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Filet Mignon With Horseradish-Cream Sauce

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5:30 Challenge / 5 ingredients / 30 minutes

Even if you don’t have restaurant reservations for Valentine’s Day, there’s no reason not to celebrate “5:30 Challenge”-style with an elegant dinner for two. Put the kids to bed early, bring out the fine china and crack open a bottle of red wine.
This simple horseradish cream sauce adds a festive note to the most decadent piece of meat, filet mignon. Whipping the cream before adding flavoring gives it luxurious body.

Hands on time:   Total time: 30 minutes  Serves: 2


    8 to 12 ounces filet mignon
    1/4 cup heavy cream
    2 tablespoons sour cream
    1 to 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
    1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice


Season both sides of filets with salt and pepper. In a large, ovenproof, lightly oiled skillet, over high heat, sear the beef on both sides until browned. Sear the edges, by holding the meat with tongs, rotating it for even browning. Reduce heat to medium-high and cook for 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium rare (if your steak is more than an inch, place in oven at this point). Let the meat rest while making the sauce.
With an electric mixer, beat heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in sour cream, 1 tablespoon horseradish and lemon juice until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Adjust seasonings to taste, adding additional horseradish as desired.
Serve meat sliced with sauce on the side.


The tricky thing about cooking a filet is judging the doneness. Sometimes filets are sold several inches thick, making it difficult to predict exact cooking time -- the outside sears long before the inside cooks through. For more predictability, look for filets that are only about 1-inch thick (or slice a very thick one in half, horizontally). If the meat is much thicker than 1 inch, finish it in a 400-degree oven for about 3 to 5 minutes after cooking it on the stovetop.
There are several ways to judge doneness. The visual -- cut into the steak with a sharp knife to take a peek. The touch-test -- medium-rare meat should feel almost firm to the touch, but with a bit of spring (like the flesh on the base of your thumb). With very thick steaks, be more scientific -- use an instant-read meat thermometer, which should register about 145 degrees for medium rare.

Take the 5:30 Challenge. If you have a great-tasting main dish recipe that uses no more than five ingredients and can be made in 30 minutes or less, tell us. (Salt, pepper, water and oil for greasing a pan don't need to be included in the ingredient list.) Send recipes to 5:30 Challenge, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Sixth Floor, 72 Marietta St. N.W., Atlanta GA 30303. Or by e-mail to fivethirty@ajc.com.


Per serving: 380 calories (percent of calories from fat, 72), 24 grams protein, 3 grams carbohydrates, trace fiber, 30 grams fat (15 grams saturated), 116 milligrams cholesterol, 98 milligrams sodium.

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