These filet mignon with pomegranate-burgundy sauce certainly make a delicious case for it.
Making it happen actually is quite easy. Start with the right cut of beef. The tenderloin that filet mignon is cut from is on the leaner side, with about 7 grams of fat per 4-ounce portion. That’s not a bad start, especially since a bit of fat will add lots of flavor.
When preparing velvety, rich sauces, most recipes call for starting with a generous dollop of butter. Our recipe does away with that, instead starting with tangy pomegranate juice and dry red wine. But the real secret here is using some veal demi-glace to add flavor, body and texture.
A good meat stock (which is the key ingredient in demi-glace) is made by roasting the bones, then simmering them for a long time with aromatic vegetables. At some point the solids are stained out and the liquid is reduced until it has intense flavor and the gelatin from the bones has given it a smooth, almost viscous texture.
It’s the rich flavor and velvety texture of this kind of stock that can give a sauce a luxurious, glossy feel, without the need to lard it with butter.
Best of all, you don’t need to bother with all that roasting and simmering. Excellent prepared demi-glace products are available at many grocers.
Companies such as More Than Gourmet make super-concentrated stocks and demi-glace (as well as fish and chicken stocks). Look for them near other bouillon bases and soups at your market. The product itself is reduced to a thick paste, which can be added directly to a sauce to give it that restaurant-quality flavor and finish, or diluted into a more typical stock.
If you can’t find veal demi-glace, it’s easy to substitute for. Increase the red wine to 1 cup and add, along with the pomegranate juice, as directed. Immediately add 2 cups of beef stock, then bring to a simmer and cook until reduced to 1/3 cup. Add 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch blended with 2 tablespoons of water, then cook until thickened. Proceed with the recipe.
Filet mignon with pomegranate-burgundy sauce
2 beef filet mignon (4 ounces each)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Ground black pepper, to taste
3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 medium shallot, minced
1/3 cup dry red wine
1/2 cup veal demi-glace
1/3 cup pomegranate juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds (optional)
Heat the oven to 200 degrees. Season the steaks with salt and pepper.
Heat a 10-inch cast-iron or other heavy skillet over medium for 2 minutes. Add 2 teaspoons of the oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Increase heat to medium-high.
Add the steaks and cook, 3 to 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer the filets to an ovenproof dish and place in the heated oven (the steaks will cook a bit more in the oven).
Return the skillet to medium heat and add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and the shallot. Saute until shallot has softened, about 1 minute. Add the wine and cook for 1 minute. Add the demi-glace, increase the heat to high to bring the sauce to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has reduced by half and thickened.
Spoon the sauce over the filets and serve, garnished with chives and pomegranate seeds, if desired.
Nutrition information per serving: 477 calories, 31 grams fat, 18 grams carbohydrate; 25 grams protein, 603 milligrams sodium.