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Filet Mignon Skewers with Balsamic Reduction

Tender filet mignon bites glazed with a balsamic reduction and served warm make a special appetizer. The meat can be cubed and the sauce prepared up to 24 hours ahead; cover and refrigerate. The skewers can be assembled an hour before broiling. Instead of wooden skewers, you can use sturdy rosemary branches, stripped of their leaves except for the tips. Select branches that are about 4 inches long.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter, plus 1/2 tsp. if reheating
  • 2 Tbs. minced shallots
  • 1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup medium-bodied fruity red wine, such as Pinot Noir
  • 2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 lb. filet mignon, trimmed of fat
  • Fresh rosemary sprigs for garnish (optional)

Directions:

Soak 8 bamboo skewers in water to cover for at least 30 minutes.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the 2 Tbs. butter. When it foams, add the shallots and sauté until translucent, about 1 minute. Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. each of the salt and pepper. Increase the heat to high and add the wine. Cook until reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Add the vinegar and cook until reduced to about one-third, about 4 minutes more. Remove from the heat and set aside. (If making ahead, let the reduction cool, then cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Add the 1/2 tsp. butter and reheat gently over medium heat.)

Preheat a broiler.

Cut the filet mignon into 1-inch cubes. You should have about 24 cubes. Transfer the cubes to a bowl, pour the balsamic reduction over them and turn to coat. Drain the skewers and thread 3 cubes of beef onto each skewer. Arrange the skewers on a broiler pan, spacing them about 1 inch apart. Season with the remaining 1 tsp. each salt and pepper.

Place in the broiler about 6 inches from the heat source and broil until just browned, about 3 minutes. Turn and broil until just browned on the other side, about 2 minutes for medium-rare, or 3 minutes for medium. Transfer to a platter, garnish with rosemary sprigs and serve hot. Serves 8.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Holiday Entertaining, by Georgeanne Brennan (Oxmoor House, 2007).