Monday, July 4, 2005

Beef Tenderloin In Madeira Wine Sauce

This sounds really detailed, but it's easier than it looks. Have your ingredients all measured a head of time.

Beef Tenderloin Recipe
1 whole beef tenderloin, about5-6 pounds before trimming
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Penzey's Roast Beef Seasoning, or salt and pepper with a dash of Italian seasoning and sweet paprika
4-5 Vidalia cut into slices 1/4 inch thick
2 fresh thyme sprigs
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (I use this 25 year old stuff that's amazing, don't go for the cheap)

To Make the Tenderloin
Using a sharp, thin-bladed knife, remove the chain muscle from the beef tenderloin. (The chain muscle is the long, thin muscle, connective tissue, and fat that runs almost the length of the beef tenderloin.) Reserve it for something like stir fry. Then remove the silver skin and most of the surface fat from the tenderloin.

Five to Six inches from the narrow end of the beef tenderloin, make a shallow cut crosswise across the tenderloin, cutting about halfway through the meat. Fold this narrow end piece under so that the tenderloin is uniformly thick from one end to the other. Secure the tenderloin with kitchen string, tying it at 1 1/2-inch intervals along the length of the tenderloin.

Place the tenderloin on a platter. Brush or rub the meat on all sides with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Season generously with salt and pepper, paprika/herb mix or the Penzey's beef seasoning. firmly pressing the seasonings in with your fingertips. Let stand at room temperature for an hour. Find someone to do something with for an hour. If it's not housework they will probably be more willing, or if they didn't watch you first with the giant knife and the tenderloin.

In a large skillet over low heat, warm the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the onions, stirring to coat with the oil, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, then add 1/4 cup water, the thyme, and the balsamic vinegar. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions are very soft (but not brown!), about 15 minutes. Uncover. If any liquid remains in the pan, increase the heat to medium and cook just until the liquid evaporates. Again, do not let the onions get brown.

Position a rack in the upper third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Arrange the onions along the center of a shallow roasting pan just large enough to hold the tenderloin and place it on top.

Roast the tenderloin until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 125°F (52°C) for medium-rare, about 45 minutes. The roast will vary somewhat in doneness depending on the thickness of its sections. Remove the pan from the oven, transfer the meat to a platter, and tent with aluminum foil. Let rest for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing while you make the sauce.

Madeira Wine sauce
3 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
1 oz. Butter (1/4 stick)
1/2 pound white or crimini mushrooms, sliced
1/2 teaspoon. cracked peppercorn
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp. dried thyme (or one sprig)
1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
splash or two of red wine (about 3 Tablespoons)
3/4 cup Madeira wine
1 cup Demi-Glace (Specialty grocers often carry this pre- made)
1/4 cup heavy cream (optional)

In a medium sized saucepan, sauté shallots in butter for 1-2 minutes or until translucent. Add mushrooms and cook until mushrooms are tender. (about 3 minutes). Remove mushrooms and set aside.

Add peppercorns, thyme, and bay leaf and cook 30 seconds. to pan. Add splash of red wine and balsamic vinegar and stir until just a tiny bit left in the pan. Add Madeira wine and bring to boil.

Add Demi-Glace and whisk until incorporated into the sauce. Return mushrooms to pan and add heavy cream and reduce briefly.

Try and not lick your fingers. The heavy cream is strictly optional and gives the sauce a richer color and flavor

Transfer the tenderloin to a carving board. Remove the strings and carve the roast into slices about 1/2 inch thick. Place a spoonful of the reserved onions onto individual plates and top with a slice of tenderloin. Spoon a little of the sauce over the meat and pass the remaining sauce at the table.

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