Friday, October 8, 2010

Luxurious Leftovers : Filet a la Pepe Verde

  Last night we were fortunate enough to be thoroughly spoiled with a five star dining experience hosted by our friend Nancy. I marveled at how easily she took some very basic ingredients and created an extremely elegant feast. This is just the kind of get together I enjoy, fresh food put together in such a way as to transform it from a simple meal into an celebration of food and friendship. 

     Nancy masterfully created a family favorite of hers and has graciously allowed me to share her recipe here. I’m grateful for her friendship, the sumptuous meal and the doggie bag we will enjoy for our dinner tonight in the form of filet a la pepe Verde sandwiches.

Filet Mignon with Peppercorns

8 Filet mignons
1/2-cup cream
1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup brown sauce*
4 Tbsp brandy
3 Tbsp green peppercorns chopped fine
1 tsp mustard (spicy brown)
2 Tbsp flour

Sprinkle the filet mignons with flour.  In a heavy pan melt the butter.  
Cook the filets at medium-high heat 3 to 4 minutes on each side.  
Add the brandy to the meat and let it reduce over high heat.  
Remove the filet mignons, arrange them on an oven proof serving dish and put in the over for a few seconds.
if you flambe~use caution~ have a fire extinguisher~adults only
 Pour the brown sauce, cream, 3 Tbsp of chopped green peppercorns and the mustard in the pan.
Let it cook for a few minutes until nice and thick.  
Pour the sauce over the filet mignons and serve immediately.

*Brown Sauce
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
1-1/2 cups consommé

Melt butter and flour and mix well with a whisk.  Once light golden color add 1-1/2 cups consommé and let it reduce over high heat.

Now layer with the 35 years of experience in cooking this delight......
-  Purchase an eye of the round roast  -- I cut my own 1 to 1-1/2" thick steaks (left over roast tips go to a beef stew later week)

-  Double the brown sauce (I like the sauce)

-  Brandy  -- always always always use Courvoisier  - tried other brands of brandy and the flavor totally wrong

-  Mustard - always use Dijon - tried other brands of mustard and the flavor was just icky and fought with other flavors in the sauce

- 2 Tbsp green peppercorns are better than 3.  The 3 Tbsp overpower the sauce

- Canned milk won't cut it.  If you don't have cream, use regular milk.  The word ICKY comes to mind plus you end up with "sweet" tasting sauce.

- The recipe doesn’t call for a flambé - but it was noted by the chef that this was key in flavor - and to let the brandy warm up in the pan and then flambé.  Remember to watch your hair :-o

- Have the platter already warm in the oven so when the beef is ready you can transfer without it getting cold from the platter 

 -  Cooking for a crowd, platter will let you move the rare and medium rare to the oven while the other medium/medium well continue to cook.  When all are done return to the plan for the one flambé

- I gauge the amount of butter and flour needed by "feel".  Sometimes I add more butter to the pan to cover more filets and know that I have to compensate with same amount of flour to keep the sauce from being too thin.  

TIP OF THE DAY: I get by with a little help from my friends. Sharing doggie bags with friends after a get together is a wonderful way to relive a memorable dining experience. Tonight we will enjoy open-faced steak sandwiches and remember Nancy’s hospitality. She not only provided me with dinner but also with the gift of time saved by not having to prepare it myself. Next time you have company send them home with the leftovers and give them the gift of a night off from kitchen duty.

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