Monday, March 7, 2011

Peppercorn Crusted Filet Mignon

Mom hasn't had meat in a good 20 years, but she takes the cooking of red meat very seriously.
For Valentine's Day, I presented filet mignon for all of the lovers out there, but this can easily be turned into a cheaper every day recipe. You can do this dish with a roast or any other average steak.   But the most important thing is not to let your meat overcook.

I'm not saying any names, but I've got a friend who pokes and cuts his meat while cooking it to check and make sure it's "all the way done."  When it gets to the plate, it's "way over done" and dry as a bone.

You know why?  Because whether chicken or beef, when you puncture, cut or pierce the meat while it is cooking, all of the juices run out.  That's why your steaks and chicken breasts get dry.

As a non-meat eater, I'm sure you can appreciate how many people don't want to cut open a steak and see red.  I personally like my steaks medium.

If you recall, Munchkin, Mommy used to like her steaks rare to med rare. But yes, I understand. Still it is unnecessary to open your meat to check it. Get a meat thermometer. Once your meat gets to a certain temperature, it's done, so take it off. Another rule of thumb, and this applies to everything from eggs to rice, if it looks done then its already overcooked. Cook the meat then turn the heat off and let it sit for 10 minutes. Food continues to cook after you turn the heat off.  This is law.  As long as you don't pierce or cut the meat, it should remain juicy and warm. When you turn the steak off, it may be pink inside, but 10 -15 minutes later, it will be brown inside.

Peppercorn Crusted Filet Mignon
2 Servings
2 – 6 ounce filet Mignon steaks (1 inch thick)
¼ cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup mixed peppercorns
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
1 tablespoon granulated onion
Wash steaks and place them in a pint size zip lock bag.  Pour in the red wine vinegar and let steaks marinade overnight in the vinegar, turn bag a few times to make sure steaks are well covered.
Set steaks on counter to gradually warm to room temp while preparing other ingredients.
If you have, use a coffee grinder to crack the peppercorns, or place peppercorns in a plastic bag and use the back of a heavy pan to crack them.
Mix together the coarsely cracked peppercorns, granulated garlic and onion.
Remove steaks from plastic bag and blot off the excess vinegar with a paper towel.
Roll steaks in the peppercorn mixture and mash mixture into steaks until all sides are coated.
Heat a heavy skillet over high heat, add steaks to hot dry skillet and cook according to schedule listed below. Transfer to platter.
Let rest for 10 minutes before serving. Juices will redistribute and steak will continue cooking during this time.

Cooking time for 1” Steaks:                                            
Rare - 5 minutes on first side and 3 minutes on second side 
Medium - 6 minutes on first side and 4 minutes on second side
Well - 8 minutes on first side and 6 minutes on second side

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