Medallions of Beef with Foie Gras and Truffles

This winning combination is known in the classic French repertoire as tournedos Rossini. The story is that the composer Rossini, a devoted fan of truffles, asked a chef to prepare this dish. The chef balked, suggesting that it was ill-conceived. The maestro said that if the chef was offended, the maestro himself could prepare the dish quickly while the chef’s back was turned. The word tournedos thus supposedly comes from the French phrase tourner le dos, to turn one’s back. Prepare this when pouring a prodigious red wine, and you surely won’t be vexed.–Katherine Alford

Medallions of Beef with Foie Gras and Truffles Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 35 M
  • 1 H
  • Serves 4


  • For the sauce
  • 2/3 cup Madeira
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallot
  • 1 thyme sprig
  • 1/2 bay leaf
  • 2 cups veal or beef stock
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons arrowroot, mixed with 1 1/2 teaspoons water (optional)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 to 1 ounce fresh or preserved black winter truffle
  • For the medallions
  • Four 4-ounce filet of beef (tenderloin) medallions, about 1 1/2 inches thick, at room temperature
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Four 1-ounce grade-A or -B duck foie gras medallions


  • Make the sauce
  • 1. In a saucepan, combine the Madeira, shallot, thyme, and bay leaf. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook until the wine is reduced to a light syrup coating the shallots. (The wine may flame briefly.)
  • 2. Pour the stock into the wine reduction and simmer until reduced by half. Skim off any impurities that rise to the surface. If the sauce is not thick enough to nap the meat, whisk the arrowroot mixture into the sauce and bring to a full boil to thicken. Lower heat and whisk in the butter. Season with the 3/4 teaspoon salt, the pepper, and vinegar. Slice the truffle paper-thin with a truffle slicer, mandoline, or very sharp knife and add to the sauce. Set aside and keep warm in a double boiler over hot water for up to 1 hour. (You may need to adjust the consistency with a bit of water if the sauce thickens.)
  • Make the medallions
  • 3. Meanwhile, pat the beef medallions dry with paper towels and season one side of the meat with salt and pepper. Heat a heavy skillet over low heat. Add the oil to the pan, increase the heat to high, and place the meat, seasoned-side down, in the pan. Saute until the steaks are a rich burnished brown on the bottom, about 4 minutes. Season the remaining side with salt and pepper to taste, turn, reduce the heat slightly, and brown the other side, 3 to 4 minutes. Brown the sides of the medallions by standing them on their sides. Transfer the meat to a plate while you sear the foie gras.
  • 4. Wipe out the skillet and heat it over high heat. Season the foie gras medallions with salt and pepper to taste. Add the medallions to the pan and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until a deep brown on the bottom. Drain off any excess fat. Turn the foie gras with a metal spatula and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until the foie gras softens but still has some resilience. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
  • 5. To serve, remove any strings from the medallions and place the medallions on warmed plates or a platter. Top with the foie gras and nap with the sauce, making sure that a couple of slices of truffles rest on each serving of foie gras. Serve immediately.
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