Roquefort is a sheep milk cheese from the south of France, and together with Bleu d’Auvergne, Danablu, Stilton, and Gorgonzola is one of the world’s best known blue cheeses. Though similar cheeses are produced elsewhere, EU law dictates that only those cheeses aged in the natural Combalou caves of Roquefort-sur-Soulzon may bear the name Roquefort, as it is has a protected designation of origin. It was reported to be a favorite of Emperor Charlemagne and is affectionately called, in France anyway, the “cheese of kings and popes”.
Roquefort cheese is moist and breaks into little pieces easily. Genuine Roquefort is rich, creamy and sharp, tangy and salty in flavour. It is aged in cool caves for months and sometime years. It is also mostly used in salads and dressings, as hors d’oeuvres, on charcuterie boards, and as strong counterpoint to certain dishes. It is also made into exquisite sauces, like this very special dish.
Filet de Boeuf au Roquefort – Beef Tenderloin with Roquefort Sauce
- Baking sheet with wire rack
- Large heavy skillet
- 2 lb Center-cut beef tenderloin, 1 piece
- Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
- 2 tsp Peanut or canola oil
- 1 tsp Duck fat or clarified butter (regular butter will work)
- 1 small Shallot, minced (1 tbls)
- 3 tbsp Dry Madeira or imported ruby Port wine
- 1½ cup Beef bone broth, reduced in saucepan to ½ cup
- 2 oz Creamy Roquefort cheese
- 3 tbsp Unsalted butter, good European
- 2 tbsp Creme fraiche or whipping cream
- 2 tbsp Lightly toasted pine nuts
- 2 tbsp Lightly toasted walnut pieces
- 2 tbsp Lightly toasted blanched almond slivers
- 1 tbsp Flat leaf parsley, chopped
- Prep – Lightly sprinkle meat with salt and pepper. Rub a little oil over the beef and loosely cover plastic wrap and put in refrigerator until 1 hour before cooking. Crush the Roquefort and butter into a smooth, creamy paste. If too salty, mix in another ½ tbsp butter. Cover and refrigerate. Toast nuts. Chop shallot and parsley.
- Sear Meat – Heat a large heavy skillet until very hot. Pat the roast dry with paper towels. Add 2 tsp oil and duck fat or clarified butter and heat over high heat until just smoking. Sear the meat, turning until browned all over, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let sit at least 20 minutes.
- Make Sauce Base – Throw out cooking fat and add shallots and Madeira or Port to skillet and boil, scraping up browned bits, until reduced to a glaze. Add demi-glace/reduced stock, bring to a boil and reduce to syrup consistency. Set aside.
- Roast Fillet – About 30 minutes before serving, preheat the oven to 450°F (232°C). Roast the beef fillet for 19 minutes to medium-rare, 135°F (57°C).
- Finish Sauce – While roast is in oven, gently reheat the syrupy sauce left in the skillet and stir in the Roquefort butter ⅓ at a time until fully incorporated. Remove from heat and stir the cream into the sauce.
- Serve – Spoon the sauce onto a heated serving platter. Slice meat into ¾-inch slices and arrange, overlapping over the sauce on the platter. Surround with mixed nuts, sprinkle parsley over, and serve immediately.
- After searing the meat, it is essential it rest on a raised rack, allowing air to flow around it. This will keep keep the crust intact and keep juices in both before and after cooking.
- Try and use the highest quality ingredients for this dish whenever possible, especially the meat, Roquefort cheese, and butter.
- The suggested substitutions all work quite well but the original ones create a dish closer to the original.