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Beef tenderloin dinner

Garlicky Beef Tenderloin With Orange Horseradish Sauce.

© Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

I want to tell you about our Christmas Day dinner. It was so good and some of you may want to replicate parts or all of it for your New Years Day dinner. I adapted Melissa Clark’s recent recipe in The New York Times and it was delicious. Everyone raved about the meat!!

And here’s a funny story about buying the meat. I had heard a radio ad for Stew Leonard’s whole beef fillets. He was advertising them for $7.98 a pound! I thought, wow, that’s worth a drive to Yonkers. So my husband gets up at 7 am on Saturday to get this. He tried to do it on Friday morning but found our car dead in the garage. We drive a Prius and the engine is so quiet, the garage guys often forget to turn it off. This has happened twice before so we made a sign to tell them to remember to turn it off. But, the last time we drove the car, we forgot to leave the sign in the front seat!

So off he goes on Saturday morning. I tell him to ask the butcher for enough beef for 7 people plus a few leftovers. Well he comes back with this gigantic piece of meat – 6.6 pounds!! Like enough for 13 – 14 people. But then, look at the majority of people who shop at Stew’s – they’re fat! Our country is getting so obese it’s ridiculous. And he paid $11.98 a pound. The $7.98 per pound price was untrimmed with a 30 – 40% loss factor. Talk about a scam to get you in there.

But, this meat was good, so there’s a little redemption.

Here’s my menu.

Pate de campagne
Truffle duck mousse pate
Cornichons, picholine olives, lightly salted cashews
Artichoke dip – my recipe in an earlier blog post
Assorted brown rice chips, whole wheat pita and sliced French baguette

Pancetta and asparagus soup with black pepper – from Judy Rodgers and the Zuni Café cookbook, served with homemade Polish bread
Beef tenderloin with horseradish sauce– adapted from Melissa Clark and The New York Times
Mashed potatoes with cauliflower and roasted garlic – Lee Bailey – Long Weekends cookbook
Haricot Vert with walnut oil, sea salt and toasted walnuts
Oven roasted plum tomato halves with oregano (they were so good the night before and made the plate look Christmas-y next to the Haricot Vert)

Ethiopian coffee
Christmas cookies, of course
Peppermint chocolates

Here is the tenderloin recipe that I have altered for our taste.

GARLICKY BEEF TENDERLOIN WITH HORSERADISH SAUCE – adapted from Melissa Clark and The New York Times
– serves 12 – 14

1 (6.6 lbs.) beef tenderloin, trimmed and tied
1 1/2 tbs. kosher salt, more to taste
1 1/2 tsp. black pepper, more to taste
1 heaping tbs. chopped fresh rosemary
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1.5 cups crème fraîche
1/4 cup white horseradish
Several dashes of Tabasco

Season the tenderloin all over with the salt, pepper, rosemary and garlic. Cover the meat and refrigerate overnight. Let it come to room temperature for 2 hours before roasting.

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Wipe off as much garlic and seasonings as possible with a paper towel. It tends to burn and the flavors have penetrated the meat overnight.

In a large roasting pan over two burners and high heat, heat the oil. Add the meat and thoroughly brown all over, 4 minutes per side. Brown all 4 sides.

Place the roasting pan on the middle rack of the oven and roast until an instant-read thermometer shows 120 degrees (for rare), 10 to 20 minutes. Let the meat rest for 10 minutes before carving.

In a small bowl, whisk the crème fraîche and horseradish plus a few dashes of Tabasco. Serve alongside the tenderloin.

Assuming your meat is a good quality cut, you will LOVE this!

Now if you want any of these other recipes, do let me know.


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  1. Trish P. says

    Christmas dinner sounded wonderful! Sorry we missed it. Sounds like you were cooking non stop for days, heaven for you! Been meaning to tell you that someone at a dinner party was telling me they went to hear Melissa Clark speak about her most recent book. She talked about writing a cookbook and getting a following. Twitter, twitter, twitter is what she said. Took about 2 years to get 10,000 followers if I remember correctly. Also, Stephanie Abraham was telling me about her friend that has been writing cookbooks for years, Robin Miller I believe, twitters all the time. Publishers require it. It is so ironic that the universe is bringing me all this conversation about cookbooks without me saying a word about your great blog and cookbook. Don’t worry, I do talk it up once they are finished! :)

  2. says

    I made her beef tenderloin for Christmas dinner too. I got my meat at the new ast 86th Street Fairway in NYC. It was prime aged tenderloin, and – hang on to your hat – it cost 1 penny shy of $39.00 a pound. It was so delicious that conversation stopped when we started eating.

    When I was visiting a friend in Atlanta recently, I went into the local Publix and had the butcher (yes, they actually had a butcher) trim a choice fillet from the meat case, and guess what? It was just as good as the prime meat.

    By the way, isn’t Lee Bailey the absolute BEST?

    • says

      In my second beef tenderloin dinner here – the one wrapped with bacon – I bought it at Esposito’s Pork Store on Ninth Avenue and 38th Street. You should really check them out. They are wonderful, old fashioned butchers and their prime beef tenderloin is 19.98 a pound, but if you buy the whole thing, they’ll charge you 15.98 a pound! And you can see in my picture what a beautiful job Solomon did in trimming and tying it evenly.

      I know what you mean by the silence at the dinner table! And Lee Bailey was one of those greats. Pity he’s not around today with all the hoopla over the whole food scene as he would have been a household name too.