Filets mignons with shallot-cognac sauce

Total Time
25 min
10 min
15 min
This quick pan sauce offers a sophisticated finish to tender filet mignons, and it's ready in mere minutes. Cognac and red wine serve as the building blocks of this French-inspired creation, and fennel seeds pressed into the beef give the steaks another layer of unexpected flavor. Searing is a perfect cooking method for filet mignons because it's fast and seals in the juices. Think classic steakhouse sides when it comes to what to serve with this rich beef. Lightly creamed spinach, potatoes any way, or an iceberg wedge with all the fixings would all make great matches. Cognac comes from the region of the same name in France, and is known for its quality. Brandy, which can be made anywhere in the world is a good substitute for the purposes of this recipe, though it's likely not to be as deeply flavored. If you opt to use brandy, make sure it's a classic, grape-based brandy, as there are varieties distilled from other fruits that would not be ideal.


Fennel seeds

1 Tbsp, finely chopped

Black pepper

¾ tsp, coarsely ground

Table salt

½ tsp

Uncooked lean and trimmed beef filet mignon

16 oz, 4 (4-ounce) filets, about 1-inch thick

Olive oil

½ tsp

Red wine

4 fl oz, dry

Canned beef broth

½ cup(s)


2 medium, finely chopped


2½ fl oz


  1. On a sheet of wax paper, combine the fennel, pepper, and salt. Coat the steaks on all sides with the mixture.
  2. Heat the oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the steaks and cook until browned, about 1 minute on each side. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of each steak registers 160°F for medium, 145°F for medium-rare, about 4 minutes on each side for medium-rare. Transfer steaks to a serving plate.
  3. Add the wine, broth, and shallots to the skillet; bring to a boil, scraping up the browned bits in the bottom of the skillet. Add the cognac; bring to a boil and boil until the pan juices are reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Stir in any juices that have accumulated around the steaks into the shallot sauce. Spoon the sauce over the steaks.


To keep the fennel seeds from flying all over as you chop them, drizzle them with just a drop or two of olive oil.