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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

Preparation:

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.

Comments:

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

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