Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Fillet Mignon with Port Wine Reduction Sauce
Serves 2 as a main dish


2 Fillet Mignon Steaks
1/2 Shallot (Finely Chopped)
1 Clove of Garlic (Minced)
Fresh Herbs (Thyme, Rosemary)
1/4 Cup Chicken Stock
1/8 Cup Port Wine
Canola Oil (Vegetable Oil)


Take your steaks out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before you start cooking.  It helps if they are room temperature when you start cooking.  Heat up your over to 400 degrees.  There really isn’t much prep work for this dish outside of chopping up a Shallot, a Clove of Garlic, and some Fresh Herbs.  

Generously season both sides of the steak with Salt and Pepper.  Most people do not use enough Salt when seasoning meat, so use a little more than you think you should.  The key to this recipe is getting a good char on the steak by sautéing it before we finish it off in the oven.  Heat up a sauté pan over medium to high heat.  Get the pan nice and hot before you put any oil into it.  You can test to see if you pan is hot enough by splashing a few drops of water into it.  The water should bead up and bounce around the pan.  It is best to avoid using a non-stick pan for this recipe (and nearly any recipe) because non-stick pans do not get hot enough to properly char the steak.  Once the pan is nice and hot, coat the pan with Canola or Vegetable Oil, the oil should move around the pan freely, but should not smoke.  You do not need to use a lot of oil, just enough to coat the pan.  Cooking Tip:  Do not use Olive Oil, it will burn and fill your kitchen with smoke!  Place both steaks into the hot sauté pan turning after 1-2 minutes.  We do not want to cook the steaks in the sauté pan, but we want to get a nice brown char on both sides.  

Cooking Tip:  To prevent the steaks from sticking to the pan, give the pan a little shake 10-15 seconds after putting the steaks in the pan, they will loosen right up.  Once the steaks are browned on both sides, place the whole sauté pan right into the 400 degree oven to finish cooking.  Cooking time will depend on how well done you want your steak, and how thick they are.  Cooking Tip:  It is better to use a meat thermometer than cutting into the steak to test if the steaks are done.  Cutting into the steak will let all the juices run out.  You can use this chart to help guide you with mean doneness.  Keep in mind that the steaks will continue to cook after you remove them from the oven, so take them out about 5-7 degrees before your target doneness.  Since I want my steak medium rare, I remove it from the oven when my instant read thermometer reads about 135 degrees.  

After you take the steaks out, let them rest on a plate or cutting board for 5-10 minutes to let the juices settle and redistribute, do not cut into them, and do not rush this step.  While the steak is resting we can make our pan sauce.  In the same pan used to cook the steak sauté the garlic and shallot over medium heat for 1-2 minutes.  

Keep in mind that the pan handle will be extremely hot.  Make sure to use a kitchen towel or a pan handle cover.  Once the Garlic is fragrant and the Shallots are softened, add the Port Wine to deglaze the pan.  Use a wooden spoon or silicone scraper to scrape all the brown bits off the bottom of the pan, and incorporate them into the sauce.  Let the sauce simmer for 2-3 minutes and then add the Chicken Stock.  I am not big on measuring out ingredients because I think it is a big waste of time, and leaves more dishes to be cleaned.  There is no need to measure out the Port Wine or Chicken Stock.  Just add enough wine to deglaze the pan, and add twice as much chicken stock as port wine.  If you are off by a little, it doesn’t matter, the sauce will still taste delicious.  Add the Fresh Herbs, and bring the sauce back up to a boil and let it reduce for about 5 minutes.  Let it reduce until it thickens to a sauce and is no longer just a liquid.  Season the reduction with Salt and Pepper.

  Plate your steaks, and drizzle the Port Reduction on top.  Serve with Skillet Potatoes and a simple salad.  

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