Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Pan-Seared Filet Mignon with Mushroom Wine Sauce

I am not a big beef-eater. I mean, I like it just fine when I have it, but I don't feel the need to gorge on red meat every day. I think that stems from the fact that my dad is a Meat-and-Potatoes guy who didn't think that it was a real meal unless there was some sort of 4-legged animal on the plate. Growing up, beef was on the menu at least 3 out of the 7 days, and of course, in order to swing that, we had a lot of the cheaper cuts: ground beef, cube steak and pot roast for example.

I remember the first time I ever had filet mignon I was stunned at how tender it was with no sign of gristle running through it interrupting every bite, which was my recollection of cube steak. Last night I wanted to treat myself to something special, and I was craving beef, so I opted for a little home-cooked filet. I started by pan-searing the meat on both sides to develop a crust, and then roasting it in a preheated pan really hot oven. Topped off with a mushroom-wine sauce, and you've got everything you need: the tender meat which literally almost melts in your mouth, and the rich flavor of the sauce.

Pan-Seared Filet Mignon with Mushroom Wine Sauce

  • beef tenderloin cut into two 1-1/2 in. - 2 in. thick filet mignons
  • butter
  • salt
  • pepper
For the sauce:
  • 3 T butter
  • 2 T chopped shallot
  • 1/4 cup cremini mushrooms, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine (I used a Bordeaux)
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1 T tomato paste
  • 1/2 t sugar
  • 2 T fresh thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste

  • Preheat the oven to 450 F.
  • Line a roasting pan with aluminum foil and spray lightly with olive oil cooking spray and place in the oven to preheat for 30 minutes.
  • Season the filets with salt and pepper on both sides and let come to room temperature
  • Place a heavy skillet over high heat and melt 1 T butter. Sear the filets for 3 minutes on each side, flipping with tongs, NOT a fork. You don't want to pierce the meat.
  • Once the meat has browned on both sides, remove from the skillet and place in the preheated roasting pan and roast for 4 to 6 minutes for rare, 6 to 8 minutes for medium-rare, or 8 to 10 minutes for medium. If the filets are thicker cut, opt for the longer cooking times of the ranges given.
  • Take the meat out and let rest on a plate, tented with foil.
  • While the meat is roasting, melt 3 T butter over medium-high heat in the same pan you seared the meat in. Add the chopped shallots and mushroom and stir up all the browned bits (fond) from searing the meat.
  • Cook for 2 minutes and then add the wine, bring to a boil and really scrape up all of the fond. Once most of the wine has cooked down, add the beef broth, thyme, sugar and tomato paste and let reduce. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as necessary.
  • Additionally, you can stir in 2 T cold butter to the sauce, but this is good as-is.
  • Slice the meat across the grain and serve with the sauce.

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