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.