Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Hey, Big Spender!

Mmmmm...beef tenderloin. A little pricey? Perhaps. Delicious? Absolutely! This crazy awesome cut of meat rates highest on my fabulosity scale of impressive cuts of meat that you can cook at home. Because it's not a Rib Eye, dripping with fat, you can cook it yourself without totally dismantling your smoke detector system (well, maybe not all of it). Our fabulous host, Chad, and I were originally planning to cook a small, simple meal when the party expanded. Perfect! A birthday provided a happy excuse to buy some fabulous ingredients to cook well and to celebrate. Happy Birthday, Jen!

While you quickly prepare this dinner (which takes MINIMAL preparation) and everyone is drinking and starving, serve St. Andre and crackers. Is it ice cream or a cheese? You decide.

When you have an event where you need to impress, this beef tenderloin will make your crowd will swoon. Honestly, all you need is about 30 seconds of preparation (as long as it takes to salt and pepper the meat). Then, just make sure that you don't overcook the beef and you'll be a rock star. We totally screwed up my red wine reduction to drizzle over top, and no one was the wiser. That's what happens when 2 people are drinking wine and seasoning at once. You don't really know how much salt and pepper are added until you try to deglaze your pan and the sauce tastes like a salt lick. (Sorry ya'll! But you probably had no idea that you didn't get the red wine reduction anyway.)

For maximum crowd impact with minimal kitchen effort I recommend:

Beef Tenderloin with Mashed Potatoes and Roasted Asparagus
(Although I've written a proper recipe, this rendition is going to be a little improvisational, like the dinner. I hope you don't mind.)

2 - 2.25 pounds beef tenderloin, trimmed (give or take a few ounces)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper (distributed by one person only!)
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
1 cup red wine
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1. Allow the meat to come to room temperature for 30 minutes before you plan on cooking it.

2. Preheat the over to 425˚F.

3. Heat the oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Season the beef generously on all sides with salt and pepper. When the pan is hot, add the meat and sear until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes total. Transfer the pan to the oven and roast for 35 - 40 minutes, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the center registers 135˚F for medium rare. (My trick is just to poke the meat with my finger to test for doneness. Generally you are looking for moderate give. No resistance would indicate that it is overcooked! It just takes practice.)

4. Remove the beef from the pan and let rest for 10 minutes while you prepare the sauce.

5. Return the skillet (without the beef) to the stove top over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and cook until softened, about 1 minute. Add the wine, stirring to loosen the browned bits from the bottom of the pan, and simmer until reduced to a glaze, about 6 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the butter until it is melted and the sauce is glossy.

6. To serve, slice the beef into 1/2 -inch slices and top with the red wine sauce. Delish! (Unless you over season the meat.) Serves 6.

For the Mashed Potatoes:
1. Peel a bunch of (yellow) potatoes (about 8 medium) and roughly chop. Bring the potatoes and a large pot of cold water to a boil. Cook until tender, or until a fork pierces easily through the flesh, about 10 minutes.
2. Drain the potatoes. Add one stick of unsalted butter (8 tablespoons) and 1/2 cup (or so) of heavy cream. Mash together and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

For the Asparagus:
1. Prepare one bunch of asparagus (about one pound) by washing and trimming the thick ends. Toss with 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Roast on a sheet pan in a single layer in the 425˚F oven during the last 10-15 minutes that the beef is cooking (depending on the thickness of the spears).

Plate the beef with the mashed potatoes and asparagus and enjoy!


thecatskillkiwi said...

oh the pain of marrying a vegetarian! Beef tenderloin for 1 perhaps?

spinney said...

Remind me not to read your blog while I'm waiting for M. to show up with lunch. Now I'm STARVING.

Tina said...

I've done it before, Toni! Maybe when he is away or you are at the house by yourself?

SP, Now I'M starving. I need some lunch!

Michael said...

this would be perfect for us -- I would have the meat and potatoes and Jen would have the asparagus. I might even go for a slab of bacon for dessert.

Tyler said...

I love to grill and this is the perfect way to cook beef in the cold midwestern winters. Great recipe Tina.