Thursday, June 11, 2009

Filet Mignon and Twice Baked Potatoes

You may say this is sexist, but is this a MEAL FOR A MAN, or what?!?! Jim and I went shopping at Costco where we found a bargain on cuts of Filet Mignon that we could not pass up.

I pulled up Pioneer Woman and found her directions for Twice Baked Potato, which I have never tried - it all came together so easily and Jim was very impressed! He gobbled up all his and some of mine too. P-Dub even calls these "Simple. Man-Pleasin’. Delicious." She's right!

With dinner we opened a Waugh Petite Sirah and finished of the Estancia from the night before. Both are excellent wines!

For the potatoes, I started by scrubbing them under the faucet and picking off any ugly parts or "eyes" then poked them with the tines of a fork several times. Place them on a cookie sheet or directly on the oven rack at 400 degrees for an hour and 15 minutes. Make sure they are cooked through before removing them.

While the potatoes cook, I start prepping the BEEF! I turn to my trusty Saltgrass 7 Seasoning and give them a light coat of olive oil and a heavy sprinkle of seasoning. Then let them sit on the counter and come to room temperature.

The beef cut is Tenderloin and the steak type is Filet Mignon. Info from Wikipedia that I found interesting enough to share: The tenderloin runs along either side of the spine, and is usually harvested as two long snake-shaped cuts of beef. The tenderloin (not to be confused with the short loin) is sometimes sold whole. If the short end of the tenderloin is cut into portions before cooking, that portion is known as filet mignon, or the fillet, from the French boneless meat (mignon meaning "small" as true mignons are cut from the smaller tail end of the tenderloin).

The fillet is considered to be the most tender cut of beef, and the most expensive. The average steer (male) or heifer (female) provides no more than 4-6 pounds of filet. Because the muscle is non-weight bearing, it receives very little exercise, which makes it tender.

Enough about the steaks. The meat was great, but the real star of the show are the twice baked potatoes. I couldn't believe how easy this was, I'm definitely doing this again for company. So I started assembling the ingredients, then realized I should make homemade bacon bits first.

So I cut a few little pieces off the slab of bacon.

And threw them into my cast iron skillet to brown over medium heat.

Okay, HERE is my ingredient photo: minced garlic, lawry's seasoned salt, black pepper, milk, sour cream, cheddar cheese, butter and bacon bits.

I love love love my KitchenAid mixer. Thank you Jim, the best Christmas present ever. It's the gift that keeps on giving! This mixer makes twice baked potatoes a sinch.
The great thing about twice baked potatoes is, precise measurements really are not necessary. Basically, what you do is you bake some potatoes, scrape out the insides, then add a bunch of yummy stuff and mix it together. Then you fill the scraped-out potato shells with the new potato mixture, top with cheese, and bake again, just to warm it up. So you bake them twice.

Start by throwing in the bacon pieces. I'm guessing this is probably two or three pieces of bacon chopped up.

Now add about two tablespoons of butter per potato. This is a half stick of soft butter.

I added about one full cup of shredded cheddar cheese. Estimate 1/2 cup per potato.

Then I threw in one minced garlic clove.

This is 1/2 teaspoon of Lawry's seasoned salt. Add to taste.

Next I added about 1/2 cup of sour cream.

Then I chopped about four green onions and added them to the mixer.

It's all in there, now let's get to mixing.

The potatoes are cooked through and HOT!

Using a pot holder or kitchen towel, cut each potato in half lengthwise.

Now with a large spoon, begin scraping out the insides and into the mixing bowl.

Repeat with the other potatoes until you have a smooth shell left.

Leave a little potato in there to support the shell, but if something rips, no worries. There is no crying in cooking! Except for that one time when my sauce separated and I was very very upset...otherwise, no crying, just keep moving.

Now we just mix the potato guts with the other ingredients. You could do this by hand with a potato masher, but then we wouldn't get to use my KitchenAid mixer.

Mix on low speed to get everything blended, and add milk as you see fit. I just used about a tablespoon.

I also added a dash or two of this seasoning. It's so good.

Now refill each potato shell with the mixture.

Place on a baking sheet and into a 350 oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the potatoes are warmed through.

Or, you could refrigerate them for up to three days until you wanted to serve, OR you could freeze them in Ziploc bags, just as long as you skipped the green onion step.

Back to the meat. This won't take long at all. So when the potatoes are in the oven, we will cook the steaks on the stove, and then take the potatoes out of the oven, and finish the steaks in the oven. So here is my cast iron skillet with a little bit of the bacon grease left in from when we made the bacon bits. I add one pat of butter per steak to the skillet and let it melt.

The heat is on medium high and I swirl the pan to mix the butter around and allow it to brown a little bit.

Now for sizzle of the steaks! Place each one in the skillet and don't touch it for at least a minute.

Then flip the steaks and let it sit for 30 seconds to a minute. Next move the skillet to a hot 500 degree oven for about two minutes. (This time is for medium rare steaks. If you prefer medium, add a minute to both of the oven turns.)

Remove steak from pan, cover loosely with foil, and rest for 2 minutes.

I served the twice baked potatoes along with the juicy steak and a juicy glass of red wine.

Simple. Man-Pleasin’. Delicious.

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