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Horseradish-Crusted Beef Tenderloin

December 14, 2009

First of all, I have an announcement: Nate and I are engaged!

I have never been happier, and I’m blessed to get to spend the rest of my life with such a loving, wonderful person.  

Enough of the mushy stuff; it’s time to get down to business.  Besides, there’s somewhat of a story behind how I came to make this tenderloin… It all started on an early morning last week, when I was hurriedly getting ready for work.  I threw on some clothes, inhaled breakfast and was standing over the bathroom sink putting on a pair of my favorite earrings.  In my haste, I dropped an earring down the sink.  😦

Nate heard me wailing and came to see what was wrong.  I told him what had happened and that the earring should be in that little dip at the bottom of the sink pipe, and asked if he could pretty-please-with-a-cherry-on-top take the pipe apart and get my earring.  He said that just because he’s a man doesn’t mean he has been engrained with the knowledge of how to take the sink apart, and then he asked me if I knew how to take it apart. My response was something like “I don’t know!!!  Google it!”  and I told him that if he could rescue my earring I would make him whatever he wanted for dinner every Sunday for a month.

I got a call as I was walking to the metro and Nate said that I’d better get good at making gravy because he’d saved my earring from a slimy, gross, hair-ball-y existence within the sink pipe (thank heavens for google).  And that was how the horseradish-crusted beef tenderloin came to be.  I even served it with potatoes.  Am I a good girlfriend  fiance or what?

This tenderloin was absurdly good.  A Chateaubriand beef tenderloin (a tenderloin that’s double-thick, tender and cut from the center) carries a hefty price tag, and I have never been so nervous about cooking something in my whole life.  I followed the recipe to a tee, and I couldn’t have been happier with the results.  It was cooked perfectly, the crust was crunchy, and the horseradish flavor was spot-on.  

The tenderloin is rubbed with salt and pepper, seared on all sides in a hot pan, rubbed with a horseradish/mayo/mustard sauce and then rolled in a mixture of toasted bread crumbs, fresh herbs, garlic, shallots, fried shredded potatoes and horseradish.  After about 30 minutes in the oven, it needs to rest for 20 minutes and that’s all there is to it.  I was excruciatingly conscious of how long I baked it, since I knew the absolute worst thing I could do would be to over-cook it.  However, even the parts that were more done were melt-in-your-mouth tender, so you could probably cook it even longer if you’re not a medium/medium-rare person.

If you’re looking for something to make for Christmas dinner or for your next dinner party, this tenderloin is highly recommended.  It only took about an hour to make, and half of that was letting it bake in the oven and then rest so there was plenty of time to make the potatoes and asparagus.  Please don’t let my meat-slicing technique cloud your judgement of this dish, since I know it looks like I went at it with a hack saw. 

This coincidentally was the first thing I cooked after we got engaged, and it was a great celebratory meal.   We’ll see what next Sunday has in store; I’m trying to convince Nate that he wants me to make the Cook’s Illustrated deep dish pizza, but he said that things I’m already planning on making don’t count.  Hopefully next week’s meal will be as good as the tenderloin, but those are some big shoes to fill!   

Horseradish-Crusted Beef Tenderloin

(from Cook’s Illustrated)

1 beef tenderloin center-cut Châteaubriand (about 2 pounds), trimmed of fat and silver skin
  Kosher salt
3 tablespoons panko bread crumbs
1 cup plus 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 1/4 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 small shallot , minced (about 1 1/2 tablespoons)
2 medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
1/4 cup well-drained prepared horseradish
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1 small russet potato (about 6 ounces), peeled and grated on large holes of box grater
1 1/2 teaspoons mayonnaise
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon powdered gelatin

Sprinkle roast with 1 tablespoon salt, cover with plastic wrap, and let stand at room temperature 1 hour or refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees.

Toss bread crumbs with 2 teaspoons oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in 10-inch nonstick skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until deep golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to rimmed baking sheet and cool to room temperature (wipe out skillet). Once cool, toss bread crumbs with shallot, garlic, 2 tablespoons horseradish, parsley, and thyme.

Rinse grated potato under cold water, then squeeze dry in kitchen towel. Transfer potatoes and remaining cup oil to 10-inch nonstick skillet. Cook over high heat, stirring frequently, until potatoes are golden brown and crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer potatoes to paper towel-lined plate and season lightly with salt; let cool for 5 minutes. Reserve 1 tablespoon oil from skillet and discard remainder. Once potatoes are cool, transfer to quart-sized zipper-lock bag and crush until coarsely ground. Transfer potatoes to baking sheet with bread-crumb mixture and toss to combine.

Pat exterior of tenderloin dry with paper towels and sprinkle evenly with remaining teaspoon pepper. Heat reserved tablespoon oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Sear tenderloin until well browned on all sides, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet and let rest 10 minutes.

Combine remaining 2 tablespoons horseradish, mayonnaise, and mustard in small bowl. Just before coating tenderloin, add gelatin and stir to combine. Spread horseradish paste on top and sides of meat, leaving bottom and ends bare. Roll coated sides of tenderloin in bread-crumb mixture, pressing gently so crumbs adhere in even layer that just covers horseradish paste; pat off any excess.

Return tenderloin to wire rack. Roast until instant-read thermometer inserted into center of roast registers 120 to 125 degrees for medium-rare, 25 to 30 minutes.

Transfer roast to carving board and let rest 20 minutes. Carefully cut meat crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices and serve with horseradish cream sauce (recipe below).

Horseradish Cream Sauce

1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup prepared horseradish
1 teaspoon table salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper, black, ground

Whisk cream in medium bowl until thickened but not yet holding soft peaks, 1 to 2 minutes. Gently fold in horseradish, salt, and pepper. Transfer to serving bowl and refrigerate at least 30 minutes or up to 1 hour before serving.

One Comment leave one →
  1. December 15, 2009 9:03 pm

    looks amazing! congrats on the engagement.

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