Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Eve and Filet Mignon

For our Christmas Eve dinner, we made this dish:

Filet Mignon with Shallot Pepper Cream Sauce

·         1/4 cup coarsely crushed black peppercorns
·         4 (6 ounce) beef tenderloin filets, 1 1/2 inches thick
·         salt to taste
·         2 tablespoons butter
·         1 teaspoon olive oil
·         1-2 shallots, finely chopped
·         ½ cup beef broth
·         ½  cup heavy cream

Preheat an oven to 275F.

Place the peppercorns into a shallow bowl. Sprinkle the beef tenderloin filets with salt on both sides, and coat both sides with crushed peppercorns. Place the filets on a cutting board or dish and cover with foil. Let the filets sit at room temperature for 45-60 minutes.

After the filets have warmed, place them in a pan and put the pan in the pre-heated oven. Cook the filets until they have reached an internal temperature of 95F (12-15 minutes). Once the filets have reached an internal temperature of 95F, take the filets out of the oven.

Melt the butter with the olive oil over high heat in a non-stick pan until the foam disappears from the butter. Gently place the steaks in the pan, and cook until they start to become firm and are reddish-pink and juicy in the center, about 3-4 minutes per side. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read 125 degrees F (52 degrees C). When the filets are done to your liking, remove them from the pan and cover tightly with foil.

Cook the shallots in the pan for 1-2 minutes, then pour the beef broth into the pan and use a whisk to stir the broth and scrape up any dissolved brown flavor bits from the skillet. Whisk in the cream, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter, then simmer the sauce until it is reduced and thickened, 5 to 6 minutes.  Once the sauce has thickened to your liking, place the steaks back in the skillet, turn once to coat with sauce, and serve with the remaining sauce.

In this image above, you can see the filets covered by aluminum foil as I simmered and reduced the shallot and pepper cream sauce.  The trick to cooking a perfect medium rare filet mignon is heating the filets to approximately 95F before you cook them in the pan.  The filets cook through evenly and you do not burn or singe the outside of the filets.

To compliment the filets, we enjoyed a bottle of St. George Skouras, which was recommended by our personal sommelier, Amy Ruis, who is the proprietor of Art of the Table.

And I am happy to report that Deirdre's reindeers were in attendance as well.

We served Roasted Garlic and Olive Oil Cous Cous and Deirdre's Famous Tossed Greens with the filets.  All in all, not a bad way to spend Christmas Eve.

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