Friday, January 22, 2010

Filet Mignon: The Disaster That Wasn't

Two days ago I stopped up at Chuppa's Marketplace, my favorite place to go for fresh meat and produce between shopping trips. I wanted to make something good for Friday night's dinner, and I walked out with two juicy filet mignons and some sweet potatoes.

I did a little research about cooking the steaks and was looking forward to making them for the first time. I learned a little bit about cooking the filets on youtube, of all places.

Fast forward two days- I went in the fridge to get the steaks to begin prepping them. I unwrapped them to find to my dismay that they had dried out quite a bit and were hard around the edges. I panicked and thought about how much these perfect slabs of red meat cost, and called for my husband, anticipating calling in orders for Chinese food to fix the issue. Amid my disappointed tears I complained about it all while he quietly cut off the dried spots and made them look a little bit better, and admonishing me about my little breakdown, but hey I was excited about making those steaks!

I opened the package of sweet potatoes, and Nick started peeling them. To my dismay, I saw that the meat inside was white like a regular potato, and that the package didn't identify what this impostor potato was. To avoid more tears, I Googled "potato types" and couldn't find anything that matched. Long story short, we finally settled on the fact that these were probably white yams.

After all this, the meal turned out amazing. I was fretting about nothing.

I did not follow a recipe, but here's the method I used to make the steaks. I made the yams the same way I would make regular mashed potatoes. Their texture matched sweet potatoes, so it was close enough to my original intentions.


This is assuming steaks that are about 1-1.5 inches thick. Take the steaks out of the fridge and coat them with your intended spices. I like using McCormick's Steak Seasoning. Let the steaks sit out in room temperature for 45 minutes. Steaks should NOT be cooked cold.

Meanwhile, coat a nonstick skillet with oil. I used canola because it has a higher smoke temperature. Wipe the skillet with a paper towel so it's only lightly coated with the oil. After the 45 minutes of letting the steaks sit out, heat up the skillet and then add the steaks. Sear steaks, including the sides, to help seal in the juices. This takes about a minute or two per side. Shake the skillet so they don't stick.

Pour in some red wine, about a half a cup to a cup or so. Remove from heat and put small dabs of butter or margerine on top of each steak, and put the entire skillet in the preheated oven. Cook for 3-4 minutes and then flip, putting more butter on the other side. Cook another 3-4 minutes. (Note: these cooking times result in a medium-rare to medium steak) Remove from the oven and let sit for about 5 minutes before eating.

I also made some sauteed mushrooms to go on top. I just threw some sliced white mushrooms in a small skillet with some margarine, steak seasoning, and more of the red wine and let the sauce boil for a couple minutes. I poured the mushrooms and wine sauce over the steaks after I plated them.

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