Demi-glace, a classic French brown sauce, is traditionally made with beef stock and simmered for days until it’s reduced to a thick, velvety consistency. While shortcuts exist, including substituting gravy, Lambert’s recommends using store-bought demi-glace to save yourself time, which is so essential during the holidays.

  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 5 cloves
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 3 cups red wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons brandy
  • 1 cup demi-glace
  • ½ tablespoon dark-brown sugar
  • 1 orange
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 to 6 filets (ask butcher to cut portions of 4 to 5 ounces each)
  • Olive oil

Serves 4 to 6

1. In a sauce pot, lightly toast the spices over low heat until aromatic. Add the red wine, chicken stock, brandy, demi-glace, and brown sugar and bring to a simmer.

2. While the sauce is coming to a simmer, using a peeler, add two peels of orange zest to the pot. Slice the orange in half and squeeze juice into the sauce. Simmer sauce until you have 1½ to 2 cups sauce. The sauce should be silky and shiny and nicely coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat, strain into a smaller pot, and season to taste with salt and pepper.** Reserve for plating.

3. Heat grill to hot. Rub steaks with olive oil and generously season with salt and pepper on both sides. Place on grill and don’t touch for 4 minutes. Lift and turn filets 45 degrees to get proper grill marks. Cook for another 2 minutes, then flip. Cook on second side for 3 to 4 minutes or until desired doneness. (Using an instant-read thermometer, cook to 130° for medium rare; 140° for medium; 150° for medium well.) Remove from heat and keep in a warm place to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

4. To serve: Plate a nice scoop of creamy mashed potatoes and lay a steak on top. Pour mulled-wine demi-glace over it, and serve alongside a simple roasted vegetable.

**Store-bought demi-glaces vary in salt levels. Be sure to taste the sauce as it reduces to make sure it doesn’t get too salty. You may not need to season finished sauce with salt. Alternately, you can add a couple of drops of red-wine vinegar to season strong sauces instead of salt.

This recipe originally appeared in "The Legendary Lambert's" by Lynn Cline.