Monday, June 2, 2014

Filet Mignon with Red Wine Reduction and Polenta #FWCon

Filet Mignon with Red Wine Reduction and Polenta

In my own observation, I've noticed that low to moderately priced steakhouses offer little in terms of plate presentation creativity. Last fall, I was surprised to find that even a fine dining steakhouse I patronized utilized such a simple presentation. Thankfully, A Land Remembered steakhouse and seafood restaurant at the Rosen Shingle Creek hotel is a little more creative. No, I haven't dined there but I plan to when I attend the Food and Wine Conference this summer and a quick google image search yielded some beautiful dishes.

A quick check of their menu reveals options for steaks such as sauce Diane and Oregon bleu cheese but I was surprised by what was not on the menu: a red wine sauce. I also paired my steak with an Italian starch that isn't even on Rosen Shingle Creek's Italian restaurant menu because it not only complements the steak but provides visual appeal to the plate. Furthermore, I have demonstrated two different methods of cooking polenta but found a third and wanted to experiment.

From a presentation standpoint, I recall Chef Cat Cora noting something I hadn't even considered during an episode of America's Best Cook which went something like put round food on a square plate to create a contrast in shapes so I wanted to test out the theory.

This dish is my entry into the Rosen Shingle Creek recipe contest I referred to in my preview post last week.

The Challenge

Win the Rosen Hotels recipe contest described above.

The Source

For the dish composition, I used the roasting method (i.e. brown the food on the stovetop, add butter, baste with the pan fluids then rest the food for carryover cooking) described upon pages 32 and 41 of Think Like a Chef by Tom Colicchio in addition to the basic pan sauce method (i.e. sweat mirepoix, deglaze with vinegar, reduce, add stock, reduce again and strain out the vegetables) found on page 75. The Flavor Bible also played heavily into the frisee salad. I applied the method to prepare polenta as described in the kitchn to an adapted list of ingredients found on page 198 of Cook Like A Rock Star by Anne Burrell with Suzanne Lenzer.


For the salad:
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 small head frisee, green leaves only (discard the white root)

For the polenta:
2 cups whole milk
2 cups water
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 cup yellow corn meal
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

For the filets with reduction:
4 six-to-eight ounce filet mignon
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, divided
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 shallot, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup red wine
1/2 cup beef stock


1. Prepare the salad: Combine the vinegar with the olive oil and season the vinaigrette with salt and pepper. Set aside.

2. Cook the polenta: In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, water and salt, then bring to a boil over medium heat. Once boiling, whisk in the corn meal slowly until the mixture thickens and the corn meal no longer sinks to the bottom of the saucepan. Reduce the heat to low and cover, stirring every 10 minutes until the polenta is thick, approximately thirty to forty minutes. Once the desired consistency has been reached, stir in the butter and parmesan.

3. Roast the filets: While the polenta cooks, heat one tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until smoking. Remove any moisture from the surface of the filets by patting them with a paper towel, then season them on both sides with salt and pepper. Place the filets in the skillet and brown for approximately two to three minutes. Turn the steaks to brown on the second side, but add two tablespoons butter and thyme sprigs to the pan and baste the filets with the browning butter until just before the desired doneness is reached. Remove from the skillet to a plate and tent with some aluminum foil to allow for carryover cooking while the reduction is prepared.

4. Make the reduction: Add the remaining tablespoon to the hot skillet used to roast the fillets. Once the oil shimmers, add the shallot to sweat, approximately two to three minutes. Add the garlic and sweat until fragrant but not browned, approximately an additional minute. Deglaze the pan with the red wine, scraping up the fond left by the filets and bring to a simmer, reducing the wine by one-third. Add in the beef stock and simmer again until the sauce coats the back of a spoon. Reduce the heat to low and whisk in the remaining tablespoon butter, removing the skillet from the heat if necessary to prevent the reduction from separating. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Strain out the solids.

5. Finish the salad and plate the dish: Whisk the vinaigrette again to combine, then toss with the frisee. For the presentation, spoon polenta in approximately the same diameter as the filet onto the middle of the plate, top the polenta with the filet then garnish the filet with the frisee salad. Spoon some of the reduction around the polenta then serve.


We won't know who won this contest until it's announced at the conference, so I'm unsure if it's successful in that regard. The flavors of the dish certainly complemented each other. If you want to know who was chosen the winner, I recommend following Rosen Hotels on twitter, facebook, pinterest, instagram and Google+.


  1. What a wonderful meal and presentation. Good luck with the contest!

  2. Lovely presentation and I love a good filet mignon. The idea of polenta instead of mashed potatoes is excellent. Good Luck in the contest.

  3. DB, this looks better than anything I could buy in a steakhouse, especially knowing how much technique 'n care you brought to its preparation. Suddenly I'm starving! I can practically smell the filet mignon through my screen. Good luck with the contest!

  4. Great recipe! Thanks for stopping by! I hope we can connect at the Food and Wine Conference. Contest aside, I love meeting fellow food bloggers. This looks delicious!

  5. Lovely recipe and presentation. What can be done in advance so I could serve it to guests without being in the kitchen too much while they are here. Thanks!


Feedback is always welcomed. If you're going to be critical, be constructive. In other words, be nice.