filet steaks with an irish whisky & cream pan sauce

from fine cooking and zach’s go to for a special meal. he made this last night for our valentine’s day dinner, searing up some scallops to go with it.

4 1- to 1-1/4-inch-thick pieces beef tenderloin (about 7-1/2 oz. each)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbs. vegetable oil (if not using a cast-iron pan)
1 Tbs. unsalted butter
3 Tbs. finely chopped shallots (from 1 large shallot)
1/4 cup Irish whisky, such as Jameson, or brandy
1/2 cup homemade or low-salt canned beef or chicken broth
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 to 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
Season each steak generously with salt and pepper. Heat a heavy-based (preferably cast-iron) skillet that’s large enough to hold the steaks over high heat until quite hot. (Add the 1 Tbs. vegetable oil if not using cast iron.) Test by touching the edge of one steak to the pan surface; it will sizzle briskly when ready. Immediately drop in the steaks and sear one side for 2 minutes. Sneak a peek to see if the first side is nicely browned. If not, continue to sear that side for another minute or so. Flip the steaks and sear the other side for 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium high, cook for another 2 minutes, flip, and cook until a digital instant-read thermometer in the center of the meat reads 120°F for rare or 125°F for medium rare, another 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the steaks to the warm platter and let them rest, covered loosely with foil, while you make the sauce.

To make the pan sauce:
Return the unwashed pan to medium heat. Add the butter and let it melt. Add the shallots and cook, stirring, until fragrant and just tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the whisky or brandy and stir with a wooden spoon, scraping up any browned bits stuck to the pan. Add the broth and Worcestershire sauce, raise the heat to medium high, and bring to a boil. Whisk in the mustard and then the cream. Continue to cook at a boil, stirring, until reduced to a saucy consistency, 3 to 5 minutes. Taste the sauce and season with salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Serve the steaks with the sauce.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on four servings without oil; Calories (kcal): 580; Fat (g): 41; Fat Calories (kcal): 360; Saturated Fat (g): 19; Protein (g): 42; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 15; Carbohydrates (g): 3; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1.5; Sodium (mg): 450; Cholesterol (mg): 185; Fiber (g): 0;
photo: Scott Phillips
From Fine Cooking 80 , pp. 43
September 1, 2006