George W. Bush's fillet of beef with three-peppercorn sauce, 2001

Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Yields Serves 6 to 8
George W. Bush’s fillet of beef with three-peppercorn sauce, 2001
(Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times)

Three-peppercorn sauce


Heat a small, heavy-bottom saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the oil, then the carrot, onion, leek, shallot, garlic and peppercorns and saute until the vegetables are tender, 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the thyme and bay leaf and cook for 30 seconds.


Stir in the Cognac and red wine. Bring to a boil and cook until reduced by one-third, about 3 minutes.


Add the vinegar and broth and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer until reduced by one-third, about 30 minutes.


Strain the sauce through a fine-mesh strainer set over a bowl and discard the solids. Season to taste with salt and pepper and keep covered in a warm place until needed.

Fillet of beef and assembly


Remove the tenderloin from the refrigerator one hour before starting the recipe.


Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Season the beef generously with 1 teaspoon salt and one-half teaspoon pepper, or to taste.


In a large, heavy-bottom saute pan, heat the oil over high heat. Brown the tenderloin on all sides, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat.


Place the tenderloin on a rack in a roasting pan; do not wash the saute pan. Roast the beef until a thermometer inserted reads 125 degrees for medium-rare, about 20 minutes, longer for more well-done. Transfer the tenderloin to a cutting board for several minutes to rest.


While the tenderloin is resting, return the saute pan to the stove top over medium-high heat. Ladle one-half cup of the sauce and cook, scraping any flavorful bits from the bottom of the pan. Heat the sauce over high heat and boil for 2 minutes. Strain the liquid through a fine-mesh strainer into the rest of the sauce.


To serve, cut the ties from the beef and slice the tenderloin crosswise into one-half-inch slices. Place 2 to 3 slices on each dinner plate. Spoon some sauce over each serving and pass any remaining sauce alongside.

Adapted from Walter Scheib, former White House chef.

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