Filet of Beef with Raisins and Pepper Sauce

“This is adapted from Daniel Boulud’s Letters to a Young Chef,” –Jesse Morrison Gauthier.

For the Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

1T extra virgin olive oil
1 lb fingerling potatoes, scrubbed and halved lengthwise
1 T salt and freshly-ground pepper
unsalted butter
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 sprig thyme

Warm the oil in a large skillet over high heat. When oil is hot, add potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Brown potatoes evenly on all sides, turning as needed. Reduce heat to medium, add butter, garlic and thyme and cook until potatoes are tender. Discard garlic and thyme. Set potatoes aside and keep warm.

For the Sautéed Spinach

1½ t unsalted butter
1½ lbs spinach, stemmed and centre veins removed
2 cloves garlic, crushed
salt and freshly ground white pepper

Melt butter in a large skillet over high heat. Add spinach and garlic and season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss until spinach is tender but still bright green, about 5 minutes. Discard garlic and drain off any remaining liquid in the pan. Set aside and keep warm.

For the Beef and Sauce

½ c golden raisins
¼ c cognac or Armagnac
1 t coarsely crushed whole pink peppercorns
1 t coarsely crushed whole green peppercorns
½ t coarsely crushed whole black peppercorns
½ t coarsely crushed Szechuan peppercorns
1 whole Jamaican peppercorn, crushed
1½ lb beef tenderloin, trimmed of fat and cut into 4 slices
coarse salt
4 T unsalted butter
⅓ c unsalted beef stock or low sodium beef broth

Bring 2 cups of water to boil in a small pot. Add raisins, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain and run the raisins under cold water. Drain again. Put raisins into a small bowl and pour the cognac over. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Combine peppercorns together. Season meat with coarse salt and press peppercorns into the beef. Warm 2 T butter in large skillet over medium heat. Slip filets into the pan and cook for 4 to 5 minutes on each side for medium-rare. Transfer meat to a platter and keep warm.

Drain off the fat from skillet. Add raisins and cognac to pan. Simmer gently until liquid is reduced by half. Add beef stock, reduce the heat and simmer for another 2 minutes. Cut remaining butter into small pieces. Gradually add butter to the sauce while continuously stirring. Season to taste for salt. Add meat to the pan and baste with the sauce.

To serve: divide the meat and sauce among four warm dinner plates. Serve with the fingerling potatoes and spinach.

Serves 4.