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Filet-of-Beef Wrapped In Parchment with Sauce Bearnaise and Braised Spinach

By Chef John Ash

This recipe incorporates a catering technique where beef can be cooked ahead of time. Delicious with Sonoma-Cutrer Vine Hill Pinot Noir .

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    Serves 6

    Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes

    Prep Time 20 minutes

    Difficulty Level Advanced


    1, 3-4 lb filet mignon trimmed of fat and tendon (Beef Filet)

    2 tbsp coarsely ground mixed pepper peppercorns (Beef Filet)

    1 tbsp coarse sea salt (Beef Filet)

    2 tbsp good brandy (Beef Filet)

    1/3 c dry white wine (Béarnaise)

    1/3 c white wine vinegar (Béarnaise)

    2 tbsp chopped shallots (Béarnaise)

    3 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon leaves and stems, divided (Béarnaise)

    8 black peppercorns (Béarnaise)

    3 large egg yolks (Béarnaise)

    2 sticks unsalted butter, melted (Béarnaise)

    Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper (Béarnaise)


    1. For the filet: If using the tail end, fold the thin tail of the filet under and tie-up the filet using cotton kitchen twine at 2 to 3-inch intervals. Rub the ground pepper and salt into the filet. Alternately, you could substitute 1 tablespoon of dried tarragon or any other dried herb you prefer for 1 tbsp pepper.

    2. For the filet: Let the filet stand at room temperature for 1/2 hour before cooking. Preheat the oven to 500°. Place the filet in a roasting pan. Drizzle a tablespoon of brandy over the filet, if you desire.

    3. For the filet: Place the pan in the center of the oven and reduce the heat to 450°. Cook the filet for 25 to 30 minutes (120° internal temperature), depending on size but never more than 30 minutes. Remove the filet and wrap it snugly in a sheet of parchment paper.

    4. For the filet: tack 10 sheets of newspaper on the counter and place the parchment-wrapped filet on top of the pile of newspaper. Wrap all of the layers of newspaper around the filet tucking it tightly underneath. Let it sit for at least 1/2 an hour or longer. When you decide to unwrap it, it will be still warm and perfectly done. If you prefer it to be served hot, warm it very briefly in the oven.

    5. For the filet: Slice and serve with Sauce Béarnaise.

    6. For the sauce: Combine wine, vinegar, shallots, 1 tablespoon tarragon, the stems and peppercorns in a heavy saucepan, bring to a boil over high heat and boil until reduced to about 1/4 cup, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool. Strain pressing on solids and discard solids.

    7. For the sauce: Combine the strained reduction with the egg yolks in a blender and pulse until smooth. With blender running at medium speed add the butter in a slow stream thru the hole in the lid. Add remaining 2 tablespoons of tarragon leaves and pulse once or twice. Thin sauce if desired by whisking in a tablespoon or so of warm water. Season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.

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