Hi! I'm Jaden Hair, busy mother of two and professional recipe developer, food columnist and food photographer specializing in fast, fresh and easy recipes for the home cook.
As author and blogger of Steamy Kitchen, I am so pleased to be part of Sweetbay Supermarket's "A is for Angus" program. I love cooking with beef and since Angus beef is superior to other cuts of beef—you'll really taste a difference when you prepare meals for your family and friends with Sweetbay's USDA Choice Black Angus.
Over the next few weeks, I'll be sharing some of my favorite Angus beef recipes and tips on preparation with you. Please look out for my posts and check me out on Steamy Kitchen, become a fan on Facebook or follow me on Twitter @steamykitchen.
Peppercorn Crusted Filet Mignon with Balsamic Red Wine Sauce
We splurge on filet mignon a few times a year. It's the most expensive cut of steak because it's incredibly tender and you can only get about nine filets per cow. Instead of buying the filet mignon piece by piece, we always get the entire tenderloin and spend the time to carve it up ourselves for a 50 percent price savings.
Last week, while at my local Sweetbay, I spied Black Angus whole tenderloin on sale. Bingo! I asked Pat, the butcher to throw one of those babies in my cart.
"Would you like me to carve it for you at no extra charge?" he asked.
I just about danced a little jig right in front of the whole department. "No. Way. You mean I've been getting my kitchen messy and spending 30 minutes a pop all this time for nothing?!"
"We can also take all of the scraps and grind it up for you – you'll have the most amazing Bolognese sauce or chili in the world."
This is a whole tenderloin. It comes wrapped and sealed to keep its shape and freshness. If you're carving this up yourself, take note that there's quite a bit of blood inside the bag. What I like to do is to open just one end of the bag and let the blood drain into the sink first before taking the tenderloin out.
We'll start cutting from the bigger end. When you get down to the smaller end, you can make smaller filet mignon pieces and use twine to tie two of them together to make a bigger piece. When it gets too small, Pat will grind the remainder with the scraps for filet mignon ground beef.
Pat begins cutting 1¾" thick slices from the larger end. You can cut yours smaller if you wish.
Here's a cut for you to look at. Notice there's fat around the filet. That's okay, Pat will trim that off later. This was my biggest lesson – I used to trim the fat and the silver skin off the tenderloin FIRST, which made a massive mess and wasted too much good meat.
Once all the pieces have been cut, Pat trims each one carefully, taking off majority of the fat and the thick, tough silver skin.
Look how perfect this is. And the size! You get massive cuts.
We got nine 1¾" large filet mignon from the tenderloin.
The leftover scraps – including the fat – will go into the grinder.
Into the grinder it goes, and now I've got four pounds of the very best filet mignon ground beef. Use this ground beef for any dish that you want – though meatballs and burgers don't work very well. The filet mignon ground beef is so lean that it will have trouble binding together. I see some Asian lettuce cups with ground beef in my future!
I've just saved nearly 50 percent and will have a freezer full of filet mignon (I'll seal each filet mignon individually at home). Best of all, I didn't have to do any of the work!
The recipe I've made with the filet mignon is a Peppercorn Crusted Filet Mignon with Balsamic Red Wine Sauce. It sounds like a fancy recipe, but you need a fancy-sounding recipe for filet mignon! Secretly, though, the recipe is so incredibly simple, has only a few ingredients and takes only 20 minutes hands-on.
Peppercorn Crusted Filet Mignon
with Balsamic Red Wine Sauce
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1/2 Cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 Cup red wine
- 1/2 Cup beef broth
- 3 Tbsp whole peppercorn
- 1 Tbsp cooking oil 4 Pieces Black Angus Filet Mignon (at least 1¼” inch thick)
1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Heat a saucepan with the butter and balsamic vinegar over medium heat. When the balsamic begins to bubble, turn the heat down to medium-low, and cook for 3 minutes to reduce to half. Add in the red wine and the beef broth and let simmer for 5-8 minutes until it reduces to a sauce thick enough to coat the back of spoon. Taste and season with salt.
3. Place the peppercorns on a baking sheet. Use a heavy bottomed skillet to gently crush the peppercorns by pressing the bottom of the skillet on top of the peppercorns using a rocking motion.
4. Rub each filet mignon lightly with the cooking oil. Season each filet mignon with salt on both sides and then press the filet mignon onto the peppercorns on both sides.
5. Heat a large oven-proof skillet on high heat. When very hot, add the filet mignon, searing both sides for 1 minute each. Remove the filet mignon from the heat and onto the baking sheet (it's okay if there's still peppercorn on the baking sheet). Place into the oven for 4-7 minutes, depending on your desired doneness and thickness of filet mignon.
*For 1-inch filet mignon: 4 minutes and then check temperature with meat thermometer. For every ¼-inch more, add 1 minute.
Rare: 120°F - 125°F
Medium-Rare: 130°F - 135°F
Medium: 140°F - 145°F
6. Let rest for 3 minutes before serving with the Balsamic Sauce.