Spoil mom or anyone special in your life with this deceptively easy to prepare and ridiculously delicious pan seared filet mignon steak with red wine sauce. You can also made this with a boneless New York strip steak. Sponsored by Harris Ranch Beef.
Mother’s Day is around the corner and that means flowers are being ordered and brunches are getting scheduled. Which begs the question: Why does Dad get a steak dinner for Father’s Day and Mom gets…. brunch?! Moms love steak, too!
I have shared with you how to grill a Porterhouse steak for dad’s special day, and today I am sharing the perfect steak for Mom: a pan seared filet mignon steak with red wine sauce.
What is a filet mignon?
The most coveted steak on a steakhouse’s menu is the filet mignon. Filet mignon is French, where filet means “thick slice” and mignon means “dainty.” This tender and delicious cut of meat comes from the small end of the tenderloin.
The tenderloin is long and cylindrical looking meat that is found on the back rib cage of the animal. This is the part of the cow that is not weight-bearing and not toughened by exercise. What this means for you is a very, VERY tender piece of meat.
If you have a tenderloin, you cut the filet mignon steaks from the center. The filet steaks you find sold at the market are about 1 to 2 inches thick and 2 to 3 inches in diameter. They come in 6 and 8-ounce sizes.
The beauty of this cut of meat is that it is incredibly tender with less marbling and fat as compared with other great cuts of beef. And moms like that, of course.
Best way to cook filet mignon?
Because the filet mignon is so tender, it doesn’t require much fuss or work to cook. It can be grilled, broiled, roasted and pan seared. You can enjoy it alone, wrapped in bacon or drizzled with a decadent sauce.
For this post, I seared the filets in a cast iron pan and then finished the cooking in a hot oven. Because of their thickness, I find that finishing the cooking in the oven and not the pan gives me the perfect crust of the outside without burning it.
Don’t let the picture fool you into thinking that these steaks are burnt. The perfect sear adds a nice crust. This sear keeps the steak juices inside, leaving you an incredible steak.
Choosing the best steak
You could say that you can’t choose a bad filet mignon – they are THAT good. They are also expensive. If you do find “cheap” steaks, chances are the meat is old or from an unreliable rancher. The result would be money wasted on tough and bland steak.
A lighter color filet means more marbling and that means more flavor. If you are cooking more than one filet at a time, choose steaks that are similar in size and thickness. This guarantees even cooking.
For me, the best steaks come from Harris Ranch Beef. I have been lucky to work with this California beef company for over a year. I can honestly say that I loved their meats before I developed a professional relationship with them.
If you drive from Southern California to the Bay Area frequently, you have probably seen their feeding lot, restaurants and hotel off the I-5. It’s a delicious pit stop on a road trip!
Harris Ranch has spent the past 50 years bringing the highest quality of beef to the world. They are the only rancher that controls the entire beef production process, from the ranchers who raise the cattle to the custom made feed at the feed lot.
They also have their own near zero emission trucks that transport the cattle to their company owned feeding lot and processing plant. The cattle used to produce Harris Ranch beef spend approximately 80% of the time grazing on western ranches.
When the cows come to the feeding lots after 18-24 months of grazing on grass, they are fed custom made feed. Harris Ranch mills all of their own feeds under the guidance of a consulting animal nutritionist.
We have all seen grass-fed steaks. I understand that many people choose grass fed because they feel the cattle are raised more humanely. I have toured the Harris Ranch facilities and was very impressed with how well the animals are treated. Their livestock facilities were designed by Dr. Temple Grandin, a world-renowned expert in animal welfare.
If you want the best tasting steaks, whether you are talking filet mignon or any other cut of beef, grass fed beef falls short. Most people prefer the taste of grass fed grain finished beef, which also has more marbling than grass fed alone.
What is red wine reduction?
Another reason why I love to cook filet mignon in a cast iron pan is to make a sauce with the bits and drippings in the pan. So first, sear both sides of your filet steaks, then add a little butter, fresh herbs and onions and cook it in a hot oven until desired doneness.
A cast iron pan is so versatile because you can cook with it on a stove and in the oven. Not to mention that I love using my cast iron outside on a grill or over a campfire!
After removing the steaks from the oven, transfer them to a serving platter to rest while you make the red wine sauce. Place the hot pan back on the stove and brown the onions. Stir in garlic and cook for an additional minute.
Now comes the magical red wine sauce. Add a dry red wine and start scraping up the bits on the bottom of the pan. While you do this, you want to reduce the sauce by half. This is the red wine reduction and it’s a deceptively easy sauce.
Once the sauce is reduced, add another pat of butter for creaminess and you are done. If you are concerned about the alcohol content, don’t be. The alcohol gets burned off and what you are left with is a dreamy sauce.
My kids love their steak plain and they were mopping up this red wine sauce. It really is a simple yet delicious way to serve up Mom’s filet mignon!
Can I make this with a cheaper cut of meat?
I understand that the filet mignon is an expensive cut of meat. And for some people, they just can’t pay this much for one meal. I totally get it. No worries. You can enjoy steak with red wine sauce using a less expensive cuts of meat.
We enjoyed this dish with boneless New York strips, too. These beauties are also from Harris Ranch Beef and were equally delicious. The New York strip steak is cut from the short loin subprimal, sometimes with the bone attached but most often as a boneless steak.
For pan searing, I suggest using boneless steaks. Although the strip is not the most tender cut of meat, it certainly has tremendous flavor. NY strip steaks have tremendous marbling and that makes them juicy and incredible. So when choosing a New York strip, again look for the marbling.
Because the strip steak is not as thick as a filet mignon, you can cook it completely in the pan without finishing it in the oven. So you only have to modify the recipe slightly to make the wine reduction sauce with this cut of meat.
Sear the steaks, cook until desired doneness and then transfer to a serving platter to rest. Then sauté onions with the herbs, add garlic and then red wine. Continue cooking and reducing the sauce and finish it with the butter.
How do I know my steak is done?
When we first were married, my husband and ruined many a steak. We couldn’t figure out how the steakhouses created such incredible steaks. Of course, the first mistake was choosing a high quality of meat, but then what?
Steak is often overcooked because you can’t easily tell if it is done by looking at it. It does get easier over time as you prepare and cook steaks more often. My husband can tell by the springiness of the cooked meat if it is medium rare or not, the doneness we prefer.
I like to be more exact, especially when cooking filet mignon. So I use a meat thermometer. When using a meat thermometer, you do not insert it from the top, but from the side of the steak.
Slide the probe from the side to the center of the steak for the most accurate reading. For rare you want an internal temperature of 125ºF, medium rare 130°F and medium 135°F.
- 4 filet mignons, 6 or 8-ounces
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp coarse black pepper
- 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup minced onions
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 cup red wine
- 2 TBS butter
- Remove filets from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking. Pat meat dry and season all over with salt and pepper.
- Preheat oven to 400ºF.
- Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat and add olive oil.
- Place filets in the pan and sear until deep brown on one side, about 5 minutes.
- Turn and cook on the other side and sear for 5 more minutes.
- Add 1 TBS butter, rosemary, thyme and onions. Stir herbs and onions into the oil and butter.
- Transfer skillet into the oven and cook until desired doneness.
- You will need to Insert meat thermometer into one of the filets thru its side. For rare 125ºF, medium rare 130°F, medium 135°F.
- Remove skillet from the oven and transfer steaks to a serving plate and let it rest while you prepare the red wine sauce.
- Reserve the drippings in the skillet.
- Heat skillet to medium and sauté onions. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.
- Pour in wine and scrape up any browned bits with a wooden spoon. Bring to a boil and cook until reduced by half, about 5-7 minutes; remove from the heat.
- Remove and discard rosemary and thyme sprigs.
- Whisk in last tablespoon of butter.
- Slice the steak against the grain and serve with the sauce.
You can also prepare this with 2 boneless NY strip steaks. Instead of cooking in the oven, sear both sides of the steaks in the pan until desired doneness then transfer to a serving plate. Sauté onions, then add garlic and herbs. Add red wine and scrape the bits on the bottom of the pan. Reduce wine by half, remove from heat and finish sauce with butter. Once melted, drizzle sauce over the steaks and serve.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 358Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 98mgSodium: 676mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 23g