Sunday, December 23, 2007

Chateaubriand with Portobello Mushrooms and Madeira Wine au Jus

Beef tenderloin - or filet mignon - is hard to beat for taste, tenderness, or texture.


1 to 1 1/2 Lbs center-cut beef fillet
2 large portobello mushrooms, washed & unpeeled
2 cloves garlic
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon brandy
½ cup (4 fl oz) Madeira Wine (or red wine if you prefer)
salt and freshly milled black pepper


For this recipe, you will need a large cast iron or steel frying pan or skillet - one without a wooden or plastic handle that can go inside the oven. If you don't have one, use a medium size, lightly oiled heavy based roasting pan for the oven cooking, and a frying pan for the stove top cooking.

Preheat the oven to 445F. If you are using a different pan for the oven cooking, put it in the oven to get really hot.

Unwrap the chateaubriand and season with freshly milled black pepper.

Put the pan that you are using on the stove over a medium/high heat and add 2 tablespoons of oil. Allow it to get very hot until it just starts to smoke.

Keeping the heat on high, add the beef fillet to the pan and quickly sear on one side, and then the other. This should only take a minute or two at the most to achieve a crusty golden seal.

Now, put the pan straight into the oven (or transfer to the preheated oven pan) on the middle shelf and roast for 10 to 15 minutes depending on how rare you like it.

While that's happening, cut the mushrooms into thick slices. If you are using the garlic (some folk prefer not to mix romance with garlic!), chop it finely. Now pour yourself a glass of wine and relax for a few minutes....this chateaubriand recipe virtually cooks itself!

When the chateaubriand is ready, remove it from the oven and carefully transfer to a warmed plate and cover loosely with a piece of tin foil. Then leave it to rest for 15minutes.

Reheat the stove top pan or skillet with about 2 tablespoons of the fat and juices from the beef pan. When it's hot, add a knob of butter.

Add the garlic to the pan and quickly stir through the hot fat to color slightly. Then add the sliced mushrooms and a seasoning of salt and freshly milled black pepper.

Now, sauté the mushrooms for about 2 minutes turning frequently adding a little more oil if the pan becomes too dry.

Turn the heat up to maximum and deglaze the pan by adding the brandy. If you are feeling like a professional chef by now ;-) and you are cooking with gas, tilt the pan towards the open flame to let it flambé.

Once the brandy has all but evaporated, turn the heat down to low and add the Madeira wine. Allow it to simmer gently and reduce for about a minute. Check the seasoning.


Carve the beef fillet in thick slices and arrange on a warm serving plate. Pile the mushrooms on top and drizzle the Madeira jus over.