Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Beef Tenderloin with Port Wine Sauce

I went back to an old favorite tonight since filet mignon or beef tenderloin by its other name was on sale this week at Market Street. Technically, filet mignon is from the small end of a beef tenderloin. All parts of the tenderloin are lean enough to be part of a healthy meal. A 3-ounce serving has less total and saturated fat than the same amount of chicken thigh meat. Regardless of how it can fit in to a healthy diet, it is just darn good. It is almost tender enough to cut with a fork and it very easy to cook inside without firing up the grill.

For tonight's dinner, I seared it in a cast iron skillet in a little oil after seasoning it simply with salt and pepper. Then a few shallots and cranberries got a quick saute before the port wine and beef broth were added to deglaze the pan. The liquids got cooked down quite a bit and then Worcestershire Sauce, balsamic vinegar and Dijon mustard went in and were allowed to cook briefly. I like to finish this sauce with a tablespoon of butter whisked in at the end to smooth out and enrich this sauce. The beef tenderloin gets served with the sauce spooned over it and topped with blue cheese crumbles. The tender beef served with the sweet port wine sauce containing the sweet and tart cranberries all topped with blue cheese is the perfect blend of flavors.

My side dishes were buttermilk mashed potatoes and haricot verts (french green beans) which were blanched and then sauteed with caramelized shallots and finished with a little Dijon mustard.

This is one of my all time favorite beef dishes.

Adapted from Cuisine at Home for Two
Filets Mignon with Port Sauce, Dried Cranberries and Blue Cheese
2 6-ounce beef tenderloin filets, 1 1/2" thick, seasoned with salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons shallots, sliced
1 tablespoon dried cranberries
3/4 cup port wine
1/4 cup low-sodium beef broth
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons blue cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Saute seasoned filets in 1 tablespoon oil in a nonstick (I used cast iron) skillet over medium-high heat. Cook 4 minutes, flip steaks, and saute an additional 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate, tent loosely with foil, and let filets rest 5 minutes. It should read between 130-135 on a meat thermometer for medium-rare.

Saute shallots and cranberries in 1 tablespoon oil in same skillet over medium heat 1 minute. Deglaze with port and broth, then increase heat to high and boil until reduced by two thirds. Stir in Worcestershire, balsamic, and Dijon; simmer 1 minute. Reduce heat to low, and whisk in 1 tablespoon unsalted butter. Drizzle sauce over filets.

Garnish with blue cheese.

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