Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Beef Tenderloin a Holiday Classic

But er... for what Holiday?
For most people there are normal holiday food equations for example:
Thanksgiving = Turkey
Christmas = Beef
Easter = Ham

Our house is a little different our equations are:
Thanksgiving = Beef Tenderloin
Christmas = Ham

Kris can't stand turkey, me being the foodie nut that I am I tried everything to get her to agree that she liked the bird when we met... one year I brined a turkey in honey, garlic and tarragon; another year I slathered one in cranberry chutney and baked it in a bag.  After about three years and eating most of a turkey myself I realized that maybe my wife knows exactly how turkey tastes, she just doesn't like it.  Now we have come to enjoy our non traditional food equations.  It also gives me the advantage of posting my Thanksgiving recipe in time for you to see it before Christmas.

If you read my blog you will see the recurring theme... I can work a recipe to death to get exactly what I want; this one has been done five or six times with some setbacks.  This Thanksgiving we got it right!

Beef Tenderloin in Red Wine Reduction:

The Sauce:
2 TBS vegetable oil
2 small onions
3 cloves fresh garlic
2 TBS brown sugar
2 TBS balsamic vinegar
1 750 ml bottle of Merlot
1 cup chicken broth
1 14 oz can beef broth
2 sprigs fresh thyme
10-12 peppercorns
1 bay leaf

1 TBS Flour
1 TBS Butter

Heat oil over medium heat in a large saucepan then add onions and garlic sauté until tender (about 10 minutes).  Add the brown sugar and sauté for about 4 more minutes, until it is deep brown.  Add vinegar and stir for about a minute more until it is almost evaporated.  Then add your bottle of wine (minus a sip or two... you are the cook you get a little extra) simmer until reduced by half...

Here is the cool way to check that, put a rubber band around the handle of a wooden spoon then dip that into your sauce.  Roll the band down to the line left by the liquid then you know where you started... when your sauce pan has half of the liquid you know you are done.

Add the rest of your ingredients and simmer on low heat for about half an hour.  Strain through a fine strainer into a large bowl and set aside. Give your saucepan a quick rinse then mix your butter and flour to make a roux.  Put your sauce back in and cook for 5-10 more minutes.  This can be done a day ahead and reheated.

The Beef
2 1/2 to 3 pound Tenderloin trimmed
Salt, pepper
1-2 TBS Olive oil

Sprinkle salt and pepper on beef then let it set on the counter (covered with an upside down pan if you are the owner of one or more cats) for about half an hour until it is room temp.  Then heat up the oil in your pan and sear beef on all sides then transfer to the oven and cook uncovered for about 20 minutes until done the way you like.  I did mine in the Iron skillet so I only used one pan for this part. 

When the meat is just slightly under done pull it out and let stand at room temp for a few minutes.  Doing that lets the juices settle so they stay in your beef and not all over the counter.  When it is done slice and serve with the red wine reduction!  At the top if this page it is pictured with


  1. I need you to come and cook me some meat! My family rarely eats red meat, and we never cook it, so I've always been super intimidated by the process. Your tenderloin looks and sounds heavenly! I hope you have a wonderful end to your week. Happy Holidays!

  2. That looks like a well pampered beef tenderloin.

    I'm not that huge of a fan of turkey either. You could try out a different bird for holidays and see how she feels about them. Duck, maybe?