Friday, December 30, 2011

Mister C's Beef Tenderloin Roast with Cognac Rosemary Dijon Cream Sauce

New Years' Eve used to be a performance night for me, so the fare was usually hastily-eaten and best-forgotten- usually a burger or sandwich courtesy of our host venue. Now that we've come to our senses and generally stay home on that most insane of party nights, I take the time to prepare a formal dinner for the family here at GreenWood.

As I was shopping for our holiday feasting a local market advertised a butchers' special for beef, so I picked up an excellent beef tenderloin at a great price. Here at GreenWood we are serious about our beef: we don't eat it often, so when we do I make sure it's memorable. I also found a bottle of cognac that someone had gifted me some time back, and as I'm not really a fan of the liquor I decided I would use it in some way for our New Years' Eve dinner. The recipe as follows is inspired by a couple of recipes I came across from home chefs and a meal I enjoyed some years ago in Chicago. Beef tenderloin is very easy to prepare, it has a rich and almost buttery taste that holds up extremely well on its own- but when coupled with a spice rub and a decadent sauce it becomes sublime. Suggested sides are potatoes of any sort, julienned carrots in an herbed reduction, broccoli with sesame or nuts, root vegetables such as parsnips and beets- basically any hearty vegetable which can hold its own with the beef and cream sauce. A spicy red wine such as a Tempranillo, a mature Shiraz or a fat-bottomed Cabernet will complement the meal. The recipe as posted will easily serve 6-8 hearty portions, or 8-10 when a full-course dinner is desired.

The Roast
5lb Beef Tenderloin Roast, trimmed of tendon and excess fat
2 Tbsp Dry Mustard
2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
Whole Sage Leaves to Garnish the top of the roast
Cracked Peppercorns to cover the top of the roast

Cognac Rosemary Dijon Cream Sauce
1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream or Creme Fraiche
1/3 Cup Cognac
3 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
1 Tbsp Fresh Chopped Rosemary
Ground Pepper to taste

Remove the roast from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature, about 1.5hrs. Heat your oven to 400F.  Rub the roast with the dry mustard and brown sugar and set aside for a few minutes. Heat a heavy skillet on medium-high heat, then brown the roast on all sides. Set the skillet aside, as you'll use the browned bits and juices to make the cream sauce while the roast is resting after coming from the oven. Add the sage leaves to cover the top of the roast, then add the cracked peppercorns. Place the roast on a low rack in a shallow roasting pan and cook until rare or medium-rare at most, 125F-130F internally, for a 5lb roast begin checking the temperature at 20 minutes. Remove the roast from the pan and tent loosely to rest for 15 minutes. While the roast is resting, add about half the cognac to the pan to deglaze it. Heat the skillet on medium-high heat  until it gets fragrant and begins to barely smoke, then remove it from the heat and add the rest of the cognac to the skillet to deglaze. Add the cognac and juices from the pan to the skillet and return it the stovetop on medium heat, whisk in the cream and rosemary, then add the dijon mustard. Reduce by 1/3, whisking until the sauce has thickened a bit, remove from the stove and pour into a serving dish. Slice the roast according to the number of servings desired and spoon a generous amount of the sauce over the meat. Serve immediately with your chosen sides and enjoy!

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