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Whisky Christmas Dinner – Main Course: Fillet of Beef With Morel Sauce — Dramming
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Whisky Christmas Dinner – Main Course: Fillet of Beef With Morel Sauce

by Oliver Klimek on December 12, 2012

For the main course I strived for something equally simple as the goose liver. After all it is Christmas and you may prefer to enjoy the holidays with your friends and family rather than to spend them working hard in the kitchen. But simple does not necessarily mean cheap and easy.

Ingredients per person:

  • A piece of fillet of beef (tenderloin), at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick
  • As many morels as you can afford, fresh or dried
  • A generous dram of unpeated whisky
  • A generous dash of liquid cream
  • Clarified butter
  • A pinch of cinnamon because it’s Christmas
  • Salt and pepper


If you use dried morels, soak them in cold water for two hours in advance. Drain and rinse the morels and chop them into small pieces. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees.

In a heavy skillet (preferably cast iron) heat a small amount of clarified butter, just enough to cover the bottom. It should be heated as high as possible. Sear the steak for 2 minutes on each side without moving it to get a nice dark crust. Then wrap it into aluminium foil and place it in the oven.

Turn stove to medium heat, add a little more clarifed butter and sautee the morels for 2 minutes. Deglaze with the whisky and enjoy the the boozy cloud that develops. Add the cream and the cinnamon and let reduce to somewhat less than 50%, gently stirring occasionally. Season with salt and freshly ground peper (black or multi-coloured).

Remove the meat from the oven, open the foil and place the steak onto a plate and dress with the morel sauce.

Suggestion for side dishes: Potato gratin (can be made in the oven so you just need to add the wrapped meat when it’s time) and bacon-wrapped green beans.


The cooking time in the oven of course depends on how done you prefer your steak. As you can see in the picture I like mine pretty rare, so the few minutes it took to prepare the sauce were just perfect. If you prefer it cooked longer, you may have to wait a while before preparing the sauce – which implies cooling down and re-heating of the skillet. The exact cooking time of course greatly depends on the size and thickness of the steak. If in doubt, refer to the plethora of cooking resources available on the net. It is also possible to adjust the oven temperature.

The choice of whisky is not very crucial here. The morels play first fiddle, the whisky just adds another dimension of flavour to it in conjunction with the cinnamon. A good qualty blend will do the job as well as a well-balanced unpeated single malt. I selected an old bottling of Grant’s 18 yo I recently found.

Head on to the dessert: Whisky Soufflé

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Serge December 12, 2012 at 3:56 pm

Oliver, you might also soak the dried morels in milk instead of water, for an extra-smoothness (says my personal chef).


Oliver Klimek December 12, 2012 at 4:14 pm

That’s a very good idea, worth trying out! Thank you Serge.


bacchus December 14, 2012 at 12:09 pm

I guess the whisky offers an elegant solution to the sometimes-tough problem of finding a proper wine not conflicting with cream (one could always choose a white wine, but then it conflicts with rare beef).
I don’t like much cinnamon, so I’m biased here, but the “cinnamon, because it’s Christmas” phrase is terrible to me. Christmas is allways the pretext to go all pink pepper, honey, figs jam, coriander, cinnamon and whatever Marco Polo brought back in his pockets… But a good “foie gras”, a tasty piece of beef “bleu”, do they really need a firework to be… christmessy?
anyway, this picture makes me really hungry!


Oliver Klimek December 14, 2012 at 12:44 pm

Of course the “beacuse it’s Christmas” part was a bit tongue-in-cheek 😉 I tried it and found out it harmonized very well with the morels. If you don’t like cinnamon you can simply leave it away.


bacchus December 14, 2012 at 1:20 pm

Don’t worry, I never let my taste block my curiosity. I have to learn a lot of things.
(That’s how I got to like beer, by checking all of them just to be sure there was not a single one I liked… I ended up doing a circle).
I’ll try it the way you wrote it first. Then I’ll decide if I like it, if I don’t put anything at all, if I try with green pepper, with nutmeg…


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