Thursday, May 7, 2009

Pat's Fail-Safe Make-Ahead Filet Mignon

I am pleased to introduce guest writer Julia to my blog. Julia is my co-worker, friend, and occasional therapist. Bright, creative, and always on the go, Julia makes hard work look easy. Not only is she organized and efficient, she sports a can-do and no-nonsense attitude that one often finds in hearty Yankee stock. She is a fabulous mother and cook. At her 18th century home, you’ll often find Julia with a gathering of family and friends, serving delicious fare like this no-fail filet mignon.

I always find spring to be a bittersweet season.

While I love the weather as it creeps toward summer and the flowers burst forth in waves of color, life’s landmarks seem to hit hard in the month of May: christenings, weddings, graduations, etc. These events bring joy and happy tears but remind me that life indeed marches on.

The impossibility of pushing a pause button always leaves me catching my breath. This past weekend was exactly one of those moments.

My son Tyler celebrated nine years of education in his faith with Confirmation at our local parish. The forecast was for a drab and rainy day. Somehow, God must have known, and halfway through the ceremony, dappled yellow hues streamed through the stained glass, and we knew we were going to be the recipients of a splendid sunny afternoon.

As the children and their families poured out the church to choruses of smiles and congratulations, we headed on our way to celebrate in the same collective way families have marked such events for hundreds of year … with food!

I invited family and friends to our house for an afternoon luncheon buffet. These events and celebration give us opportunities to remember our own childhood and the celebrations we shared in over the years.

My childhood was no different and many of my memories are of my mother in our kitchen. How she fed a family of six in the space she had continues to be a mystery to me. The aromas that came from her art are imprinted in my memory. I hope I am doing the same for my own children.

So it seemed appropriate to use her recipe for a no-fail make-ahead beef tenderloin with a shallot tarragon mayonnaise served with a French baguette. Marinated in port wine and soy sauce, I was able to make it the night before which prevented any last minute hassles in the morning as we were preparing for the event. That joined Couscous Confirmed, shrimp cocktail and a simple salad of arugula, red onion and shaved pecorino romano in a basil vinaigrette.

The dining room table was arrayed with a delightful medley of choices for our guests to dine from. And as the gorgeous afternoon slipped into evening and the smell of the blossoming lilacs drifted over our patio, a familiar feeling came over me. Not so much the bittersweet one, but the one of gratitude for a wonderful life and the ritual landmarks we’ve created to mark it by.

Pat’s No-Fail Make Ahead Filet

1 4-pound to 5 pound beef tenderloin filet
5 cloves of garlic peeled
1/3 cup port wine
1/3 cup soy sauce
¼ cup olive oil

With a sharp knife cut 5 various slits in the filet and push the cloves of garlic in.

Mix together port wine, soy sauce, and olive oil and pour over filet. Add a few dashes of pepper. This can be best done in a large zip lock bag so it can be turned as it marinates. Let it marinate at room temperature for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove filet from bag and place on roasting rack. Place in preheated oven for exactly 33 minutes or until internal temperature measures 128 degrees.

Remove filet and let cool or let rest for 10 minutes serve immediately at this point. If preparing ahead of time, wrap filet in tin foil and refrigerate. When ready to serve, slice the filet in ½ inch slices and arrange on a platter. Let the filet come to room temperature before serving. Great with horseradish cream sauce or mayonnaise mixed with chopped shallots and minced tarragon.


Bren said...

great look and color and your filet mignon. ive not ever had it with type sauce, tho it looks like it works!

Marsha said...

Congrats to Tyler and I'm sure your family will always remember all the wonderful meals you've shared with them and friends all these years. I still remember the special meals at my friend Julia's home. Blessing to all.