It's been quite a year my friends. I must say that between becoming a new parent to a beautiful baby girl and releasing a cookbook featuring all my favorite recipes, I've got quite a bit to be thankful for. To top it off, I get to host my entire family of in-laws for the Christmas holiday.
Blessing!? Curse!? Stressful!? Kidding, in case any of said family is reading!
The truth of the matter is being a good host - for your family or not - can often be a challenge. But it doesn't have to be.
Years ago, mama used to always whip up a Christmas Eve supper of epic proportions - it got to the point where it nearly rivaled Thanksgiving. In other words, it had grown out of control - as she tried to cater to everyone's tastes via several forms of protein, side dishes, vegetables, and desserts. Preparing for Christmas Eve dinner became an exhaustive three day process.
Then one year, everything changed. Though the evening supper is certainly important, it did not merit three days of cooking and stressful energy. Instead of trying to create so many dishes to appease all - we decided to whip up a bit of haute cuisine that could impress even the most discerning of guests.
A beautifully cooked filet of beef, drizzled with a red wine pan sauce and served with hearty mashed potatoes and asparagus. Such a dish not only exudes class - it screams, "This is a special occasion!"
But the best part? It doesn't take three, one, or even a half day to prepare, and it likely costs less to serve than the collection of all those other dishes. Thus, leaving you with plenty of free time to enjoy those fun, and sometimes awkward, memorable moments with family.
Cheers and Merry Christmas, y'all.
Filet Mignon with Red Wine Pan Sauce + Roasted Asparagus + Garlic Mashed Potatoes
3 lbs Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled and quartered 4 Garlic Cloves, peeled 1 lb Fresh Asparagus, washed and trimmed 4 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided 4 8 oz Filet Mignons, at room temperature Kosher Salt Fresh Cracked Pepper 1 Tablespoon Shallot, minced ½ Cup Red Wine ½ Cup Beef Stock 8 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, melted ¼ Cup Heavy Cream, warm
FIRST: Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Heat a large pot of water over medium high heat. When water comes to a boil, add potatoes and garlic cloves and cook 11-13 minutes, or until fork tender; remove from heat and set aside. Next, lay out asparagus in a single layer on a baking sheet; drizzle with 2 tablespoons of oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat each spear.
SECOND: Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat and season filets with salt and pepper. Add remaining oil and sear filets, undisturbed, for 2-3 minutes. Flip filets, and insert into the bottom rack of the oven until internal temperature is 135 degrees F for medium rare/medium, about 5-7 more minutes depending on the cut. Remove filets from oven and tent with foil to keep warm and rest. Meanwhile, place asparagus on the top rack of a 425 degree oven, roast for 8-10 minutes, shaking pan on occasion to ensure asparagus cooks evenly.
THIRD: Place the cast iron skillet used to cook steaks back on stove-top over medium high heat and sauté shallots for 1-2 minutes. Deglaze pan with wine, and reduce mixture by half. Add stock, and once again reduce mixture by half. Remove from heat, add 2 tablespoons of butter, and season the pan sauce to taste with salt and pepper.
LAST: Drain potatoes; using either a potato ricer or masher, mash potatoes and garlic into a mixing bowl. Fold in the remaining butter and cream and season potatoes to taste with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper. Plate a portion of potatoes on the center of plate, top with asparagus, and finish with the filet. Spoon the red wine pan sauce around the perimeter of the plate. Serve.