Rather than red wine, I much prefer some Cognac and Sherry. Try this:
Thick, top-quality filet mignons. I use 8 ounce filet
mignons. This also works well with ribeyes or NY Strips. If you're not serving a number of other courses, you might opt
for larger ones.
Green peppercorns. If you get them dried, soak them in
Cognac for a day or longer to reconstitute them.
Butter 2 tablespoons
Cognac (brandy can be used)
Dry and sweet Sherry (A little Amontillado sweetness adds a
nice touch to this sauce.)
Shallots 2 cloves, chopped (garlic can be used instead, 4
Dijon mustard, 2 teaspoons
Press plenty of green peppercorns into both sides of each
filet mignon, but don't flatten the filets.
Preheat oven to 140 degrees.
Add a very small amount of peanut oil to a heavy cast iron
skillet, preferably one with a top to minimize splatter. I use a cast
chicken cooker that came with a glass top. You want just enough oil so
that when you heat it, it will just spread out and cover the pan. You
aren't frying the meat; you're pan broiling it. Heat the skillet on high
heat til the oil begins to smoke. Using tongs, add the filets to the pan
and sear on each side for about three minutes.
Remove the filets to a platter, cover with aluminum foil, and place in
Add 2 tablespoons butter to the pan. It will melt quickly.
Stir and scrape the particles off the bottom of the pan. Add the
shallots and cook briefly til they become translucent. Keep stirring and
Then add about 3-4 tablespoons of Cognac and either flame
to burn off the alcohol, or just cook for a minute and the alcohol will
evaporate. Add about 4-5 tablespoons of dry Sherry and continue scraping and
stirring. After it reduces a little, add about
3-4 ounces of heavy cream and 3 tablespoons of sweet Sherry, stirring and scraping all the while.
As it begins to thicken, pour in the juices that have
accumulated on the meat platter
from the oven. When the sauce begins to thicken, remove it from the
burner or it will separate. Add 2 teaspons of Dijon mustard and stir
well. Pour the sauce over the filets and serve.
Wild rice or garlic mashed potatoes goes well with that
You can vary the amounts of the ingredients to taste. It
can be made with black peppercorns, but that can be kind of spicy and
it could overwhelm a good red wine. I also use this recipe for breast of
duck. If you do, cut through the skin and fat, but not into the meat,
and place rows of green peppercorns in the slits. You will also need to
pour of the fat after pan searing the breasts.