I attended a Viking Cooking school cooking class. A friend and I had been planning on going to one for the past few months but the holidays got in the way and we didn’t find the menu that appealed to us until the perfect one showed up… It was one of their date night series a few days before Valentine’s Day.

The menu included:

  • Lobster bisque with brandy cream
  • Pancetta-wrapped filet mignon stuffed with spinach and boursin cheese
  • Oven-roasted truffled frites
  • Baby greens with candied pine nuts
  • White chocolate cherry cheesecake

How can you say no to that menu? Don’t worry, we didn’t!

Pro tip: Measure everything out before you start. I have learned to do this more and more. If you have everything ready you aren’t scrambling to chop while something could be burning. Everything was pre-measured for us in the class and this is something I will definitely do more often.

We started with making the candied pine nuts. Strangely enough I had never candied nuts before and it was a lot less scary after doing it once (burned sugar anyone?). No salad is complete without some candied nuts (or at least I think so now that I made them once)!

The lobster bisque was admittedly, the most work, and I realized I didn’t have most of the equipment to make it at home (it required a a really nice fine mesh strainer, the problem is… now I want that fine mesh strainer. I found a cheaper one I ordered from Amazon.com). A fine mesh strainer makes your soup smooth and shiny.

The highlight of the night (and the recipe that is on my “must save” list) was the Pancetta-Wrapped Filet Mignon stuffed with Spinach and Boursin Cheese. Since this blog has turned into my place for recording my favorite recipes I opted to add it here.

Ingredients for the filet mignon stuffed with spinach and Boursin cheese:

Boursin spinach stuffing:

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced shallots
  • 3 (packed) cups fresh baby spinach
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons Boursin cheese

Filet:

  • 4 (6-ounce) filet mignons
  • 8 paper think slices pancetta
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 large shallots, very thinly sliced
  • 4 teaspoons canola oil, divided

Demi-glace:

  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 cup merlot (drinkable quality)
  • 1 cup strong beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

First you need to make the Boursin cheese spinach stuffing to stuff in the filet:

1. Melt the butter over medium heat in a medium sized sauce pan. Let it foam and once the foaming has gone down, add the shallots and cook until the shallots are clear and soft, but don’t cook them long enough for them to brown which will take about 2-3 minutes. Add the spinach and cook until the spinach is wilted.

2. Boursin cheese spinach stuffing: Add the cream and Boursin cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted and the mixture is smooth. Stir constantly and keep cooking for about 3 minutes until the mixture thickens slightly (about the same density as creamed spinach). Remove the Boursin cheese sauce from the heat and set it aside to cool all of the way.

3. Filets: Cut a horizontal 1-inch opening on one side of the filet. Use the tip of the knife to create a pocket inside the filet. Be careful not to cut all of the way through, but make the hole as large as you can.

4. Stuffing the filets: use a teaspoon to stuff the pocket with about one-fourth of the cooled spinach stuffing. Try to distribute it as evenly as possible.

5. Pancetta: Cut the pancetta in half. Wrap 3-4 slices around the filet (not covering up the hole, so wrap them around the circumference with the cheese side facing up). Tie a piece of butchers twine around the pancetta wrapped filet mignon. Season generously with salt and pepper.

6. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Farenheit.

7. Combine the shallots and 2 teaspoons of oil in a mixing bowl. Make sure the shallots are covered evenly.

8. Heat a large oven-proof saute pan over medium high heat. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil and let the oil heat all of the way through. Add the filet mignons to the pan and sear (brown) all sides until the tops and bottoms have formed a mahogany brown crust and the pancetta has started to crisp. This takes about 2 minutes per side.

9. Scatter the shallots in an even layer around the filets in the pan and place the pan in the oven. Bake 5-6 minutes for medium rare and 7 minutes for medium.

10. Remove from the oven and transfer the filets to a warm platter to rest. Cover with aluminum foil while you make the Demi-glace.

11. Demi-glace: Put the pan back on the stove at medium-high heat and add the thyme. Saute until the thyme is fragrant which will take about 2 minutes. Add the Merlot and cook until the wine has been reduced to about 2 tablespoons. Add the 1 cup beef stock and cook until the sauce has reached a sauce consistency. This will take about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and swirl in the butter. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

9. Remove the twine from the filets and place each on a warmed dinner plate. Spoon the sauce over each filet mignon and serve immediately.

The dinner was amazing! The one thing I did buy that night was a scoop cutter! It was less than $10 and is my new favorite tool to get my chopped food into the pan.

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