Let me begin with a little of my own philosophy. If you write a food blog about a mountain of work you and your wife did to put on a fabulous dinner for charity, you can’t really order in chinese food when your parents drive a couple hundred miles to visit you for the weekend. Nor did I want to do that.
So this weekend, we did two special meals with my parents – pancake breakfast and beef dinner. For dinner the table was set for six because my sister and her date joined in the fun. The menu was fairly straight forward:
Pepper-crusted beef tenderloin with wild mushroom risotto and a green salad topped with pears, nuts, and honey goat cheese. Following we had night caps and make your own ice cream sundays.
Multiple steps ready the beef for the oven and then the plate – the path to divine taste follows:
Ingredients: Beef tenderloin, black peppercorns, salt, sugar, orange zest, nutmeg, baking soda, vegetable oil
1) Remove meat from refrigerator and truss for cooking at least one hour ahead of cooking.
2) In a saucepan over low-medium heat boil peppercorns in just enough oil to cover for ten to fifteen minutes. This process mellows the peppercorns, so the longer you go the more mild they become. Be sure to adjust the heat to prevent the peppercorns from burning. Drain and discard oil.
3) Once peppercorns are cooled to room temperature, combine in grinder with nutmeg and orange zest. Grind into fine powder.
4) Mix salt, sugar, and baking soda in small bowl.
5) Adjust oven rack to center and preheat to 300 degrees F
6) Rub meat on all sides with salt mixture
7) Rub meat on all sides with pepper mixture and place on roasting pan
8) Pierce meat with thermometer in thickest section of beef and place in oven
9) For medium-rare, remove meat once it has reached 120 degrees F
10) Heat vegetable oil to large skillet over medium-high to high heat
11) Sear beef in the skillet on all sides – approximately one to two minutes per side
12) Allow beef to rest on a cutting board, tented under foil, for ten to fifteen minutes
13) Carve the beef into desired portions.
Enjoy immensely as we all did with either a pinot noir to compliment the beef or a sweeter red wine to balance the heat of the pepper crust.