Monday, January 2, 2012

Beef Tenderloin with Wild Mushroom Sauce

Ah, Christmas dinner. Or in this case, Christmas Eve dinner. In my family, it's always been tradition to open presents on Christmas Eve while noshing on whatever combination of cheese, crackers, smoked salmon, and cookies my father received at work. Then, on Christmas Day, my mom and I wake up early and begin preparing one heck of a meal.

This year, however, the state of the economy + rising plane fares meant that I would be flying back home on Christmas Day, necessitating a change in plans. No innocent noshing on Christmas Eve this year -- no, sir. This year, Christmas Eve was all about indulgence, beginning with this rich, flavorful beef tenderloin.

Upon the supervision of my ever practical and very experienced mother, I made a few changes. First, I used a combination of dried /reconstituted chanterelles and dried/reconsistuted oyster mushrooms for the sauce, reserved the liquid from the mushrooms, and combined it with Better than Bullion as a substitute for the time-consuming Beef Reduction included in the recipe. Secondly, I cooked the beef a bit longer than specified, as we have a few people in our family who get squeamish at the thought of rare meat. The pictures below depict beef that was removed at an internal temperature of 132 degrees. In my opinion, it was a bit over-done, though to others, it was perfect. I would try aiming for 125 degrees next time, but to each their own, right?


Beef Tenderloin with Wild Mushroom Sauce
(adapted from Epicurious)

  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme, divided
  • 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
  • 3 garlic cloves, pressed, divided
  • 1 2 1/2- to 2 3/4-pound beef tenderloin, well trimmed
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus additional for brushing
  • 8 ounces fresh (or dried and reconsistuted) chanterelle mushrooms, sliced (about 4 cups lightly packed)
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallot
  • 4 tablespoons brandy, divided
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1 rounded tablespoon all purpose flour
  • Beef Reduction (or 1 tbp Better than Bullion + approx 2 cups of water or liquid reserved after reconstituing mushrooms) 
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh Italian parsley
Mix 1 tablespoon thyme, 2 teaspoons coarse salt, and 2 pressed garlic cloves in small bowl. Rub salt mixture over beef tenderloin. Wrap in plastic. Place in 11x7x2-inch baking dish and chill at least 1 day and up to 3 days.
Heat 3 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over high heat. Add oyster and chanterelle mushrooms and sauté until browned, about 8 minutes. Add minced shallot, 1 pressed garlic clove, and 1 teaspoon thyme; sauté 2 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons brandy and stir 20 seconds. Add cream; stir until almost all liquid is absorbed, about 3 minutes. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 hours ahead. Cover and let stand at room temperature.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Brush heavy large roasting pan with oil. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef tenderloin and cook until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes Total. Transfer to prepared roasting pan. Roast until instant-read thermometer inserted into center registers 118°F for rare, about 28 minutes. Transfer beef to cutting board; let rest 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, rewarm mushroom mixture. Sprinkle flour over; stir to coat. Add remaining 2 tbs brandy to roasting pan. Heat over medium heat, scraping up browned bits, then add to mushroom mixture.

Add Beef Reduction (or Better than Bullion + liquid)  to mushrooms and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-high and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in remaining 1 teaspoon thyme. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Thinly slice beef. Arrange beef slices on plates. Spoon mushroom sauce over, sprinkle with parsley, and serve.

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