Want to please a Brazilian? Cook shrimp. Want to please an Englishman? Cook meat.
That’s what I’ve learned after 15 years of living in England. I am not a huge fan of filet mignon normally. It might be the most tender of cuts, but it lacks flavour. I personally prefer meat that’s off the bone and has a little fat.
Bone, by the way, has actually become very popular. The most revered restaurants in the world now serve marrow as a delicacy. With champagne, oysters and scallops. Let’s get back a time when the only mouths hankering after marrow belonged to dogs. Good times! Returning to the meat. If you think about it, filet mignon dishes always come with a wonderful butter-rich French sauce. This is to give the meat more taste.
This recipe is a different way of doing things. Instead of frying it, you cook it in an extremely potent sauce. After letting the sauce simmer for some time, you toss in your strips of filet mignon to cook quickly. You can cut the meat into cutlets, steaks, or however you like. The rarer you like it, the less time it takes. Let’s get on with the recipe…
Recipe for 4 people
- 700g of filet mignon (the middle part is the most tender. Leave the Chateaubriand, the head of the filet, to make another dish)
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- Fond Brun de Veau (meat stock)
- 1.5kg of bone (with marrow and trimmings)
- 250g of diced onion
- 125g of diced carrots
- 125g of diced celery
- 1 bouquet garni of bay leaves, parsley and thyme.
- 25g of tomato extract
- Water (to cover)
- A pinch of salt
To reduce the sauce
- 1 small spoonful of olive oil
- 50g of chopped onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 juniper berries
- A pinch of salt
- 30g of sugar
- 2 sprigs of thyme
- 250ml of red wine
- 150g of butter
- 500ml of the broth
Place the bones in a baking dish and bake in the oven for 25 minutes at 200º C. Remove from the oven. Take a large saucepan and sauté the onion, carrot and celery in a little oil. Add the bones and a pinch of salt. Sauté again. Add the tomato paste and sauté for a further 3 minutes. Add the water so that all ingredients are submerged. Add the bouquet garni and cook over high heat. After bringing to the boil, lower the heat. Remove the foam that forms on top of the broth. Cook for 6 – 8 hours. Add water when necessary. Strain and separate the broth.
For the sauce
Sauté the onion and garlic in olive oil. Add the sugar, a pinch of salt, the berries and the thyme. Sauté for a while and add the wine. Let the sauce reduce by up to half and then add 500 ml of the broth. Cook over high heat to help reduce the sauce. When you have reduced the sauce by more than half, add butter and stir well. The butter adds a shine and thickens the sauce a little.
Cut the fillet into thick strips. Season with salt and pepper. Add the strips to the bubbling sauce. Cook in the sauce for 4 minutes (depending on how you prefer your meat cooked and the thickness of the strips). If you prefer it well done, let it cook a little longer.
Serve with potatoes or rice. If you fancy, throw some fresh mushrooms into the sauce: it’s delicious. Finish off with a dash of truffle oil.