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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Bacon Wrapped Filet with Shallot-Wine Reduction

For the most part my steaks come simple.  Salt & Pepper.  That's it.  But the royal tenderloin or filet mignon... well, it doesn't have a lot of it its own flavor.  Yes, it's tender, lean, and very expensive -- but nobody can deny that filet just doesn't have the beefiness that a ribeye or NY steak will have.  However, that can be a good thing.  We can take advantage of that property and infuse flavor into the steak.  Yes, a marinade will work, but a sauce will work just as well.  And you know what?  I've said this before -- bacon makes everything better.  Seriously.

I generally am not a fan of filet mignon.  There, I said it.  Like I said before, it's pretty bland compared to my favorite cut -- the NY steak.  But once in a while.  Just every once in a while, it happens.  The urge.  And thus, filet was on the plate for dinner.

You can do almost anything to filet.  You can season it with your favorite steak seasoning, you can marinade it, you can make a sauce, or you can just salt and pepper it like any other steak.  I don't have a favorite way, but this time I chose to make a sauce.  And wrap it in bacon.  I love bacon.

Since cooking the steak itself is pretty quick, start with the sauce.

Ingredients for the sauce include:
(You can certainly double the recipe very easily)
1 tbs butter (half to cook the shallots down and half to add to the end to glisten up the sauce)
2 shallots
1 tbs brown sugar
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 cups red wine (a shiraz works well in this case, but most any dry red wine will work)

Throw in a pad of butter and cook the shallots in them in low heat -- this will take about 20 minutes.

Once the shallots are cooked down to this level (perhaps even more... I was a bit impatient I must admit), add in the sugar and wine, increase the heat to medium-high to high and reduce the sauce by half.  Add in the balsamic vinegar and cook until desired thickness.  I like to cook it down until it just sticks onto the back of a metal spoon.  Don't forget to season with S&P and adjust seasoning if necessary.  Keep in mind you are also salting your steak and the bacon is a bit salty -- so don't go overboard.

You can make the sauce early and reheat it later if you need to.

For the steak, you need steak about 1-1.5" thick.  Basically the thickness of the width of the bacon.  My advice is to buy a whole tenderloin and butcher it yourself.  It's really easy to, you just need a sharp boning knife and remove all the silverskin.  Then... well... slice it to your desired thickness.  S&P the filet and wrap the bacon around it.  Remember, bacon can be very salty so don't oversalt.

Pan fry on a cast iron or stainless steel pan for about 2-3 minutes per side on high heat.  That should get the bacon nice and crispy and the filet to a rare.  Of course this all depends on thickness.  About 3.5 minutes per side for a medium rare.  And if guests want it done even more, kick them out.  Just kidding.  Finish it in the oven for about 5 minutes for medium.  Sorry I don't know exact timings for more than medium rare.

And that's almost it.  Don't forget to let the steak rest, veryyyyy important.  Add butter to the sauce and stir it in.  Then spoon the sauce over the steak.  And you've got dinner.