Sometimes you just want a steak. I totally understand that. Being from the great Midwest, I have a soft place in my heart for a good, tender steak every now and again. While there are some great steak houses, I like to make mine at home because it's cheaper and it's easy! To prove it, I am sharing this recipe for Cast-Iron Filet Mignon with Red Wine Sauce. You'll be surprised at how quick it comes together and how impressive it looks and tastes when it's done.
First, buy a good steak. I always head straight to my butcher to get his opinion on the matter. He'll pick out the freshest, best steak in the case. I encourage you to do the same. The second step is planning. Planning is important because you're going to want to cook and eat your steak within a relatively short span of time. That means you should get the rest of your food ready before you cook those steaks. Planning also means your steak will have your undivided attention, preventing any potential over-cooking or burning. The final step is to cook your steak…by leaving it alone! Resist the temptation to peak at it or scoot it around in your pan. Trust me, just leave it alone. This saves your steak and your sanity.
Does steak fit into a healthy eating plan? Well of course it does. I always say moderation is the key to a healthful diet, and beef, like anything else, should be eaten and enjoyed but without over-indulging. Choose leaner cuts of beef (like loin or round) and keep portion sizes small (3 ounces cooked, or about the size of a deck of cards). This will help keep the calories down while also avoiding consuming too much saturated fat. Lean beef is a great source of nutrition providing not only protein, but also phosphorus, Vitamin B12 and iron.
Food Safety Tip: Anytime you are working with raw meat, it's important to keep things clean. Wash your hands before and after handling raw meat and don't forget to clean work surfaces. Always have separate cutting boards for raw meats and ready-to-eat foods. Keep a red one for raw beef, that way you can easily remember this important food-safety tip!
Cast-Iron Filet Mignon with Red Wine Sauce
- 4 beef tenderloin fillets, about 4 ounces each, and about 1 1/2 inches thick
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper (or pepper blend)
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons butter
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallot
- 3/4 cup red wine
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cold butter (to make it easy, cut 1 tablespoon off of a stick of butter and cut it in half to get 1 1/2 teaspoons)
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Pat steaks dry with clean paper towels and season each side with salt and black pepper, gently rubbing onto the surface.
- Place a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the oil and the butter. After the butter has melted, swirl the skillet to disperse the oil and butter to cover the bottom of the pan. Add the steaks and cook 2 1/2 minutes, flip them over and cook for an additional 2 1/2 minutes. Then cook the sides, about 1 minute each. Return steaks so that they are resting flat in the pan. Place the pan in the oven and cook the steaks an additional 5-7 minutes, or internal temperature reaches 145°F or higher.
- Remove steaks from the pan and place on a plate and cover with foil. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.
- While the meat is resting, make the sauce. To the same pan used to cook the steaks, add the shallot and cook over medium heat. (Use caution as pan will be EXTREMELY hot from being in the oven). Gradually add the wine, stirring to scrape up any bits left on the bottom of the pan, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat so that the mixture comes to a simmer and cook until it's reduced by half. Remove from the heat and swirl in the remaining butter. Serve sauce with the steak.
- TIP: It's hard to find a four-ounce tenderloin steak. You can either ask your butcher to cut them to that size or you can buy two 8 ounce steaks and cut them in half yourself. See pictures below.