Filet Mignon with Green Peppercorn Sauce

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Cooking the perfect steak is not an easy task. Getting the temperature just right takes practice. I spent many years of my life as a vegetarian and now that I am eating meat again, filet mignon is my favorite cut of beef. Medium rare is the temperature I strive for. I found this technique on floatingkitchen.net under the how to cook the perfect filet mignon heading, and she isn’t joking around, it is perfect. However, I did add the butter and an extra 4 minutes cooking time in the pan.

Picture above from a restaurant in Florence, Italy, one of my best meals there; filet mignon with green peppercorn sauce, sauce recipe below. Picture below a perfectly cooked filet mignon.

Ingredients:

  • 2 filet mignons, approx. 2 inches thick
  • 1 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 TBS butter

Directions:

Remove the steaks from the refrigerator and let them get to room temperature, approx. 20 minutes. Set oven to 425 degrees. Season steaks with salt and pepper. Heat a large oven-proof sauté pan to medium-high heat (I use a cast iron). Add olive oil and let it heat up.

Add steaks an let cook undisturbed for 4 minutes. Flip them over and cook on the other side for another 4 minutes. Place 1 TBS butter on each filet and immediately place in pre-heated over. Cook for another 7 minutes or to your desired temperature.

5 minutes=rare

6 minutes= medium-rare

7 minutes= medium

Transfer steaks to a plate and let rest for 5-10minutes while tented with foil.

Green Peppercorn Sauce

Original recipe found on http://www.thespruceeats.com, I have made minor modifications to directions.

Ingredients:

  • Fine Sea Salt
  • 4 TBS dried peppercorns
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup cognac, brandy or Marsala wine
  • 1/2 cup cream

Directions:

Coarsely grind 3 TBS of the peppercorns with a mortar, blender, food processor….whatever you have. Spread the coarsely ground peppercorns onto both sides of fillets before cooking. Cook the fillets as described above.

Add the cognac to a skillet and stir well over medium heat. If you are using the same skillet you cooked the fillets in its a bonus. I use a cast iron and transfer my fillets to a cooking pan for the oven. Add the cream and remaining TBS of peppercorns. Salt to taste. Let the sauce thicken slightly then spoon over fillets.

Lem’s Bar-B-Q House BBQ Sauce

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Hello to my fellow blogosphere friends.  I have been away awhile while completing my degree but, never fail, I will continue to post and post all my favorite recipes.  This is the best homemade BBQ sauce I have ever made.  I have doubled, tripled, quadrupled, the recipe as needed.  It is really good and, like all recipes, can be tweaked to your liking.  I found this recipe in the book America’s Best BBQ by Davis and Kirk.  Lem’s BBQ House is located in Chicago, Illinois at 311 E. 75th St., if you’re ever in the area.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 TBS granulated sugar
  • 2 TBS apple cider vinegar
  • 1 TBS chili powder
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard
  • 2 TBS Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. finely ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground celery salt

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve all sugars, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes, cool to room temperature.

Beef Stew in Red Wine Sauce

 

How can you go wrong when a piece of meat simmers in a bottle of delicious red wine all day? This recipe is Jacques Pepin’s and found on http://www.foodandwine.com. Cooked this one many times and it always tastes delicious. This is the 2nd beef stew recipe on this website. The first one is cooked in beer.

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds trimmed beef flatiron steak or chuck, cut into 8 pieces
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
One 750-milliliter bottle dry red wine
2 bay leaves
1 thyme sprig
One 5-ounce piece of pancetta
15 pearl or small cipollini onions, peeled
15 cremini mushrooms
15 baby carrots, peeled
Sugar
Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, melt the butter in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Arrange the meat in the casserole in a single layer and season with salt and pepper. Cook over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, 8 minutes. Add the chopped onion and garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, 5 minutes. Add the flour and stir to coat the meat with it. Add the wine, bay leaves and thyme, season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pot.
2. Cover the casserole and transfer it to the oven. Cook the stew for 1 1/2 hours, until the meat is very tender and the sauce is flavorful.
3. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, cover the pancetta with 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Drain the pancetta and slice it 1/2 inch thick, then cut the slices into 1-inch-wide lardons.
4. In a large skillet, combine the pancetta, pearl onions, mushrooms and carrots. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1/4 cup of water and a large pinch each of sugar, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer until almost all of the water has evaporated, 15 minutes. Uncover and cook over high heat, tossing, until the vegetables are tender and nicely browned, about 4 minutes.
5. To serve, stir some of the vegetables and lardons into the stew and scatter the rest on top as a garnish. Top with a little chopped parsley and serve.

Suggested Pairing

Robust, dark-fruited Cabernet Sauvignon

Taco Salad

I’ve tried every diet out there. After I had my children I had 20 lbs to lose after each one. The only diet that worked, with exercise of course, was the Suzanne Somer’s diet. In the process I bought 2 of her books and still make a handful of her recipes. This particular recipe is found in her book, Eat Great, Lose Weight. You can make taco salad or tacos if you want the carbs.

Ingredients;

  • 2 TBS vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
  • 1 head lettuce, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 6 oz cheese, grated
  • 6 TBS sour cream
  • 6 green onions, chopped
  • Salsa

Directions;

Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Turn up heat to high and add beef. Cook until browned. Drain excess fat. Lower heat and add all spices, water and tomato paste. Bring to a boil, reduce and simmer for 10 minutes. Assemble salad.

Braised Short Ribs

 

 

This is a recipe from one of my co-workers. We have lost touch so hopefully he doesn’t mind me sharing it with you. I’ve made it several times and my children say it makes the house smell like Thanksgiving. Rich and delicious in flavor.

Ingredients;

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 TBS paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp seasoned salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 3 to 4 pounds beef short ribs
  • 3 to 4 TBS unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup thick bacon slices, diced
  • 2 large white onions, sliced
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • 2 stalks of thyme
  • 4 shallots, quartered
  • 1 pound mushrooms
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 1/2 cup carrots, diced
  • 2 cups or 1/2 bottle red wine
  • 4 cups beef stock
  • 2 to 3 oz tomato paste
  • 8 oz canned chopped tomatoes

Directions;

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Combine flour, paprika, cayenne, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Add short ribs, coating them lightly in flour mixture.

In a large dutch oven or deep oven proof pot over medium heat, melt butter until golden. Add the ribs, shaking off excess flour and sear until brown. Remove and set aside.

In same pot, sauté the bacon for 2-3 minutes then add onions, shallots, mushroom, celery, and carrots and sauté until golden. De-glaze the pan with the red wine, adding a little at a time. Let reduce over high heat for 1 minute. Replace ribs in pot with thyme, rosemary, canned tomatoes, remaining wine, tomato paste and beef stock. Bring to a simmer.

Cover and cook 2 to 3 hours, taste and adjust seasoning.

Strain liquid and reduce to make gravy with a roux.

Basic Stew Recipe

I was sick last week and craving comfort food the entire time. One night I was craving stew so I broke out Jamie’s Food Revolution cookbook again and tried his basic stew recipe with my boyfriend’s favorite beer, Newcastle. Beef and beer really taste good cooked together. Here is his easy and delicious recipe.

A Note from Jamie;

“You are going to love this slow-cooked stew recipe, because it’s so simple and gives consistently good results. The meat should be cut into approximately 2cm cubes. Packs from most supermarkets are normally about that size. In stew recipes, you’re often told to brown off the meat first. But I’ve done loads of tests and found the meat is just as delicious and tender without browning it first, so I’ve removed this stage from the recipe.”

Ingredients:

  • 2 stalks celery
  • 2 medium onions
  • 2 carrots
  • Olive oil
  • 1 heaped Tbs all-purpose flour
  • 1 14oz can of diced tomatoes
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 fresh or dried bay leaves
  • 1 pnd diced stewing beef
  • 2 cups brown ale, Guiness or stout

Directions:

If using the oven to cook your stew, preheat it to 350ºF. Trim the ends off your celery and roughly chop the sticks. Peel and roughly chop the onions. Peel the carrots, slice length ways and roughly chop.

Put a casserole pan on a medium heat. Put all the vegetables and the bay leaves into the pan with 2 lugs of olive oil and fry for 10 minutes. Add your meat and flour. Pour in the booze and tinned tomatoes. Give it a good stir, then season with a teaspoon of sea salt (less if using table salt) and a few grinds of pepper.

Bring to the boil, put the lid on and either simmer slowly on your hob or cook in an oven for 3 hours. Remove the lid for the final half hour of simmering or cooking. When done, your meat should be tender and delicious. Remember to remove the bay leaves before serving, and taste it to see if it needs a bit more salt and pepper. You can eat your stew as it is, or you can add some lovely dumplings to it.

Beef Bourguignon

One of the reasons I bought Julia Child’s book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, was for this recipe. I finally decided to try it and although it is a lot of work, I would have to agree with Julia Child that it is one of the most delicious beef dishes concocted by man, or maybe a woman concocted it. Regardless, its worth the effort. I recommend a pan that is stove top and oven adaptable. I used a stock pot for cooking and served in a casserole dish.

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz chunk of bacon
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 3 lbs lean stewing beef
  • 1 sliced carrot
  • 1 sliced onion
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 Tbs flour
  • 3 cups of a full-bodied, young red wine such as Chianti
  • 2-3 cups brown beef stock
  • 1 Tbs tomato paste
  • 2 cloves garlic, mashed
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • A crumbled bay leaf
  • 18-24 small white onions, brown braised in stock (recipe follows)
  • 1 lb quartered fresh mushrooms sauteed in butter (recipe follows)

Directions:

Remove rind, and cut bacon into lardons (sticks, 1/4 inch thick and 1 1/2 in long) Simmer rind and bacon for 10 minutes in 1 1/2 quarts of water. Drain and dry.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Saute the bacon in the oil for 2-3 minutes, remove to side dish. Saute the beef in bacon fat until nicely browned on all sides, set it aside with bacon.

Saute the carrots and onion in the same fat then pour out the sauteing fat. Add the beef and bacon to the vegetables and toss with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the flour and toss to coat. Set in oven uncovered, middle rack, for 4 minutes. Toss again and return to oven for 4 more minutes. Remove and turn down oven to 350 degrees.

On the stove top, stir in the wine, stock, tomato paste, garlic, herbs, and bacon rind. Bring to a simmer then cover and set in lower third of oven for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Assure the meat if covered with liquid at all time and it’s simmering slowly.

While the beef is cooking prepare the onions and mushrooms. Set aside as needed.

Brown Braised Onions

Ingredients:

  • 18-24 peeled white onions about 1 inch in diameter
  • 1 Tbs butter
  • 1 1/2 Tbs oil
  • 1/2 cup beef stock, wine, or water. (red or white wine is fine)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • A medium herb bouquet: 4 parsley sprigs, 1/2 bay leaf, 1/4 tsp thyme.

Directions:

When the butter and oil are bubbling in the skillet, add the onion and saute over moderate heat for about 10 minutes. Pour in the liquid, season to taste, add the herbs. Cover and simmer for 40-50 minutes.

Sauteed Mushrooms

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 1 Tbs oil
  • 1/2 lb fresh mushrooms

Directions:

Heat the butter and oil and as soon as it starts to foam add the mushrooms. Toss and shake the pan for 4-5 minutes. As soon as they have browned lightly remove from heat.

Back to the Bourguignon:

When the meat is tender pour the contents into a sieve over a saucepan. Return the beef to pan and distribute the cooked onions and mushrooms over the meat. Skim fat off the sauce and simmer down until a consistency you like. Pour sauce over meat and simmer 2-3 minutes. Serve

Beer Braised Beef with Onion Dumplings

I have so many cookbook and not enough time to try every recipe. I bought the cookbook The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Cookbook recently. This is the first recipe I tried from it. It was yummy but I felt it was a little too sweet because of the allspice and cloves. I would recommend a slight reduce on these spices if you don’t want it tasting too sweet. I also omitted the dill from the dumplings because I have not found a taste for dill in recipes yet. The dumplings and the braised beef with beer is delicious.

Beer Braised Beef

Ingredients:

  • 4 Tbs vegetable oil
  • 3 pounds boneless chuck (fatty rather than lean), cut into 1 ½ inch chunks
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 pounds onions, coarsely chopped
  • ½ pounds carrots, thickly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • ¼ tsp ground allspice
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 bottle (12ozs) dark beer
  • 1 Tbs tomato paste
  • 1 tsp salt

Dumplings

Ingredients:

  • 6 Tbs unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 2 Tbs chopped fresh dill
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup fine fresh bread crumbs

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a 5-7 quart Dutch oven or heavy bottomed saucepan, heat 2 Tbs of the oil over medium-high heat. Dredge the beef in the flour, shaking off the excess. Working in batches (this is so the meat browns, rather than steams), cook the meat until browned all over, about 5 minutes.  Transfer the meat to a bowl.

Add the remaining 2 Tbs oil to the pan along with the onions, carrots, and garlic. Reduce the heat to medium, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are crisp-tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Stir in the thyme, allspice, cloves, beer, tomato paste, salt, and 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Return the meat to the pan. Cover and place in the oven. Bake for 1 ½ hours, or until the meat is tender. Place the pan on the stove top.

Dumplings:

In a small skillet, heat 1 tbs of the melted butter. Add the onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the buttermilk, dill, and 2 tbs of the melted butter. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the buttermilk mixture. Stir the dumpling mixture gently until moistened.

In a shallow bowl, stir the remaining 3 tbs melted butter into the bread crumbs. One at a time, drop the dumpling mixture by rounded tablespoon into the crumb mixture and turn to coat. Drop the dumplings onto the simmering stew, spacing them evenly. Cover the pan and simmer the stew until the dumplings are tender and cooked through, about 20 minutes.

 

Pot Roast by Julia and Jacques