Saturday, April 19, 2008

Beef Tenderloin Steaks with Mustard-Cognac Sauce

This is an excellent recipe from Bon Appetit. And very easy to make. And it looks like a professional chef has cooked it, so it makes a great presentation meal.

Make sure you use sodium free or low sodium chicken broth. You can even mix chicken and beef broth. Otherwise the sauce will come out very salty.

If you like meat to be medium rare, you can use Jacques Pepin's method of grilling. Sear the steaks in the pan for a couple or three minutes on a side, then transfer them to a 250 degree (or less) oven; let gently cook through. This way you avoid that overcooked exterior and undercooked interior; so you end up with beautiful, even red meat across the width of the steak. Let stand before serving which allows the juices to spread out. You can go on preparing the sauce while the meat is cooking.

If you can, strain the sauce so that you don't have fresh herb bits and pieces to deal with in the sauce. And, try to use fresh herbs whenever you can, it changes the taste quite a bit.


6 (7- to 8-ounce) beef tenderloin steaks (each about 1 1/2 inches thick)
Coarse kosher salt
Cracked black pepper
3 tablespoons canola oil
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, divided
4 garlic cloves, peeled, smashed
2 fresh thyme sprigs
2 fresh rosemary sprigs

1 cup finely chopped shallots
1/2 cup Cognac or brandy
2 tablespoons tawny Port
3 cups low-salt chicken broth
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 250°F. Sprinkle steaks on all sides with salt and pepper. Heat oil in heavy large skillet over high heat. Add steaks and sear until brown, about 2 minutes per side.

Reduce heat to medium-low. Add 3 tablespoons butter, garlic, thyme, and rosemary to skillet. Cook steaks to desired doneness, turning occasionally and basting with pan juices, about 12 minutes for medium-rare.

Transfer steaks to small rimmed baking sheet and keep warm in oven.

Pour contents of skillet into small bowl. Return 3 tablespoons drippings from bowl to same skillet and place over high heat. Add shallots and sauté 2 minutes.

Add Cognac and Port and stir 1 minute, scraping up any browned bits. Add broth and boil until sauce is reduced to 1 cup, about 12 minutes.

Whisk in Dijon mustard, then remaining 3 tablespoons cold butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Arrange steaks on plates; whisk any accumulated juices from baking sheet into sauce. Spoon sauce over steaks and serve.

Makes 6 servings.

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