Mom Makes Magnificent Meat

Perfectly cooked, perfectly tender filet mignon.

I don’t know for certain that culinary ability can be passed down from one generation to the next, but I’m positive that I have inherited a love of cooking from my mother. She’s fascinated with food and is always trying to come up with fun and interesting changes and twists to what she cooks. Mom (Michele to her friends) is an excellent cook and this recipe demonstrates not only her ability in the kitchen but her willingness to try new things (and use my step-dad as a guinea pig!). I’ll also add that my Vietnamese grandmother, my ba ngoai, is herself a superb cook, and undoubtedly she inspired my mother in much the same way as my mother has inspired me.

This method for cooking filet mignon utilizes the natural “carry-over” cooking that occurs when you roast something, especially a thicker cut of meat. It’s also a bit of a spin on the cooking-bag technique that you might roast, say, a turkey in. After roasting at high heat for twenty-five minutes, the filet is wrapped in parchment paper, and then a paper bag, and then a plastic bag. This allows the roast to finish by steaming in its own juices. The end result is a very tender, very flavorful, and absolutely delicious beef roast.

My mother likes to use an herb (which she grows herself) called tân in Vietnamese; the accent marks are slightly off and I can’t help with the pronunciation, sorry. She calls it Vietnamese oregano, and while I think it’s probably more closely related to mint or shiso, the herb has a flavor very reminiscent of oregano, if perhaps slightly sweeter and robust. The leaves are large, moist, and herbaceous. As this herb will be most likely unavailable to you, substitute rosemary, marjoram, or fresh bay leaves.

Mom lightly seasoned, lightly oiled the filet, and topped it with a few leaves of “Vietnamese oregano”.

You will need:

one 3.5 pound filet mignon roast, silver-skin and excess fats trimmed
2 tablespoons finely minced garlic
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
1/2 teaspoon white granulated sugar
about a quarter cup olive oil
six or seven leaves Vietnamese oregano or other herbs

Now do this:

Leave your meat (wrapped) on the counter for forty minutes or so, to allow it to come close to room temperature.

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. Season your filet with the garlic, salt pepper, and sugar. Rub with the olive oil. Place on a sheet pan or in a shallow roasting pan. Top filet with herbs.

Roast for exactly twenty-five minutes. Working quickly, wrap the roast in a big sheet of parchment paper. Stuff the whole thing into a paper bag, and then into a plastic bag. Yes, a paper grocery bag inside a plastic grocery bag will work fine. Allow the roast to sit, wrapped, for twenty minutes.

Unwrap carefully. Pour any juices that have collected in the parchment paper into a bowl You can spoon this jus over the roast if you like. Slice the roast and plate. Serve with a green veggie, a salad, and a potato dish. You will be delighted with how tender and fantastic this roast is!

I added a little puddle of Peter Luger’s steak sauce to the plate.

As you can see from the pics this recipe makes a rare-to-medium-rare roast. If you want something more cooked, add ten minutes to your roasting time. That’ll get you beef in the medium range.

Happy Roasting!


1 thought on “Mom Makes Magnificent Meat

Leave a Reply to Kristy Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s