This marinated stuffed filet mignon with habanero sauce recipe will surprise you with how delicious and easy it is to make.

In the quest for a new and perfect recipe for filet mignon, I ran across this outstanding recipe of from one of my favorite cookbooks, “Seasonal Southwest Cooking” by Barbara Pool Fenzl. 

Marinated and Stuffed Filet Mignons with Merlot Habanero Sauce

I highly suggest this book if you want to learn more about Southwest cooking.

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Tender filet mignon is served with an amazingly savory and hot sauce, made with merlot and habanero.

Let’s not forget the melty cheese that is heavenly with the sauce. Are your taste buds burning yet?

I must say, we were all speechless at the first bite. The steaks were as tender as they can be. Meanwhile, the gooey cheese and buttery pine nuts are pretty addictive.

The sauce over the filets, which is a simple reduction of the marinade, is out of this world.

Why You’ll Love Marinated Stuffed Filet Mignon with Merlot Habanero Sauce

  • Full of flavor – This dish is packed full of flavor from the meaty steak to the nutty, cheesy filling and the spicy sauce.
  • Easy to make – This simple recipe comes together quickly and easily. 
  • Versatile – Since these steaks are so easy you can make them for a simple family meal or for a crowd. 

Pine Nuts and Filets Mignons

Pine nuts are delicious, and I would not skip them as long as none of your family members or guests are allergic. The nutty flavor that they give to this fantastic dish is not replaceable.

Filet mignon is a very tender cut of beef. Clean of fat, it is one of the most delicious and versatile cuts of beef, in my opinion. Marinating the filets will make them even more tender.

Marinated and Stuffed Filet Mignons with Merlot Habanero Sauce

Cooking Tips

  • When you handle the habanero chile, wear gloves or wash your hands immediately as it is pretty strong. Gently remove the seeds and membrane from the habanero to remove some of the heat.
  • Do open the lid of your blender with care and see smoke coming out. It’s absolutely normal, but keep your face away, or it will give your sinuses a great wake-up call.
  • As with all cooking tips, use good Merlot wine, which you will enjoy with dinner.

What is habanero?

Muy Caliente! Small with a beautiful and vibrant orange color, it’s very hot. It’s actually one of the hottest varieties of chili. 

A word to the wise: always wear gloves when handling them.

The seeds are super potent and if you happen to have a small wound, it will burn.

Despite that I do have a tolerance for spicy hot food, I try not to breathe in when I clean them as the fumes make me cry and cough.

Here are a few helpful tips for the ingredients needed to make those marinated stuffed filet mignons

Beef filet mignons – the most tender cut of beef. Make sure all your fillets are the same size cut.


Merlot wine – Use a good one without breaking the bank. My rule is that if I drink it, I cook with it.

Balsamic vinegar – an aged one will be fantastic, but like the wine above, do not spend a fortune on a very aged balsamic vinegar as the prices will vary dramatically.

Fresh thyme leaves – give a layer of flavor to the wine and habanero.

Habanero chile – finely chopped and handled with extreme care and remove all the internal seeds.

Monterey Jack Cheese – grated, mild in flavor which balances well with the other ingredients.

Pine nuts – toasted add such a deep nutty flavor to this dish, and blended with the cheese is an experience like no other.

Unsalted butter – I always use unsalted butter in my cooking or baking to control the amount of sodium. Salted butter not only adds too much salt to your dish, but it changes the flavor.

Olive oil

Marinated and Stuffed Filet Mignons with Merlot Habanero Sauce
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How to Make Marinated Stuffed Filet Mignon with Merlot Habanero Sauce

  1. Use a sharp knife to slice a horizontal slit in each filet.

2. Sprinkle salt on each filet and rub it in before placing in a dish and refrigerating.

3. Add the wine, balsamic vinegar, thyme leaves, and habanero into a bender. Puree the mixture until smooth. 

4. Spoon the wine mixture over the filet, incorporating the salt from the steaks. 

5. Return the steaks to the refrigerator. 

6. Remove the meat from the marinade and reserve the marinade to make the sauce.

7. Insert the cheese and pine nuts into the slit you cut into the filets.

8. Add butter and olive oil to a preheated large skillet over medium high heat.

9. Place the filets in the hot skillet and sear on each side. It should only take a couple of minutes per side.

10. Place the filets on a rack on a baking sheet. 

11. Transfer the marinade to the skillet and cook until reduced, stirring frequently and incorporating browned bits.

12. Strain the sauce into a separate pan and add the butter. Place the burner on low heat to keep the sauce warm.

13. Place the rack of filets into the oven and bake until they reach the desired temperature on a meat thermometer. I recommend medium rare for these steaks, but you can aim for your preferred doneness.

14. Allow it to rest for a few minutes before serving.

15. Serve with the sauce drizzled over top.

Suggested dishes to go alongside

Mashed potatoes or pommes de terre fondantes are the perfect starch side dishes. They’ll soak up all the delicious juices — you do not want to leave those on your plate!

A simple green salad with vinaigrette or an easy mushroom herb salad are delicious sides, too.

Rice with peas and butter is also a simple and perfect pairing for the filets.


  • Heat – If you prefer less spiciness, reduce the habanero. If you like things hot, increase it.
  • Wine – Choose any variety of red wine that you prefer. 
  • Cut of steak – Use another thick cut of beef.
  • Nuts – If you prefer to not include pine nuts, you can omit them or replace them with chopped cashews.
  • Salt and pepper – Add more salt to the steak if you like, or reduce it. You can also rub it with black pepper for more subtle heat.
  • Cheese – Choose another cheese. You can make blue cheese stuffed steaks or use any other cheese that you prefer.

Other Beef Dishes

Broiled Beef Tenderloin with Asparagus and Roasted Red Onion Vinaigrette

Prime Rib Roast with Vegetables

Pot Roast with Vegetables

Steak with Lemon-Orange Horseradish Butter

Frequently Asked Questions

What is so special about filet mignon?

Filet mignon is a prized piece of beef because of its delicate flavor and melt-in-your-mouth texture.

Is filet mignon better than ribeye?

This comes down to personal preference. Filet’s flavor differs greatly from a ribeye since it contains substantially less fat. The fat content also affects texture.

Is Habanero hotter than jalapeno?

Yes, habaneros are much hotter than jalapenos. Jalapenos top out at about 8,000 Scoville Heat Units while habaneros range from 100,000 – 350,000.


Make-Ahead: Make the dish up through the stage of applying the marinade and refrigerate for up to 24 hours before cooking.

Refrigerator: Store leftover steak in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

Freezer: You can freeze cooked filet mignon for up to 3 months.

I must say, we all were speechless at the first bite. The filet mignons were as tender as they can be. The cheese and pine nuts are quite addictive.

The sauce over the filets, the marinate reduced,  was out of this world.

Marinated and Stuffed Filet Mignons with Merlot Habanero Sauce

5 from 9 votes
Marinated and Stuffed Filet Mignons with Merlot Habanero Sauce
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Marinate: 2 hours
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 6 people
Super delicious filets mignons marinated in wine with a perfect habanero sauce. A must-try!


  • 4 beef filet mignons, 4 to 5 ounces each
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • ¾ cup Merlot wine
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • ¼ habanero chile, finely chopped
  • cup Monterey Jack Cheese, grated
  • 6 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


  • Cut a slit horizontally through each fillet to form a pocket. Rub the salt onto the outer surfaces of the filets and place them in a shallow glass dish. Refrigerate covered for 1 hour.
  • Put the wine, balsamic vinegar, thyme leaves, and habanero into a blender and puree. Pour the marinade over the filets, rubbing the salt off unto the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for another hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 300F. Take the meat out of the marinade and drain on paper towels. Reserve the marinade. 
  • Stuff about ¼ cup cheese and 1 tablespoon pine nuts into the pocket of each filet. Press together to keep the filling in.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of butter and olive oil. When hot, add the fillets and sear until brown, about 2 minutes. Turn the filets over and cook the other side until brown, another 2 minutes. Remove the fillets to a baking sheet fitted with a rack.
  • Pour reserved marinade into the hot skillet and cook over high heat, scraping the bottom of the pan to pick up any bits, and until the marinade is reduced to about ¾ of a cup.
    Strain into a saucepan and add the remaining tablespoon of butter. Keep warm.
  • Bake the filets until the internal temperature reaches135F for medium-rare. Put each filet on a serving plate and spoon a few tablespoons of the sauce over it. Serve immediately


Calories: 246kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 35mg | Sodium: 1319mg | Potassium: 106mg | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 365IU | Vitamin C: 1.7mg | Calcium: 219mg | Iron: 1mg

Giangi’s Kitchen provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as a registered dietician does not calculate them.

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