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Fillet Mignon

Ingredients:
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2 (4 to 6 ounces) 1-inch thick Filet Mignon (Beef Tenderloin) steaks*
Olive oil
1/2 cup cabernet wine (can substitute any dry red wine of your choice)
1 to 2 tablespoons butter

When buying steaks, buy the best grade of meat you can afford. Look for steaks with fine texture and firm to the touch. You want the color to be a light cherry red color, not deep red. Also look for steaks that have marbling, as it is the thin threads of fat running through the meat that make it Prime and gives the wonderful flavor.

Preparation:

Remove your steaks from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before you plant to cook them – sometimes as long as 60 minutes (depending on size). Pat the steaks dry with a paper towel. You want to have a completely dry steak before cooking. If you steak is wet, you will essentially be steaming it! Coat steaks lightly with olive oil.

Do not salt your steaks just before cooking. Salt brings moisture (water) to the surface of the steak, and the water sits on the surface as you cook the steak. Thus, you are again basically steaming the steak. I know that a lot of people do salt their steaks before cooking, but trust me and don’t salt – the result will be juicy, delicious steaks to serve your family and guests! Salt after the steak is cooked to your liking, has rested the required time, and just before serving.

Using the Pan-Searing or Sear-Roasting techniques (see below techniques), proceed to cook your steak to your desired doneness. Use a meat thermometer to test for doneness:

Rare – 120 degrees F
Medium Rare – 125 degrees F
Medium – 130 degrees F

 

What constitutes rare and medium-rare cooked meat?To satisfy government home economists, the Beef Council says rare beef means an internal temperature of 140 degrees F. Well, that is ok if you like well-done and dry meat. If you like moist, rosy meat, rare begins at 120 degrees and starts to become medium rare at 125 or 130 degrees. To cook your meat properly, you must purchase and use a good instant-read digital meat thermometer.


Residual Heat or Carry-Over Cooking:
Remember, the steak will continue to cook as it sets. The temperature will rise to 125 degrees F. to 130 degrees F. internal temperature (medium rare) at 15 to 20 minutes. So, pay attention to how long you let the cooked steak sit before serving.

Definition: Carry-over cooking is caused by residual heat transferring from the hotter exterior of the meat to the cooler center. As a general rule, the larger and thicker the cut of meat, and the higher the cooking temperature, the more residual heat will be in the meat, and the more the internal temperature will rise during resting due to carry-over cooking. This means the meat must be removed from the heat at an internal temperature lower than your desired final internal temperature, allowing the residual heat to finish the cooking.


Making Cabernet Wine Sauce:
Add the wine to the pan and bring to a boil, scraping any pieces of steak off the bottom of the pan and stirring them into the emerging sauce. Let the liquid boil until reduced to approximately 1/3 cup. Remove pan from heat. Add the butter and mix it in by swirling the pan. Pour the sauce over your perfectly cooked steaks just before serving.

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