Sear-roast the beef:
Heat the oven to 425°F. Turn the exhaust fan on to high. Pat the meat dry with paper towels. Season both sides generously with salt and pepper (about 1 tsp. of each total). Heat a 12-inch heavy-based ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat until a droplet of water vaporizes in 1 or 2 seconds, about 1 min. (If the water skitters around the pan and doesn’t evaporate, the pan is too hot; take it off the heat for about 30 seconds to cool.)
Add the oil, swirl it around the pan, and then evenly space the beef in the pan. Cook without touching for 2 min. Using tongs, lift a corner of the tenderloin, check that it’s both well browned and easily releases from the pan, and flip it over. (If it sticks or isn’t well browned, cook for 1 to 2 more minutes before flipping.) Cook the second side for 1 min. and then transfer the skillet to the oven.
Roast until the beef reaches the doneness you want, usually 4 to 7 minutes (for medium rare, beef should be have an internal temperature of 130°F and be slightly springy to the touch). Using potholders, carefully remove the pan from the oven, transfer the meat to a large plate, tent with foil, and let it rest while you prepare the sauce in the same skillet.
Prepare the sauce:
Pour off any excess fat from the skillet. Off the heat, add the Cognac and then return the pan to high heat. Cook, scraping the pan with a wooden spoon to pick up any browned bits, until the Cognac is almost completely reduced. Add the broth and cook until it’s reduced to about 1/3 cup, about 5 minutes. Add the cream, mustard, chives, and thyme, stir well, and remove from the heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle over the beef and serve immediately.
Serve with green beans and Sour Cream & Leek Mashed Potatoes.
Wine Choices: The combination of lean beef, mustard, and herbs needs a red wine with medium-plus tannins and some herbal character: Go with a Cabernet blend.
nutrition information (per serving):
based on four servings;
Photo: Scott Phillips