsala
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 cup red wine
1 cup good beef stock
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Roasted root vegetable mash
2 kilograms of mixed root vegetables
6 garlic cloves 
olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground pepper


Using the rounded end of a wooden spoon, push a hole through the centre of the beef. Push 4 prunes from one end into the beef then repeat from the other side. You can leave out this step. Simply marinate the beef and it will be just as delicious.

Tie the beef with kitchen string to secure.

Marinade: Put all the ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Tip the marinade into a large zip lock plastic bag. Add the beef, squeeze out all the air and seal. Turn the beef to coat in the marinade then refrigerate for 24 hours, turning occasionally.

To cook: Remove the beef from the fridge at least 1 hour before cooking. Lift out the meat and scrape off the excess marinade with a knife. Reserve the marinade.

Season the beef generously with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Heat a casserole dish or large sauté pan with a little olive oil. Add the beef and brown on all sides. Don’t let the base of the pan catch and burn. Cover and cook over a low heat for 20 minutes. Turn the meat over, cover and cook for a further 25 minutes. This will give you medium rare meat. Transfer the beef to a plate, cover loosely and rest for 15 minutes. Don’t wash the pan.

Sauce: Stir the tomato paste and garlic into the pan juices and cook for 2 minutes. Add the red wine and reserved marinade and bring to the boil. Cook at a fast simmer for 5 minutes to cook out the raw wine flavour. Add the beef stock and simmer until syrupy and reduced to 1 cup. There will be a mass of tiny bubbles on the surface, showing it has reduced. Season.

Roasted root vegetable mash: Peel and chop 2 kilograms of mixed root vegetables.

Add 6 unpeeled cloves of garlic, toss with olive oil and season well. Use any combination of parsnips, pumpkin, kumara, carrots and celeriac. Cover and roast in a 200ºC oven until very tender. Pull out the garlic cloves and tip the vegetables into a food processor. Squeeze the garlic out of their skins into the processor. With the motor running, drizzle in 4 tablespoons of cream or milk and process until smooth. Season. Tip into a warm serving bowl.

To serve: Remove the string and carve the beef thinly. Arrange on a serving platter and pour over any meat resting juices. Strain the sauce into a jug and serve separately along with a bowl of horseradish sauce.

Marsala: a fortified wine from Sicily. Dry Marsala can be drunk as an aperitif or added to savoury dishes. The sweet version is also used in cooking, such as in the classic dessert, Zabaglione.

Menu: Serve with Chicken Liver Pate with Red Onion and Pomegranate Molasses Relish to start, and Hazelnut, Chocolate and Date Baklava for dessert.