Filet of Beef au Poivre

This classic French bistro dish is a bit expensive, but it's quick to make. Most recipes call for beef demi-glace (you don't even want to know how long it takes to make that!), but I think this has all the flavor without the hassle. Serve it with crisp potatoes, and your friends will think they're in Paris.

  • 6 filets mignon, cut 1 1/4 inches thick
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 cup chopped shallots (3 to 4 shallots)
  • 1 cup canned beef broth
  • 1/2 cup good cognac or brandy

    Place the filets on a board and pat them dry with paper towels. Sprinkle the filets with salt and then press the black pepper evenly on both sides. Allow to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes.

    Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the butter and the oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat until the butter almost smokes. Place the steaks in the pan and lower the heat to medium. Saute the steaks for 4 minutes on one side and then for 3 minutes on the other side, for medium rare. Remove the steaks to a serving platter and cover tightly with aluminum foil.

    Meanwhile, pour all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the sauté pan. Add the shallots and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the beef broth and cook over high heat for 4 to 6 minutes, until reduced by half, scraping the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the cognac and cook for 2 more minutes. Off the heat, swirl in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Serve the steaks hot with the sauce poured on top.

    Excerpted from Barefoot in Paris by Ina Garten. ©2004, Clarkson Potter, New York, New York. Photography by Quentin Bacon.

     

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