Question: Several years ago my husband and I had dinner at the Garfield Inn, while on a trip around Michigan's thumb. I ordered a filet mignon that was served with a memorable sauce. I would love to be able to duplicate that meal at home.
- L. Gamache and A. Hunt,New Baltimore, Mich.
Answer: Overlooking Lake Huron at Port Austin on the tip of Michigan's Thumb, the Garfield Inn enjoys a significant 130-year-old past. Earliest records show the inn was purchased by Charles G. Learned in 1857. Learned was a lumber baron, who was involved in the construction of the Erie Canal and New York City's waterworks system.
President James A. Garfield was devoted to Learned's wife, Maria, and he became a frequent visitor at the Learned home. Garfield delivered a stirring speech from the third-floor balcony of the Learned home endorsing Ulysses S. Grant as the country's president. Garfield later defeated Grant in his bid for a third term as president. Wounded by an assassin's bullet after only six months as president, Garfield asked to be allowed to travel to the Learned home in Port Austin.
The Boursin Filet Mignon is charcoal grilled, filled with herbed Boursin cheese, wrapped in smoked bacon and covered with a sauce that provides a spicy complement to the cheese. Serve with Horseradish Whipped Potatoes (in food processor mix until fluffy 1 cup cooked potato, 1/2 teaspoon butter, 2 teaspoons whipping cream, 1/2 teaspoon horseradish, 1/4 teaspoon chopped parsley, and a pinch of salt and white pepper).
BOURSIN FILET MIGNON
1 8-ounce center-cut beef tenderloin filet
2 tablespoons herbed Boursin cheese at room temperature
2 strips smoked bacon
SAUCE FOR FILET:
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons tomato puree
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped shallots
3/4 cup Burgundy wine or grape juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 small bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon dry thyme
1 cup beef stock or broth
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon diced red bell pepper
1 teaspoon diced yellow bell pepper
1 teaspoon diced green bell pepper
1 teaspoon diced orange bell pepper
1 teaspoon butter
Place the tenderloin filet on a cutting board. With a thin, sharp boning knife, puncture the filet on the side, in the middle of its thickness. Keeping the knife parallel to the cutting board, gently sweep the knife through the center using the initial puncture as a pivot. Keep the incision the width of the knife blade you are using. Be sure the pocket is open enough for filling before removing the knife. With a pastry bag fitted with a plain pastry tip, pipe the Boursin cheese into the filet until the pocket is full. Wrap the filet with smoked bacon, securing ends of bacon with toothpicks. In saute pan over high heat sear sides of filet until bacon is golden brown and cooked through. Remove filet from pan and refrigerate for later use.
In saucepan over medium-high heat, combine Worcestershire Sauce, tomato puree, garlic, shallots, wine or juice, Dijon mustard, bay leaf, thyme, beef stock, water, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmering briefly or until dark brown in color and thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat. Strain through a fine strainer into small saucepan. Add red, yellow, green and orange peppers, return to heat and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and stir in butter.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove filet from refrigerator and place in ovenproof pan. Cook approximately 5 minutes or to desired doneness. Well done is not recommended due to loss of cheese filling. Place cooked filet on serving plate, top with sauce and sprinkle with sauce garnish of peppers. Makes 1 filet.