Celebrate the New Year with fillet of beef in a cognac mustard sauce, roasted potatoes and asparagus. It's a simple, elegant meal that takes only 30 minutes to make.
For this meal, I cut the tenderloin into steaks and sauté them in a skillet. The sauce only takes a few minutes to make in the same skillet.
To shorten the cooking time for the potatoes, I use canned potatoes and cut them into 1-inch pieces. They take about 10 minutes to brown under the broiler. The asparagus can be placed on the same baking tray as the potatoes.
Wine suggestion: Beef fillet with cognac sauce cries out for a top wine - a really superb red Bordeaux or California cabernet sauvignon.
• Beef tenderloin steaks may not be in the meat case. Ask the butcher to cut 2 six-ounce beef fillet steaks for you. Or, buy a 3/4 pound piece of beef tenderloin and slice it into 2 steaks at home.
• Use a skillet that is just big enough to fit the steaks in one layer. A bigger skillet with its larger diameter will cause the sauce to run over the pan and burn.
• Any quick cooking cut of beef can be used. Change the cooking time according to how thick the meat is. A meat thermometer should read 145 degrees for medium rare.
• Brandy is the generic name for cognac, and any type can be used for the sauce. You can buy small bottles (1.5 ounces) of cognac in most liquor stores.
Fillet of Beef with Cognac Mustard Sauce
Makes: 2 servings.
• 2 6-ounce beef tenderloin steaks, about 3/4 to 1-inch thick
• Olive oil spray
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 2 tablespoons cognac
• 1/2 cup fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
• 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
• 2 tablespoons heavy cream
• Several sprigs watercress
Spray both sides of the beef tenderloin steaks with olive oil spray. Heat a small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and spray with olive oil spray. Brown steaks 4 minutes. If steaks brown too quickly, turn the heat down to medium. Turn and salt and pepper the cooked sides. Brown the second side 4 minutes. A meat thermometer should read 145 degrees for medium rare.
Remove steaks to a plate. Add the cognac to the skillet and deglaze the pan by scraping up the brown bits, about 30 seconds. Add the chicken broth. Raise the heat to high and reduce the liquid by half, about 2 minutes. Add the mustard and blend into the sauce with a whisk. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and stir in the cream. Serve the steak with the sauce spooned over the top. Serve with the vegetables and place several sprigs of watercress on the side as a garnish.
Per serving: 369 calories (45 percent from fat), 18.3 g fat (7.8 g saturated, 7.3 g monounsaturated),134 mg cholesterol, 39 g protein, 1.5 g carbohydrates, 0.3 g fiber, 331 mg sodium.