My husband asked me if I'd like to go out to eat, tonight. At first, I said "yes". But, as the day progressed, I decided to stay home instead. I remembered that I had four pieces of frozen filet mignon, and I had just purchased purple asparagus, at Trader Joe's. I was intrigued by the asparagus (and I don't recall seeing this before) At $2.99 per package, I wanted to try it, so it came home with my groceries. I also found some red bliss and yukon gold potatoes that were hidden in the corner of my produce bin. To me, it made sense to cook what we had, on hand, because this would be a pretty quick meal to put together.
I remembered seeing my talented and classy food blog friend's, posting from , "Stacey Snacks" for a Beef au Poivre that she made for her husband. I'm a big fan of Alton Brown (having recently seen him in my hometown of Monterey, just last month) and I've had good luck with several of Emeril Lagasse's recipes (BAM!). I adapted both recipes to suit my preferred method of cooking filet mignon (and salmon). That is, I prefer to sear the meat and then roasting it in the oven.
Would you believe I've never had Beef au Poivre? That's because I use pepper, sparingly, on my own plate-- and I was afraid that the pepper would be too much for my own palate. My husband loves pepper, so I decided to try it. I figured that if I didn't like it I could just scrape off the pepper.
Cracking peppercorns is a royal pain! Honestly, I used my mortar and pestle and the darned round peppercorns went all over the place! Am I the only one? I skipped to using my cast iron skillet, which took some elbow grease and pounding-- my husband thought I was remodeling my kitchen! I got the job done, but it was a challenge.
As for the purple asparagus-- I decided to roast these with some olive oil and salt and pepper.
The potatoes got the same treatment, only I added some fresh cut rosemary. The potatoes went into the oven at 425F while I prepped the vegetables and the meat-- I figured they'd take about 20 minutes to roast, in small chunks.
The cognac sauce was new for me to make myself, as well. To be honest, I've never really done the flambe' thing. I did it! Off heat, I used my fireplace lighter and "poof"! Fancy!
Once the alcohol burned off, I added the heavy cream and let it thicken-- this took about 8 minutes. It definitely needed salt, but the cognac taste calmed down, and it didn't overpower the flavor of the sauce.
We like out steak cooked between medium rare and medium-- more on the pink side. Spot on! The beef was very tender; it was affordable from Costco. The purple asparagus, we thought, had a subtle sweeter taste than green asparagus. (What a wild looking soup this would make!)
This dinner was on the table in 30 minutes. I have to say, that the dinner was elegant and delicious-- I figure that the cost of making this was 1/4 of the cost of what our dinner tab would have been. I actually liked all the pepper! My husband gave it five stars-- his highest honors. My son loved it, though, he wants me to skip the peppercorns the next time I make it for him. He seems to share my lackluster love affair of pepper.
The fourth filet is reserved for something else-- probably my quickBeef Stroganoff recipe, from Cook's Illustrated. We shall see, but it will not go to waste!
Humbly said, this tasted as good as any fine restaurant. The only thing missing was a good bottle of wine. As for not having to do dishes when we go out to eat...my husband and son cleaned up the kitchen, so in a way, it was a night off for me. Part of my strategy in saving money is to get closer to my dream of a new and bigger refrigerator. Clever girl, huh?
(Not to worry, though. I got a rain check for going out to dinner. I think I'll save it for a week night, when my knuckles are dragging as I walk through the door after work.)