Thursday, May 28, 2009

Filet Mignon for the 40th!

My husband Gary turned 40 this month, a big event in anyone’s books and for me time to get cooking planning a meal that would blow the socks off the man I love and leave a food memory for years to come. My plan was to have a huge birthday bash with scores of friends but alas, being the introvert that he is, the ‘do’ of his dreams was an intimate dinner party hosted in our home with special guests that have meant something to him over the past years. Close friends flew in from Colorado and Dallas for the occasion and we gathered in abandon to let the celebrations begin.

I allowed just a couple of my ‘foodie’ friends to bring appetizers including my ‘China-Latina’ friend Deborah who made her famous Chinese Spring Rolls and Chef Ford Fry who made his own soft tacos, Shredded Pork with Guava Sauce topped with Cilantro and finely shredded cabbage along with killer White Sangria. And to top off the appetizer frenzy I baked a couple of my husband’s favorite brie-en-croute dishes with brown sugar, brandy and pecans….and that was just for starters!

When it came to the entrée of choice for the evening I decided on marinated, pan seared and roasted whole beef tenderloin, and actually, I prepared two of them. We then served the beef on top of some grilled asparagus spears with Potato-au-Gratin on the side. It turned out to be wonderfully elegant…

When shopping for beef I always remember my fathers advice, a beef farmer, who advised me to look for marbling in my meat, those thin streaks of fat that give incredible flavor. And so I found just the plump specimen, and was inspired to create a delicious sauce with choice wine and peppercorn. Most chefs use shallots in this sauce but I love the sweet mild flavor of the Vidalia contrasted with the peppercorns. I think it turned out great, and now you can have a go….

Happy birthday G !

Pan Seared Filet Mignon with a Cabernet Peppercorn Sauce
(serves 6)

6 beef filet mignon
3 whole black peppercorns (crushed)
1 ½ tsp Kosher salt
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp oil
½ cup sweet onion (very finely chopped)
2 Tbsp Flour
¼ cup cabernet red Wine
¾ cup of Beef Stock
2 Tbsp pink peppercorns in brine (drained)
4 Tbsp whipping cream


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Season steaks with crushed peppercorns and kosher sea salt. Sear fillets in butter and oil in a medium/high pan for 2 minutes for rare, 3 minutes medium rare and 4 minutes for well done on both sides. Transfer to an ovenproof dish.

Place steaks in oven.

Meanwhile sauté the finely chopped onions in the pan juice with the pink peppercorns. Add the flour and cook for about 2 minutes.

Add red wine and cook for 1 minute. Slowly add the beef stock stirring with a wooden spoon.

Remove steaks from oven to rest.

Pour any juices from the steaks in to the sauce and reduce slightly. Add whipping cream and taste to adjust seasoning.

Strain sauce and serve straight away drizzled over steak.



  1. Sounds delicious! I hope Gary had a wonderful birthday. He is such a treasure-- bravo for putting together a terrific meal. We don't have steak very often due to the budget restraints, but next time we do I'll be sure to try out this recipe. I can't wait!

  2. Happy Birthday Gary! Looks great! I hope that you had a wonderful time! Judith, I am making the coconut cake this weekend for my mother's birthday. I can't wait to eat it!

  3. This was a truly special evening and dinner was superb -- a real 5 star experience!


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