Christmas dinner is all about extravagance in my house. Because it was just me and Grant this year – up in the mountains – I didn’t want to do a whole roast, but still wanted red meat. So I made my very first beef tenderloin, which turned out to be the most delicious, tender, juicy and fabulous thing I’ve ever made for Christmas.
I adapted the recipe from Cook’s Illustrated. They spent $1,200 testing the expensive tenderloin cut prepared various ways, so I felt OK spending $50 (on sale!). I bought one massive tenderloin that I had to hand-trim to get the tender mid-section ready for cooking. The center cut of the loin – called “Chateaubriand” – is roughly the middle third of the whole beef loin. The other ends have more fat and connective tissue – all of which I saved to make beef bourguignon later in the week.
Cook’s Illustrated is brilliant for a couple reasons: salting the meat and letting it rest 1 hour before cooking (you can see the salt start to draw out the juices, enhancing the flavor); roasting and THEN browning on the stove top (no “gray line”); and cooking in butter (drool).
This was one of those recipes that I was nervous about the whole way through – thinking I didn’t cook it long enough or did this/that wrong. But it came out perfectly and presented a true value of quality and quantity.
Beef Tenderloin with Shallot Parsley Butter
Ingredients (serves 4)
- 1 beef tenderloin (2 lbs), center-cut, trimmed of fat and silver skin
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 2 T unsalted butter, softened
- 1 T canola oil
Using kitchen twine, tie roast crosswise at 1 1/2 inch intervals. Sprinkle with salt and let stand at room temperature for around 1 hour. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 300 with oven rack in middle.
Pat roast dry with paper towels and sprinkle evenly with pepper. Spread butter all over the surface. Transfer to wire rack set in backing sheet. Roast until center of meat registers 125 degrees on your meat thermometer, flipping roast halfway through.
Heat oil in large, heavy skillet over medium-high until smoking. Place roast in and sear until well browned on all sides, 1-2 min. per side. Transfer to carving board and spread 2 T flavored butter (recipe below) over top of roast. Let rest 15 min. Remove twine and cut meat into 1/2 inch slices. Serve with remaining butter.
Shallot and parsley butter
Combine all of the below:
- 4 T unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 shallot, minced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 T parsley, minced
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
Served simply with a side salad and roasted potatoes…almost too decadent for a quiet dinner for two…oh, who am I kidding?