If you've been reading this blog over the past few weeks, you know that this past Christmas was all about cooking traditional recipes. I wanted to incorporate some of Mr. Stranded's family's traditional recipes as well, but he didn't give me much to work with. His family does a big shellfish Christmas Eve feast. I'm allergic to shellfish, so... it's no fun for me.
I really do feel awful about the shellfish thing. I know my mother-in-law spends all day cooking and it must be such an expensive meal to prepare. Trust me - I wish I could partake! But, as much as it's Mr. Stranded's tradition to eat shellfish around Christmas, it wasn't something I was willing to incorporate to our menu. Since I can't eat it, I don't know how to cook it, can't taste it and adjust the seasoning as needed, and would need to cook it wearing plastic gloves. No, thanks.
I started to feel a little defeated that I couldn't come up with a traditional dish for Mr. Stranded. And then one night over dinner, he told me how his mom used to make Beef Tenderloin on Christmas Day - yippee! Now Beef Tenderloin was something I could sink my teeth into!
I found this recipe while browsing some recipes on the internet. We had some friends visit us from New York a couple of weeks before Christmas, so I did a trial run with them. They loved it! (And so did we!) So much so, that our friends asked for the recipe and ended up making it on Christmas for their own family.
This is definitely an expensive cut of meat, but soooo worth it! I fully intend to make this our new Christmas tradition.
Rosemary-Porcini Crusted Beef Tenderloin with Port Wine Sauce Recipe
Yields: 6 servings
For the Beef Tenderloin:
1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1. Season the tenderloin all over with salt. Refrigerate 4 hours or up to 24 hours. Thirty minutes before roasting remove beef from refrigerator.
2. Combine mushrooms, rosemary and peppercorns in spice grinder. Grind to a coarse powder. (NOTE: Make sure your mushrooms are completely dry and brittle, or they won't willingly grind into powder. If they're at all pliant, you can dry them out in the oven until they break easily.)
3. Rub beef generously with olive oil. Coat all over with porcini rosemary rub and press to adhere to the beef.
4. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a wide skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add beef and brown on all sides, about 8 minutes total.
5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Roast in oven, about 11 minutes per pound for medium-rare, 13 minutes per pound for medium, and 16 minutes per pound for medium-well
6. Remove from oven and transfer to a cutting board. Tent with foil and let stand for 15 minutes to reabsorb the juices.
7. Carve beef in 1/4 inch slices. Serve with Port Wine Sauce.
MAKE-AHEAD TIP: You can do all steps through Step 4 in advance. Then transfer beef to a roasting pan or baker. Let the beef cool, cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator. In the meantime, make the Port Wine Sauce (below.) When ready to continue, let the beef stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before continuing to Step 4.
For the Port Wine Sauce:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 cup port wine
1 cup heavy bodied red wine
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1. Strain the porcini water through an un-bleached paper towel into a small bowl. Reserve strained liquid. Coarsely chop porcini.
2. Using the same skillet from browning the meat, add 1 tablespoon butter, shallots and chopped porcini. Sauté over medium heat until shallots are translucent, about 2 minutes.
3. Add port wine, scraping up any brown bits in the pan. Add red wine, mushroom stock and rosemary. Bring to a boil and cook uncovered until sauce is reduced by about half to approximately 1 1/2 cups. Add salt and taste for seasoning. Strain through a fine-meshed seive into a small saucepan, pressing firmly on solids. Discard solids.
4. Heat sauce over medium heat. Whisk in 2 tablespoons butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. Keep warm until serving.
MAKE-AHEAD TIP: Sauce can be prepared up until this point in advance. Store in an air-tight container and refrigerate.