| Beef Tenderloin Tips with Green
Veal stock, methodically reduced 80%, and skimmed and strained over
the better part of two days, yields a brown, jellied, concentrated and
brilliant-textured sauce known as demi glace. In the Cathedral of
French Culinary Arts, demi glace has its own alcoveŚless visited than in
years past, but still frequented by the faithful who know and appreciate
the mystic powers of demi glace as a mother sauce.
This stuff is expensive to make (Let's say: one cook, two shifts at
$15/hour.) The good news is that a little goes a long way; it keeps
for months in the fridge and forever in the freezer. The breaking
news is that now you can buy an acceptable version of veal demi glace at
The lingering bad news is that it too is expensive (about $23 for 10 ounces).
I've tried it four times now and it compares OK with my own demi glace,
which I'll keep making.
It's worth the cost if, for years, you've longed to try your hand at
constructing one of the many classic demi-glace-based French sauces, such
as peppercorn, Bordelaise, Roquefort, Robert (mustard), Hunter (tomato/tarragon),
orange, various mushroom sauces and others.
Here we use it to make a classic green peppercorn sauce.
Green peppercorns are early-picked black peppercorns. They are
not solid or hard and therefore soften out in the cooking process.
A green peppercorn from the jar gives way easily as you bite down on it,
in contrast to a hard black peppercorn. They are quite mild, giving
off heat only in the aftertaste.
Beef Tenderloin Tips with Green Peppercorn Sauce
Yield: Six servings
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Time to serve: about 5 minutes
See abbreviations, if needed.
· 1.5 lbs
beef tenderloin scraps
· ½ stick
· 5 oz
· 2 oz
· 2 T
green peppercorns, washed and drained
fresh parsley leaves, sliced, for garnish
For the beef:
1. Cut the beef tenderloin into 1x1 inch cubes, about 6 cubes
2. In a very hot heavy skillet, sear the beef tips and beef scraps
in butter, to blue
(blue = seared nicely on the outsideŚcool and raw
3. Remove the beef tips to another heavy skillet and set aside
4. Continue to sauté the beef scraps to build up more
sticky brown mass in the skillet
5. Remove and discard the scraps
For the sauce:
6. Over medium-low heat, deglaze the skillet with a little water
7. Add some butter and sweat the shallots to transparent
8. Add the wine and reduce
9. Add drippings from the set-aside beef tips
10. Off heat, add the cognac
11. Return to skillet to fire and tip it to ignite the cognac
12. Add the peppercorns
13. Add the demi glace and simmer for 5 minutes before tasting
14. Adjust seasoning and add a little water if needed for volume
15. Set sauce skillet aside to await the beef
For the dish: (a la minute):
16. Heat plates in a warming oven (with the bread and veggies)
17. Bring sauce to simmer
18. Taste sauce and adjust seasoning (use only S/P and water
at this point)
19. Fire the beef skillet to medium high, add a little butter
and sauté the
beef tips to desired doneness
(rare = 120F). Remove from heat
20. Neatly ladle about 2 ounces of the sauce onto the center
of each heated plate
21. Arrange tenderloin tips over the sauce. Add garnish
22. Serve immediately
1. Of course you can substitute six 6-ounce filet magnons for
the beef tenderloin tips.
2. For rather more elegance, strain the sauce to remove the onions
and peppercorns. Then reheat it in a clean pan with a little clarified
butter just before serving. Be advised, you will lose a lot of volume.
So, if you plan to strain the sauce, also plan to make more of it than
called for in this recipe.
3. Françoise Dionot, founder/chef of LĺAcademie de Cuisine,
insists that pouring sauce over a steak is hugely improper. "The
sauce must be ladled onto the center of the plate and the steak then placed
on top of the sauce." I concur, wholeheartedly. Besides, one
never argued with Françoise.