Beef tenderloin gets a festive remake
As much as I love prime rib, beef tenderloin is much easier to prepare, easier to carve and the leftovers are good cold.
The only challenge with beef tenderloin is that it is lean and it is best served rare. I wanted to do something that looked a little fancier than plain grilled tenderloin but was just as easy to execute. I thought about one of my favorite ways to prepare filet — bacon-wrapped — and thought, let’s see what happens if I wrap the whole tenderloin in bacon mummy style.
Bacon-wrapped beef tenderloin
This recipe serves 10 and takes about 90 minutes to prepare.
1 trimmed tenderloin, center cut, about 4-5 pounds
Salt and pepper
1 pound thin-cut bacon, at room temperature
Fresh thyme leaves for garnish
Green peppercorn and thyme sauce
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Brush tenderloin with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Tuck small ends of the tenderloin under each side to make sure roast is about the same thickness all over.
Beginning at one side, wrap bacon around tenderloin, overlapping pieces of bacon so that they stick to each other. Make sure ends of bacon are tucked under.
Place bacon-wrapped tenderloin on a rack set into a pan with the ends of bacon touching rack so bacon doesn’t unravel.
Roast at 325 degrees for 60 minutes or until a thermometer reaches 125 degrees. Remove and let rest for 20 minutes. If you use thin-cut bacon, it should be crisp, but if you want bacon to be crispier, broil the roast for 1-2 minutes before removing from oven.
Slice and garnish with fresh thyme leaves. Serve with sauce on the side.
Green peppercorn and thyme sauce
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 large shallot, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
3 tablespoons cognac or brandy
1 tablespoon strong Dijon mustard
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 dash Tabasco, optional
2 teaspoons thyme, plus 8-10 sprigs for infusing and garnish
1 tablespoon green peppercorns, pressed dry
Fine-grain sea salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
Combine butter, vinegar, shallot, cognac and mustard in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. When liquid is reduced, add 2 tablespoons heavy cream and whisk until it is incorporated. This addition of cream will help prevent the sauce from breaking.
Next start adding butter, cube by cube. Whisk continually. When first cube of butter is almost melted, add another and repeat until all butter is incorporated.
Add cream and a dash of Tabasco, if using, a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Add about 5 sprigs of thyme and let sit in the hot sauce for 10 minutes.
While mixture is still warm, strain through a fine strainer. Mix in thyme leaves and peppercorns if using. Use immediately or keep in a pitcher in a warm water bath. If it breaks, you can reincorporate with a little heavy cream or by using an immersion blender.
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