Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Filet Mignon w/ Grits & Madeira Sauce

I used to have a hatred for grits.  But I think I just never had them prepared the right way.  The restaurant I work at is pretty famous for our Shrimp & Grits dish.  I happen to work the station that prepares this.  So I've gotten real familiar with how grits are supposed to be cooked in order to be amazing.  First rule?  Grits shouldn't be healthy.  You can argue this point up and down, but for properly cooked, creamy and delicious grits - you gotta take advantage of some fat.  The perfect ratio for grits, in my opinion, is 4:1.  4 cups milk: 1 cup grits: 1 cup heavy cream: 1 cup parmesan cheese plus 2 ounces of butter.  Throw 'em on low and slow, whisking frequently to avoid scorching, and you've got perfect grits every time.  Don't believe me?  Try 'em out that way and if you don't like them, come back here and yell at me all you want.  But I'll make a believer out of you, I promise!

Anyway, I love the sweetness that Madeira brings to a sauce so this is perfectly matched to a savory hunk of tenderloin. 

One other tip.  I've become more of a savvy shopper through the years and notice that you pay more for smaller portions.  Meaning, if you do the brunt work yourself, you pay less.  Same goes for steaks, especially filets.  You could just as easily buy a portion of a beef tenderloin and then cut it down when you get home (allowing you to determine the size of your steak - I hate going to the meat counter and seeing dinky little filet mignon steaks that would only fill up a 5 year old) for less money than buying preportioned filet mignons.  And it only take a fraction of a minute to do so, so why not?!

I'll be super duper busy starting next Monday - I got my internship assignment so I'll practically have no time to spare between school, work, and balancing an internship.  But it's all for the best, so stick with me!


1 lb. beef tenderloin, cut into filet mignon portions (I just cut the sucker right in half and did 8 oz. steaks for the both of us)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
salt and pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons shallots, minced
1 cup veal stock
1/4 cup port wine
1/2 cup Madeira wine
salt and pepper, to taste

1 cup white stone-ground grits
4 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 oz. unsalted butter
salt and pepper, to taste

In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, heavy cream, and butter.  Bring to a simmer, careful not to boil, then whisk in grits.  Turn heat down to medium low and cook until the grits are smooth and creamy, whisking frequently to prevent clumping and scorching.  Ideally, this would cook low and slow for about 45 minutes to an hour.  The slower you cook them, the creamier they'll be.  When the grits are done, stir in the parmesan cheese and then season to taste.  Keep warm.

Preheat oven to 425 F.

In a small saucepan, add the shallots, veal stock, and port wine.  Reduce by half.  Add in Madeira and reduce until at sauce consistency.  Season to taste.

Heat a large oven-proof saute pan under medium high heat.  Melt the butter.  Season filets with salt and pepper on both sides and then add to the hot skillet. Cook until you develop a nice golden brown sear.  Flip over and sear on the other side.  Transfer to oven and cook to desired temperature.  Remove from oven and let rest on a cutting board for about 5 minutes before serving.

To serve, place about 1/2 cup of grits on the center of each plate.  Place filet over top and serve with vegetable of your choice (we had some peas).  Top filet with a little bit of the Madeira sauce.

Can't beat a good looking steak like that, now can you?  Cheaper than a high end steakhouse, and sometimes tastes even better too!  Hope you guys have a great week!


  1. LOL Peggy, "Grit's shouldn't be healthy." So true, if you're going to eat grits, you have to eat them with cream, butter, more cream. Did I mention cheese. LOL These grits sound great and your meat like usual is perfecto!

  2. I love the color combo on the plate,,,,steak looks perfect serve with grits very interesting, next time you should try grits with mascarpone cheese :)

  3. Vavoom! I love that gravy! What colour! What flavour (I imagine)! This is definitely a meal calling out to me!

  4. Delicious meal, love the color. You serve good food everyday, Andy is lucky

  5. How fabulous! I love grits, but never thought to serve them with steak. Looks delicious! Good luck with your internship. You'll do great!

  6. What a beautiful meal. We love grits...and I agree, not healthy!

  7. I've, tragically, never had grits! but obviously that needs to change! your creamy dreamy grits tips sound amazing.

  8. My parents always turned their noses up to grits. Then I had them in South Carolina and LOVED them. I'm now a fan! They works so well with the recipe you posted. It looks amazing and perfect for my hubby.

  9. Wow, that's some decadent grits! I do 1 cup milk: 1 cup cornmeal: 2 cups water: 1 cup broth, 2 tbsp butter or olive oil, 1 tbsp cheese. Your sounds like a much better accompaniment to that luxurious cut of meat. Great meal.

  10. This is such a beautiful dish. I used to dislike grits too until I tried it at August restaurant when I visited New Orleans. I guess the chef did it the proper way like you described. So rich and decadent! :)

  11. This sounds amazing - and we just bought some filets! My husband is from New Orleans so his family loves grits - I am learning to love them, too. Your version sounds like the perfect accompaniment to this steak - I think we'll have to try it!

  12. Wow, Andy. Not sure how easy it would be to find grits in London, but after reading this I'm going to try!

  13. (Argh! Meant to type "Peggy" in last post, but got distracted by Google having technical issues with my login. Any way to edit that before you post? My apologies!)