The Gleeful Gourmand: Beef Tenderloin Two Ways

Friday, January 10, 2014

Beef Tenderloin Two Ways

Well hello there, friends! Wow. Did anyone get the license plate number of the truck that hit us? Oh yeah, that was no truck, that was Christmas. And Winter Break. And New Year's. And then the Polar Vortex. I'm trying to blame as much as I can on the Polar Vortex because why not? There's nothing much going on in the month of January. The mere fact that we got so worked up over it (I like to say Polar Vortex with a deep, slightly sinister British accent, by the way) indicates that age-old truth: When the holidays are over, it gets mighty boring, mighty fast.

Now is the time when we look back over the holidays and think about all the fun we had, and all the glorious food we consumed. Of course, there's nothing stopping us from consuming glorious food right now, except, oh wait. We forgot. There were some resolutions thrown in there about two weeks ago that had something to do with never consuming another carb. Or refined sugar. Or anything with gluten in it. And absolutely cutting back on the alcohol. Certainly not hunkering down and tucking into something as wonderful as my mom's annual Christmas breakfast of Sausage and Cheese Strata - all steaming hot and rich, with a beautiful crunchy, golden brown cheesy top - chased by a cinnamon roll and some fruit, because you have to at least pretend to be a little healthy in the midst of such revelry.

What the Gleeful Gourmand had for Christmas breakfast. Try not to drool too much.

Certainly not. Except, let's face it. The reason we break so many resolutions is not just because we're all addicted to refined sugars and carbs (which we probably are), but because January is so bleak. So, so bleak. Let's call a spade a spade: Is it easer to A) Keep your resolution in a month where nothing is happening, it's really cold, you don't feel like going outside, and your local grocery store is not exactly bursting with colorful, fresh, local produce -- or B) Stick to your resolutions when it's warm outside, everything is in bloom and beautiful, and you can't turn around without tripping over a farmer's market with colorful, fresh, local produce?

Wintertime was meant for hearty, earthy meals, resolutions be darned. And while I myself do cut way back from the splendors of holiday eating in January, I also recognize that in such a bleak month, some fun must be had. Within reason. Therefore, I give you two recipes, which we combined to make a wonderful Tenderloin for Christmas dinner, and urge you to throw your own "This Month Is So Boring" dinner party for your close pals. Throw some logs on the fireplace and get ready to get inspired by

1) Rosemary-Crumb Beef Tenderloin with Pancetta Roasted Tomatoes

2) Porcini-Crusted Beef Tenderloin with Truffle Butter Sauce

Before the magic can happen, the mess has to happen.

Both of these recipes work beautifully on their own, because you cook the tenderloin exactly the same in both: 350˚ for 30-40 minutes. But the flavors were what we played around with because of a mistake on the part of yours truly. First, I was supposed to get panko so that my husband could make the first recipe (he's in charge of the entrée on Christmas), but I got breadcrumbs by accident because they were in exactly the same canister with very little to differentiate it from the panko. Then, to add insult to injury, as we were rushing out the door Christmas Eve, throwing kids, and bags, and stuff in the car, I forgot to actually put the breadcrumbs in the bag carrying all our food. Guess how many stores are open on Christmas Day?

The tenderloin, crusted, and ready for the oven.

But my husband is nothing if not inventive, and he went back to his trusty source and realized that he could make a different crust on the tenderloin using something we did have: mushrooms. We also did the Pancetta Roasted Tomatoes, but we omitted the olives because I can't stand olives. However, for those who do love olives, I'm sure that portion of the recipe would still be great with them in.

Hello, gorgeous.

It was a complete success. The tenderloin was so tender and juicy, and all the flavors melded beautifully. The mushrooms played well with the mustard that coated the beef, and gave it all a slightly spicy, earthy, rich taste. We served it with some equally rich side dishes like my mom's potato and fennel gratin, and my sister-in-law's awesome andouille sausage dressing, and a light pear salad on the side. And that's the beauty about this entrée: So many things could go well with it, and you could make it as light or hearty as you like.

Rosemary-Crumb Beef Tenderloin - with a twist of mushrooms.

Give it a whirl - mix and match like we did, or try them separately. Throw that dinner party with some of your closest pals, and take back January. Let's make this month fun again, gosh darn it. Enjoy!


Elizabeth said...

I got some comments! :) - I like the idea of mushrooms much better than breadcrumbs or panko (exactly what is panko? - I'll google, no reason to respond) and I would assume a little healthier/less carbs. This must have been delicious!

So much dissing on January! Come on, it's the first month of a new year, hearty and character building weather, learning how to layer your clothes properly - all good things. AND it's my birthday month. That should cheer you up if nothing else. As well all the other wonderful people born in the first month - like Elvis. Where would we be without Elvis?!

You were on the spot that January is the time to reflect on the past year (or all the goodness consumed in December) and think about plans/goals for the new year and is named after Janus, god of beginnings and endings and is depicted with a face looking forward and one backwards. This time of reflection is necessary and can be done in front of a nice cozy fire that would not occur without cold weather.

off the soapbox! Love ya J!

Jenna said...

I adore your optimism about the month of January, friend, but I stand by my original assessment. Your birthday is the only bright spot.

Also, I don't like Elvis. I don't want to talk about it.

But I love YOU, and wish that you and I could reflect on January, and beginnings, and resolutions in front of the fire together soon while sipping hot toddies.

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