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Photo by: Joey DeLeo
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This dish began as a variation on a French recipe called boeuf à la fìcelle (literally “beef on a string”), which requires the cook to tie a string around some filet mignon and lower it into a pot of barely simmering broth. I tried it and was stunned by its blandness. It struck me as a scandalous waste of a very expensive cut of meat, and I was ready to junk the whole idea. Then Joanne, my collaborator on this book, noted that though the meat was ruined, the broth was really delicious. So we switched to flank steak (which is much more affordable than filet mignon) and seared it separately. The result turned out to be a great coldweather dish. Serve with crusty bread and Cole Slaw.

Yield : 4 servings
Prep Time : 33 minutes
Cooking Time : 15 minutes


  • 1 medium leek (white part only)
  • 6 cups canned chicken broth or Chicken Stock
  • 2 medium carrots (about 6 ounces), peeled and sliced ½ inch thick
  • 2 medium parsnips (about 10 ounces), peeled and sliced ½ inch thick
  • 2 small turnips (about 8 ounces), peeled, quartered, and sliced ½ inch thick
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 sprig rinsed and dried fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1 Turkish bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound beef flank steak
  • Kosher salt and freshly milled black pepper
  • 1/3 cup sour cream or creme fraiche
  • 1 teaspoon prepared wasabi


1. Halve the leek lengthwise and cut into ½-inch lengths. Soak (see Note). In a large saucepan, combine the leek with the broth, carrots, parsnips, turnips, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil over high heat;reduce the heat to low and simmer until the vegetables are tender, 15 to 18 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat until hot. Reduce the heat to medium-high and add the beef seasoned with salt and pepper. Sauté until well browned on both sides and medium-rare in the center, 8 to 10 minutes total. Remove the beef to a plate; cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest 5 minutes, then slice thinly against the grain.

3. Stir together the sour cream, any juices from the beef plate, and the wasabi; add salt and pepper to taste. Discard the thyme sprig and bay leaf; divide the vegetables and broth among 4 soup bowls. Arrange one-fourth of the beef in the center of each bowl and top each portion with a spoonful of the wasabi cream.


33 minutes

Soak leeks in several changes of water, lifting the leeks out of the water to let any sand sink to the bottom of the bowl; drain well.

© 2005 Sarah Moulton

Nutritional Information

Nutrients per serving (% daily value)

Nutritional information is based on 1/8 teaspoon added salt per serving.

Nutritional information does not include Chicken Stock. For nutritional information on Chicken Stock, please follow the link above.

321kcal (16%)
115mg (12%)
24mg (40%)
307mcg RAE (10%)
49mg (16%)
420mg (17%)
6g (30%)
14g (22%)
3mg (18%)

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