Monday, February 22, 2010

Beef Tenderloin with Anise and Crushed Peppercorns

It sounds strange for me to say this, but in my 25 years of cooking, I've never made a roast beef dish. Pot roast, stews and beefy soups are always on the menu, Chez Diva - but an actual roast beef? Nope. Never. Not even once. Weird, huh?

Or maybe not. While the husband is a red meat guy through and through ... The Diva, not so much. I'll take poultry any, make that every, day. Not to mention, we couldn't be more dissimilar in terms of our desired doneness. Him: "I'll take mine raw." Me: "Burn it!"

Hence the problem.

My solution? A tenderloin. Sure, its pricey cut, but for us, its the perfect answer to the doneness dilemma. Slice off the thick (rare) end for him, save the skinny (well done) portion for me ... joy and happiness abound!

Roast Beef Tenderloin with Anise and Crushed Peppercorns:
  • 2 lb. beef tenderloin, tied at 2 -3 inch intervals
  • 2 whole star anise seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons mixed peppercorns (black, green, white and red)
  • pinch of Kosher salt
  • olive oil
Allow the beef to stand at room temperature for 45 minutes prior to continuing with this recipe.

Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees F.

Grind the whole star anise and peppercorns together using a spice grinder, small food processor, or mortar and pestle, until they are crushed and powdery. Its ok if the peppercorns remain chunky, but you want the anise to be fully crushed. Remove to a small bowl and add a pinch of Kosher salt. Rub the entire surface of the tenderloin with the spice mixture to coat and allow the seasoned meat to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes.

Heat a large, heavy, cast iron skillet over high heat and to it add some oil (I used olive oil) to coat. Sear the tenderloin on all sides until nicely browned, then immediately transfer the skillet to the middle of a pre-heated 425 degree oven. Roast for approximately 30 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the loin reads 125 degrees, for a nice medium rare. Adjust your cooking time as needed for your desired degree of doneness and according to the size of your roast - adding more time for a more well-done roast, etc. Use your judgement.

Remove from oven and allow the meat to rest for at least 5 to 10 minutes before carving.

If desired, you may serve with a simple and flavorful pan sauce. I adapted this sauce from a recipe that appeared in the December 2007 issue of Bon Appetit.
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • two 3 inch sprigs of fresh rosemary, left whole
  • 2 tablespoons of Cognac
  • 2/3 cup Port wine (I used ruby port)
  • 1 1/2 cups of beef broth or stock
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of cold butter, cut into quarters
Melt the butter in a small, heavy-bottomed, skillet and to it add the shallots. Saute for 2 to 3 minutes, over medium-high heat. Add the rosemary sprigs and saute for 1 minute. Add the Cognac, raise the heat to high, allow the mixture to come to the boil, and once the Cognac has evaporated. Add the Port and the beef broth, stirring well to combine. Allow the mixture to boil and cook until reduced by half. Strain into a small sauce pan and return to heat, and season to taste with some freshly ground pepper. As the mixture simmers, add 1 tablespoon of cold butter, one small piece at a time, whisking well to combine after each addition. The sauce will thicken as you whisk in the butter. The finished sauce may be kept warm, covered, over low heat until you are ready to plate. Whisk well before serving.

As written, this recipe will serve approximately 4 - 5, depending on portion size. May be doubled as desired.

Honestly, this was one of the best meals I've had in a long time. The roast was tender and juicy and the anise/peppercorn combination is simply exquisite. Judging by the moans of pleasure coming from the husband's side of the table, I'd say he was in heaven. Color us both happy and well-fed, indeed.

I'll be submitting this to Dinner at Christina's new Friday Firsts feature ... pop on over and share your culinary firsts with Christina and her readers each and every Friday. Its bound to be a delicious romp.

Bon appetite!


Heavenly Housewife said...

What an elegant dinner that makes. Stunning!
Hope you had a fab weekend.
*kisses* HH

Wilma said...


Good grief Auntie, what, by God, are you doing up so early?

The Diva on a Diet said...

HH - thank you! It was rather elegant and so yummy too. :) Hope you had a delicious weekend as well!

Wilma - ha! Nope, I'm on auto-post ... I was fast asleep at 7am! ;) I'm trying to get on a regular schedule here ... and, by the way, you can't beat the auto-post, if you haven't tried it yet.

Sook said...

I've not made a roast beef, either.. This looks so good and tender! Good job!

Mo Diva said...

you did a great job!
it looks wonderful and I have never made a beef dish of that size... maybe some steak but thats about it!

Lola said...

This looks fabulous!

Be sure to stop by my blog. I have a cookbook review up.

The Diva on a Diet said...

Sook - it was amazing and so simple, really. I just decided to treat the roast like a pork loin and proceed accordingly. It looks impressive ... but it was very easy!

Mo - I don't usually make roasts of this size either, since I'm cooking for two ... but the leftovers were fantastic! Thanks!

Lola - Thank you! And thanks for the link too ... off to check it out ... :)

stephchows said...

I'm 100% with your husband on this one, red red red for me please!

Katherine Aucoin said...

My husband and I have the same beef dilemma, I like mine rare and he likes his burnt.

Your plating looks so elegant and the pan sauce sounds to die for!

Christina said...

I've never cooked a beef tenderloin either! I did roast beef, but I had no idea what I was doing and I think I used a stewing one. Thankfully it turned out ok, b/c it was for company!

The plating looks beautiful and that pan sauce is so elegant and simple! I bet this was delicious!

Wow!!! Thanks for keeping me in mind!! :) I'm excited you'll be posting this Friday - great first! Thanks for the shout out! :)

Anonymous said...

Your beef tenderloin looks spectacular! I love the addition of anise!

pixelgal said...

No one makes gravy like our Diva! Except maybe for her Grandma before her. Make that Grandmas. The best part of cooking a roast in addition to how easy it is, is having so many delicious leftovers and getting creative with them. Looks so good as I'm sure it was.

Maven said...

Does that ever look amazing!

This is something I will definitely try.

The PB and I have the same problem - I like my meat on the rare side and he likes his cooked to leather :-)

Fresh Local and Best said...

This beef tenderloin looks sensation, perfectly cooked. And the sauce? Divine!

cookeaze said...

Original and delicious and iam not aware of it till i saw your blog..

Megan said...

Beef tenderloin is one of my favorites! I made a spectacular herb-crusted one a while back. Your pan sauce sounds amazing. The newest issue of Entertaining from Cook's Illustrated has a whole section on pan sauces, and I was realizing that I haven't made many and I never think to just make a pan sauce unless the specific recipe I'm following instructs me to make one. It's something I need to do more often.

Deb said...

Looks like a very romantic dinner as well - special occasion?

I mde my DH a lovely pot roast for Valentine's Day with an amazing chocolate cake for dessert - almos beachy ;)

Tangled Noodle said...

Ooh! Ahhh! This looks perfect - Mr. Noodle would be drooling (then demanding why I haven't made one yet). I've successfully made succulent roast loin of pork but for some reason am intimidated by beef. I don't want to mess up a whole hunka meat!

This post is hopeful encouragment. 8-)