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Remembering Mom at Christmas

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Deena Bouknight

The holidays are indeed times of cheer and blessings. However, for many individuals, holidays can also be seasons of melancholy due to lost love ones. While I have only positive memories of my mother, Meta, who passed 30 years ago at age 46 of an aneurysm, I especially miss her at Christmas. She always lavished us with her cooking skills, but at Christmas she gifted us with some of her most sumptuous, notable dishes. One of those was Celebration Filet Mignon.

As I raised children of my own, I made this dish the tradition on Christmas Eve or Christmas day, depending on each year’s circumstances and schedule. I also shared the recipe with my siblings, as well as other treasured recipes from my mother’s little brown wooden recipe box, which I still possess. I have added cards to it, but many of the cards bear her hand-writing, which was distinct and representative of her exuberant spirit.

This entrée is also distinct, and superbly delicious. It serves four. Double it for more guests or for leftovers. 

Consider purchasing filet mignon that is locally or regionally raised – for example, at Franklin spots such as Brasstown Beef or Yonder.

Celebration Filet Mignon


  • ¼ pound mushrooms of choice – sliced
  • 1-2 regular tomatoes chopped – or about 20 cherry
  • tomatoes cut in half
  • 1 medium onion,
  • chopped
  • 4 filet mignons – about
  • 1-inch thick; or, 2 pack-
  • ages of already cubed filet
  • ½ cup of water
  • 2 Tbs. Dijon mustard
  • 4 tsp. capers (optional)
  • 4 Tbs. butter
  • ¼ cup half and half

Sauté mushrooms, tomatoes, and onions in a skillet until cooked; remove and cover to keep warm. Sear in a skillet or cook on a grill the filets to desired wellness; remove and keep warm. In the pan’s juices from the vegetables and the beef, stir in water, mustard, and capers; add half and half. Add back in vegetables and filet mignon and heat for a minute or two until warm. Serve.