Churchill’s finest fare: Beef fillet tournedos with mushrooms and pimentos

Winston Churchill loved his food, and here, from this hearty beef fillet tournedos to a tempting clafoutis, are some of the dishes – as prepared by his chef Georgina Landemare – that fuelled his struggle against the Nazis.

Wow! These beef fillet tournedos with mushrooms and pimentos are the perfect way to end the day

Wow! These beef fillet tournedos with mushrooms and pimentos are the perfect way to end the day

Wow! These beef fillet tournedos with mushrooms and pimentos are the perfect way to end the day

Serves 6

  • 6 fillet steaks (or 900g/2lb fillet of beef, cut into 3cm-thick rounds)
  • 1tbsp oil 
  • 55g (2oz) butter
  • 4 tomatoes 
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and chopped 
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper 
  • 6 large portobello mushrooms 
  • 1 green pimento, seeded and sliced 
  • 1 red pimento, seeded and sliced 

In a pan, cook the steak in the oil and half the butter for 4-6 minutes each side, or until cooked to your liking. Leave to rest on a plate. Skin and seed the tomatoes. (Cut an X into the bottom of each then blanch for 1 minute. Plunge into cold water then peel the skins off. Quarter, scoop the seeds out and chop the quarters.) Sauté in butter with a very small amount of garlic and season. Cook the mushrooms in the same way, without garlic.

Spoon some tomatoes inside each mushroom. Fry the pimentos lightly and serve with the steaks and the tomato-filled mushrooms, with some potatoes on the side (see recipe below).

Pommes De Terre Boulangère

Serves 4-6

  • 25g (1oz) butter
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 600g (1lb 5oz) potatoes, peeled and sliced 
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper 
  • 568ml (1pt) hot vegetable stock 

Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6. Add the butter to a lidded, ovenproof pan and cook the sliced onions gently on the hob, without colouring them, for 6-8 minutes. Place the sliced potatoes on top of the onions. Season and cover with the hot vegetable stock. Cook in the oven for 40 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through and lightly browned.

Recipes adapted from Churchill’s Cookbook by Georgina Landemare, published by Imperial War Museums, priced £12.99, with additional photography by Will Heap. www.iwm.org.uk.