As with any recipe that calls for a substantial amount of wine, use a wine that you enjoy drinking. The sauce in this recipe is just a concentrated version of the wine with some butter and pan juices. So, if you don't like the wine to start, it will not make a good sauce. Pick a wine you like.
- 2-4 filet mignon steaks, 1 to 2 inches thick*
- Extra virgin olive oil or canola oil
- 3-4 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided
- 2 cups full bodied red wine (we used a favorite Zinfandel)
- Black pepper to taste
*If you have thicker steaks, you can butterfly them and cook on the stovetop as directed here, or you can sear them on the stovetop and finish them in a 350°F oven for 10 minutes or more, until the center of the steaks are done to your liking.
1 Prepare the steaks: Your steaks should already be trimmed of the tough silver skin. If not, cut away any gristly bits. If your steak has the chain attached and you don't want to serve it, cut it away and save for another purpose.
2 Let sit at room temperature: Allow the steaks to come to room temperature for at least 30 minutes and up to 90 minutes, depending on the thickness of the steaks. Just before getting ready to cook, pat the meat dry with paper towels, then coat with oil. Salt well.
3 Sear the steaks on one side: Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a cast iron pan on high heat for 1 minute. Swirl to coat the pan. Put the steaks in the hot pan and immediately turn the heat down to medium to medium high (depending on your stovetop, medium on a high BTU gas range is about medium high on most electric ranges). Sear untouched for at least 3 minutes, up to 6 minutes for a 2-inch thick steak.
4 Cook the other side: Flip the steaks and cook for another 2-5 minutes, depending on how thick the steak is and how rare or well done you like your meat.
You can use the finger test to test the doneness of your steak. Or you can use a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the steak (120°F to 125°F for rare, 130°F to 135°F for medium rare, 140°F to 145°F for medium).
Remove from the pan, loosely tent with foil and allow to rest while you make the sauce.
5 Make the wine sauce with pan juices: Pour the wine into the pan and turn the heat to high. Boil this furiously until it is reduced by 3/4, about 10 minutes. Add any juices the steaks have released while resting.
Turn off the heat and wait until the wine has stopped bubbling. When it has, add the tablespoons of butter, one tablespoon at a time. Swirl each tablespoon into the sauce until it is completely incorporated before adding the next tablespoon of butter.
Add salt to taste and serve the sauce with the steak. Sprinkle freshly ground black pepper over the meat when you serve it.