Filet Mignon with Port Wine Reduction
2 good cuts of beef tenderloin (filet mignon), 1 to 2" thick
3/4 cup of your favorite port wine (a relatively inexpensive ruby variety works fine)
1/8 cup sliced onion
1/8 cup Craisins dried cranberries (original flavor)
1 Tbsp butter
Dash of Balsamic vinegar
1 sprig fresh parsley, chopped (skip it if you're using dried...yuck)
Salt and pepper
Water as needed
Heat a dry, heavy skillet over very high heat. Season the filets liberally with pepper and sear for 2 minutes per side. Remove the meat from the pan, and set it aside.
Reduce the heat to medium and deglaze the pan with a couple of tablespoons of water, whisking all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan, making a brownish, gravy-like liquid. When the liquid is nearly evaporated, and the pan has cooled a bit, add the onions, sweating them until soft and translucent. Add the wine and bring to a fairly vigorous simmer. You can flambé at this point if you want to add a bit of flair to your cooking (be careful, it's really not necessary, but it's fun).
When the alcohol has mostly evaporated (volume reduced by about 1/4 and/or your flambé is no longer sustainable), add the Craisins, and bring the meat back to the pan. Cook the meat another 2 to 4 minutes per side, until it's done to your liking (filet mignon really benefits from being cooked slightly more rare than you normally enjoy your steak). If the liquid in the pan reduces by more than 1/2, add a few tablespoons of water to reconstitute the sauce. Don't let the pan go dry!
Remove the meat from the pan when it's done. Add the vinegar and a few pinches of salt to the sauce. Reduce to about 1/4 cup, and whisk in the butter. Turn the heat off, add the parsley, and serve the sauce over the meat (don't worry, it should be thin).
Pair with a rich, complex beer - perhaps one that's wood aged or even a sour variety. A deep red wine with a crisp dryness would also work. I served a spinach salad with a light vinaigrette on the side. Finish the meal with a touch of port wine as a digestif. A chocolate/raspberry dessert would really round out the evening.
If your significant other enjoys a good steak dinner, this one is guaranteed to win you some serious points!