This Filet Mignon with Classic Bordelaise Sauce is a triumph of flavors. I fell in love with it when we traveled a couple years ago through the South of France. The sauce is a classic, and is usually served with pan-fried meat. It is an incredible combination of hearty red wine, classic brown sauce (aka espagnole…or demi-glace), and bone marrow. Marrow may sound a little off-putting…but if you’ve never tried it…one word comes to mind: Wow. It is the soft, rich tissue located in the hollow center of beef shank bones. Many describe it as having the ultimate umami flavor and texture…melt-in-your mouth good like nothing else.
Also consider this: Bone marrow is full of desirable phospholipids and methionine which are essential for proper brain growth and function. And as an added bonus, the monounsaturated fats found in marrow have been shown to improve cardiovascular health. So there. All I can say is that this saying has never been more true: “It’s better than butter.”
Ask your butcher (I get mine from Whole Foods) for bone marrow bones, cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths. You’ll want the parts from the shank, where the marrow can easily be extracted. I get a really good quality veal demi-glace from Williams Sonoma. Of course, get good cuts of meat (filet mignon is best). And you’ll have a dish on your hands that will rival even the best steak houses in town.
I had an instructor at the Culinary Institute of America teach our class how to make this famous sauce. I’ve played around with it since…and here’s how I like to make it…drawing from many great chef’s and cookbooks from France and beyond. Enjoy. The is truly something to savor. 150% Loon Approved.
Filet Mignon with Classic Bordelaise Sauce
- 4 beef filets filet mingon, about 8 oz each, cut to about 2 inches thick
- 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 1/2 lb beef marrow bones cut into 1 1/2- inch lengths by your butcher (you want the shank part of the bone, so you can extract the marrow).
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter divided...you'll need 1 tablespoon first, and the 2 more to finish off the sauce.
- 1 large shallot chopped
- 1 1/4 cups dry red wine such as a good Cabernet Sauvignon
- 1 fresh thyme sprig
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 1/4 cup beef stock as needed
- 1/2 cup purchased veal demi-glace*
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter chilled
- Flat leaf parsley finely chopped, for garnish
- Course sea salt for garnish
- *Available at Williams Sonoma or online
PREP THE STEAKS
- Pat the filets dry with paper towels.
- Rub both side of the filets with the oil and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
START THE SAUCE
- Place the marrow bones in a bowl filled with ice water and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
- Using your thumb, push the marrow out of the bones. If it won't budge, immerse the bones in warm water for about 30 seconds and try again.
- Cut the marrow into 1/2-inch disks, cover with fresh ice water, and refrigerate for 2 - 6 hours.
- In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt the butter.
- Add the shallots and cook until translucent, about 4 -5 minutes.
- Add the wine, thyme, and bay leaf, and raise the heat to medium. Let simmer until reduced by about half, approx. 12 minutes.
- Remove and discard the herbs and then strain the sauce.
- Return to the pan and stir in the demi-glace and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper and cook for about 3 - 4 minutes,
- Add the beef stock one tablespoon at a time until the consistency is slightly syrupy.
- Turn off the heat, cover, and let stand.
COOK THE STEAKS
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 F.
- Set a large ovenproof frying pan (I use my cast iron skillet) over high heat.
- Season the filets generously with salt and pepper.
- When the pan is hot, add the filets and cook for about 1 1/2 minutes. Turn them over and cook until firm and slightly brown, about 2 1/2 minutes longer.
- Transfer the skillet to the oven and cook for 3 minutes longer for rare, and 5 minutes longer for medium-rare (don't over cook these steaks!).
- Turn off the oven, transfer the steaks to individual plates, and place them in the oven.
FINISH THE DISH
- Drain the marrow disks and add them to the sauce.
- Warm the sauce and marrow over low heat, about 3 minutes.
- Transfer a few pieces of marrow to the top of each filet.
- Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the chilled butter until it melts and the sauce thickens slightly.
- Top each steak with several spoonfuls of the sauce.
- Garnish with parsley and sea salt.