While many of the tipsy recipes you’ll find here revolve around the sweet, this Cognac Peppercorn Beef Tenderloin is a savory entrée that’s date-night or special occasion worthy. It definitely leaves an impression.
After briefly soaking the tenderloin in cognac – I used Hennessey — the remaining liquor is utilized in the sauce, which provides a silky contrast to the spicy peppercorns.
A bit of warning — those who are spice-sensitive may want to cut back on the amount of peppercorns. I’m a big fan of pepper so I didn’t mind the bites that were alive with a good kick. It could be a little much for some though.
Also, the recipe calls for crème fraiche, which is like sour cream but less sour. Despite my best efforts – I scoured grocery stores, boutiques and specialty locations in the small Central Florida town where I live – I couldn’t find any. So I did a little Googling and found a recommendation to use Philadelphia’s Cooking Crème in place of crème fraiche. I chose the savory garlic flavor and wasn’t disappointed. In fact I will likely use this creamy product in the future for sauces and as a pot pie filler, as the product packaging suggests. Actual sour cream and crema Mexicana were also noted as viable substitutes. If you really have some time, give making your own crème fraiche a shot. Those who posted recipes, like this guy, said it wasn’t that hard. If you take the challenge of making it let me know how it goes.
Last, the below recipe is for four tenderloins. I was a little nervous about cutting the ingredients in half when cooking only two filets for my husband and I. Would 3 Tablespoons of cognac really be enough to marinate and provide for the sauce? But it worked out perfectly.
- 3 Tablespoons chopped shallots
- 3 Tablespoons chopped leeks
- 1.5 cups mushrooms
- 6 Tablespoons of cognac (my choice was Hennessy)
- 4 Thick-cut beef tenderloin steaks
- 6 Tablespoons lightly crushed green or black peppercorns
- Freshly ground sea salt
- 4 Tablespoons (1/2 a stick) cold unsalted butter
- 2/3 cup crème fraiche or substitute
- Crush 6 Tablespoons of peppercorns, place on a plate or shallow dish.
- Place the 6 Tablespoons of cognac in a shallow dish, add the steaks and let soak for 3 minutes on each side.
- Heat 1 Tablespoon of olive oil in a large sauté pan.
- Add shallots, leeks and mushrooms into pan. Saute for approximately 3 minutes.
- Remove the steaks from the cognac, drain excess liquid, press both side of the steaks lightly into the peppercorns to coat.
- Season each side of the steak with the sea salt.
- Remove leeks, shallots and mushrooms.
- Melt butter in the skillet, add the steaks and brown 4 minutes per side for medium rare and seven minutes per side for medium. Keep in the pan longer for medium-well and well-done.
- When flipping steak over, add shallots, leeks and mushrooms back to the pan.
- When steaks are almost finished, add the cognac, swirl in the pan and cook for two minutes, turning the steaks once in the sauce.
- Transfer the steaks to a plate.
- Pour the crème fraiche into the pan, stir and bring to a boil.
- Serve steaks topped with the sauce, shallots, leeks and mushrooms.