One of my family’s favorite holiday traditions is cooking roast beef tenderloin on Christmas Day. Once you know the proper technique of cooking a roast, it is so simple to prepare some steps in advance, and then finish cooking it in the oven when your guests arrive. It is also the perfect entrée for feeding a crowd, such as during a dinner party, rather than lots of individual steaks. And I feel good knowing I’m enjoying a lean cut of beef containing protein, iron and important B vitamins – at least one good go-to during the holidays.
To begin, you need to purchase the right cut of beef: a whole beef tenderloin or beef tenderloin roast. I recommend you bring it home with you as trimmed as possible (and maybe even trussed), which means less time for you in the kitchen and more time with your guests.
The end product before cooking should look like this. I called ahead and asked my butcher to trim it for me, where he removed the side chain (that long strip of meat on the side), the silver skin (connective tissue), and surface fat. He even trussed it, which helps ensure even cooking.
Note: if your roast is significantly larger or smaller, you may need to adjust the seasoning quantities and oven cooking time appropriately.
Rosemary & Thyme-Crusted Beef Tenderloin Roast with Greek Yogurt Horseradish Sauce
For the tenderloin:
1 teaspoon (6 g) salt
Coarsely ground black pepper
2 tablespoons (4.8 g) chopped fresh thyme leaves (or 2 teaspoons [2 g] dried thyme)
2 teaspoons (1.4 g) chopped fresh rosemary (or 1/2 teaspoon crumbled dried rosemary)
1 (6 pound [2721.5 g]) trimmed beef tenderloin roast, trussed
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon (15 ml) canola oil
For the horseradish sauce:
1/2 cup (115 g) lowfat plain Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons (10 g) freshly grated horseradish (or use prepared horseradish)
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Couple splashes Worcestershire sauce
Scant 1/8 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
To make the tenderloin: Remove the beef from the refrigerator 30 minutes prior for more even cooking. Preheat the oven to 375°F [190°C].
Line a sheet pan with foil (to ease clean-up) and fit with a cookie cooling rack, or use a shallow roasting pan and rack.
Sprinkle salt and pepper on all sides of the beef tenderloin. Combine the thyme and rosemary and sprinkle on all sides of the beef.
Heat a large sauté pan or skillet (at least 12 inches) on medium and add oil (if your pan is smaller, you may need to cut large roasts in half). When the oil shimmers, arrange the beef in a circular shape in the pan, and brown on one side, about 5 minutes.
Turn it to the other side using 2 sets of tongs and brown, about 5 minutes. Repeat this browning step for the remaining two sides. Transfer the beef to the prepared roasting pan and sprinkle on all sides with garlic powder. Cook in the oven until it is nearly medium-rare (test by inserting a probe thermometer into the thickest section of the roast, where it should read 120°F [48°C]), about 25-30 minutes.
Remove from the oven and allow it to rest for 10 minutes covered loosely with foil. The internal temperature will rise to 130°F (48°C) and the juices will redistribute throughout the meat. Resist cutting into it before this or the juices will be left on the cutting board.
Slice and serve with horseradish sauce and flaked finishing salt, if desired.
To make the sauce: Combine all of the sauce ingredients. If prepared in advance, chill until ready to serve.
- The beef can be seared an hour or two before roasting, if you wish, which can be easier if you are entertaining. After searing, cover loosely with foil until ready to cook in oven.
- If a few of your guests prefer more well-done beef, the ends of the roast should suit their needs.
- The caramelized browned bits left at the bottom of the sauté pan is a delicious start to sautéing mushrooms or preparing brown sauce. Before using, scrape off excess blackened bits.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 60 minutes
Makes 25 servings, 3 ounces each (cooked beef)
Nutrition Facts (per serving of beef): 180 calories, 8 g total fat (3 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 147 mg sodium, 69 mg cholesterol, 0 g total carbohydrate (0 g fiber), 25 g protein, 9% DV iron, 1% DV calcium, 0% DV Vitamin A, 0% DV Vitamin C.
Makes 8 servings, 1 tablespoon each (sauce)
Nutrition Facts (per serving of sauce): 12 calories, 0 g total fat (0 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 51 mg sodium, 1 mg cholesterol, 0 g total carbohydrate (0 g fiber), 1 g protein, 0% DV iron, 1% DV calcium, 0% DV Vitamin A, 1% DV Vitamin C.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by National Cattleman’s Beef Association. Words are 100% my own.
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