The filet mignon is a luxurious cut and deserves to be served in a manner that befits its high standard. In this dish, the small steaks are grilled and served with silken shiitakes in a robust sauce that has been infused with the smoky flavor of morita chiles. A cloak of melted Chihuahua cheese is the finishing touch.–Priscila Satkoff
Filet Mignon and Shiitakes in a Chile Sauce
Makes 6 servings
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Position a broiler rack about 6 inches from the source of heat and preheat the broiler. Place the tomatillos on the rack. Broil, turning the tomatillos occasionally, until they are lightly browned on all sides, about 7 minutes. Do not overcook, or the tomatillos will burst. Transfer to a plate and let cool.
Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat. Add the morita or chipotle chiles, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 5 minutes, or until the chiles soften. Remove from the heat.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shiitakes and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 10 minutes. Set aside.
Drain the chiles, reserving the soaking liquid. Puree the tomatillos and chiles in a blender, using some of the reserved soaking liquid as needed to smooth the mixture. Transfer to a large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the shiitakes and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer to blend the flavors, about 8 minutes. Season to taste with salt. (The mushroom mixture can be prepared 2 hours ahead and kept at room temperature. Reheat before serving.)
Prepare a hot fire in a charcoal grill, or preheat a gas grill to high. Meanwhile, remove the beef from the refrigerator, season to taste with salt and pepper, and let stand at room temperature while the grill is heating.
Lightly oil the grill grids. Place the beef on the grill, cover, and cook until well browned on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Turn, cover, and cook until the meat feels somewhat firmer than raw when pressed in the center, about 3 minutes longer for medium-rare meat. (If you want to use an instant-read thermometer, insert one horizontally into the side of a filet, as it may be difficult to stand it vertically in the meat. The temperature should register 130°F for medium-rare.) Transfer to a wire rack on a baking sheet and let rest for 5 minutes. (This allows the meat to cook a bit more from residual heat and makes for a juicier steak.)
Meanwhile, position the rack about 6 inches from the heat source and preheat the broiler. Top each filet with a slice of cheese. Place them on the broiler rack and broil just until the cheese melts.
To serve, place each filet on a warmed dinner plate and surround with mushrooms in sauce, drizzling some of the sauce over the steak. Garnish with the cilantro and serve immediately.
Because of the smokiness of the morita chile and the meatiness of the beef, I like to pair this dish with a Syrah from the northern Rhone. Cote-Rotie, Cornas, and Crozes-hermitage from producers such as Guigal, Chapoutier, Jean-Luc Colombo, and Jaboulet offer a large range of possibilities.
Filet Mignon and Shiitakes in a Chile Sauce Recipe © 2009 Priscila Satkoff. Photo © 2009 Jeff Kauck. All rights reserved. All materials used with permission.