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(Filet Steaks with Mushroom and Madeira Sauce)
For 6 Steaks (can be multiplied easily)
Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volume I

The filet mignon comes from the loin of the cow. It is the tenderest cut but also the most expensive. It is also very lean, but without any marbling to give it flavor, the filet needs a sauce to be at its best.
This recipe takes about 15-20 minutes to make. It is not hard. It can be made on any weeknight and served with steamed vegetables and a green salad. It can also be served as part of a more formal dinner (see The Julia Child Tribute Dinner) where your entree is just one course in the meal. I think it is one of the safest bets for any type dinner party. Most people love a good steak.

Note: My children go crazy when I cook this! To make it more affordable, I buy a whole beef tenderloin and cut it into individual steaks. I freeze what I don’t need raw for later.

6 crustless rounds of bread, French or Sourdough, about 2 ½ inches in diameter and ¼ inch thick
3 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

½ lb fresh mushrooms, whole if very small, quartered if large
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp minced shallots
¼ tsp salt
Pinch of pepper

6 filet steaks 1 inch thick and 2 ½ inches in diameter, each wrapped in a thick piece of bacon secured with a toothpick
2 Tbsp butter, more if needed
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 or 2 heavy skillets just large enough to hold the steaks easily

½ cup beef stock or broth
1 Tbsp tomato paste
¼ cup Madiera mixed with ½ Tbsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp minced parsley, tarragon and chervil, or parsley only

Heat olive oil and melt butter over MEDIUM HIGH heat. When hot and bubbling, add bread rounds and sauté to brown lightly on each side. Reheat them for a minute in a 350° oven just before serving.

Heat olive oil and melt butter over MEDIUM HIGH heat. When hot and bubbling, add mushrooms and sauté to lightly brown, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to MEDIUM and stir in shallots. Cook 2-3 minutes more. Season and set aside.

Dry steaks on paper towels. Heat olive oil and butter over MEDIUM HIGH heat. When butter foams and then begins to subside, add steaks and sauté to medium rare, 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove from heat immediately. Discard bacon and season steaks with salt and pepper. Place each steak on a piece of bread and keep warm while making the sauce.

Pour fat out of skillet then stir in the stock and tomato paste. Boil rapidly and using a wooden spoon, scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Reduce the sauce to 2-3 Tbsp. Add the starch and wine mixture to the sauce and boil rapidly until the alcohol evaporates and the sauce thickens, about 1 minute. Add sautéed mushrooms and simmer for 1 minute more. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve: Plate the bread and steak canapé. Spread mushroom sauce over the steaks and sprinkle with herbs.
Note: Put a dab of the sauce on the side for the children in your group who don’t like different foods to touch.

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