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This recipe adapted from our Friends at America's Test Kitchen
All traditions have to start somewhere...
Christmas Dinner Beef Tenderloin Roast is not only a seasonal favorite, it is also my family's tradition. Christmas Eve in our home has always been the more formal meal we celebrate over the two day Holiday celebration. I guess you could say that I started it based on something my Grandmother told me about her childhood and growing up. That despite the Depression, her dad, my great grandfather, always managed to provide the family with a beef roast for great grandma to prepare for Christmas. When she told me, it made me a little sad and a lot happy all at the same time. To think that there was a time that it was that hard to get, but to also know that now it is so easy for me to do for her, just clicked. So it was then, about ten years before her death that I began the Christmas Dinner Beef Tenderloin Roast tradition. After all, traditions have to start somewhere...
The formality that is Christmas Eve, and a beautiful beef tenderloin, roasted low and slow to a perfect medium rare temperature, is what I prepare for with zeal.
Christmas Day is all about a big old pancake, bacon and scrambled eggs breakfast while still in pajamas, and an early, less formal dinner consisting of some types of fishes and seafood, and almost always a pasta. In between, the snacking endures, cookie pilfering behind my Mother's back being the biggest misdeed. It is an unorganized day, spent largely searching for correct sized batteries for new gizmos to operate, naps, reminiscing, and lots of good food. But the formality that is Christmas Eve, and a beautiful beef tenderloin, roasted low and slow to a perfect medium rare temperature, is what I prepare for with zeal.
Starting with a great cut of beef, adding of a few simple seasonings, and allowing for a one hour room temperature pre-cook rest, will yield an outcome so incredible, you will earn bragging rights even before you know how you did it.
Beef tenderloin roasts are a near perfect solution for a crowd who would otherwise all want their steaks cooked differently. Tenderloins are typically uneven in shape and weight from end to center to end. Despite requiring a few 'alterations' to promote even cooking, the ends usually finish a firm medium, an inner cut a medium rare, and the center of the roast rare. Allowing the meat to rest tented tightly under foil for 20 minutes following the cook, allows the juices to redistribute and the meat to be delicately fork tender. Top with Whipped Horseradish Cream when you get ready to serve. The flavor of horseradish will absolutely elevate the roast. Starting with a great cut of beef, the addition of a few simple seasonings, and a one hour room temperature pre-cook rest, will yield an outcome so incredible, Christmas Dinner Beef Tenderloin Roast will earn you bragging rights even before you know how you did it.
I'd be remiss if I did not mention the secret ingredient behind how a cut of beef of this size cooked low and slow, can actually achieve browning.
I'd be remiss if I did not mention the secret ingredient behind how a cut of beef of this size cooked low and slow, can actually achieve browning. Baking soda. Coupled with a salt rub and a pre-cook hour long rest, the beef has time to uniformally allocate moisture throughout and to retain that moisture during the cook. If not allowed the hour long pre-cook rest and roasting too soon after salting, the results will assuredly offer a dry piece of meat, so planning ahead to give the salt enough time to work its magic is crucial.
Planning ahead so enough time is guaranteed for this recipe is crucial.
You will 100% need an instant read meat thermometer and kitchen twine for this method. To accompany this beautiful roast, we'll prepare baby red potatoes. I first introduced the method for these potatoes during Superbowl in the recipe Smokey Cowboy Party Potatoes. These make for filling and super yummy snacking food, or in this case, a super yummy side to our tenderloin. The steps are nearly the same, all but for the addition of a huge cut of beef! The baby reds are creamy and sweet in flavor, and really maintain their shape during the cook. They will cleverly act as a base for the roast in the method. Because this recipe is largely hands off once it's in the oven, concentrating on your family and guests can be your focus...unless of course you have side dishes to make...oh the side dishes...
Ingredients for Christmas Dinner Beef Tenderloin Roast
one 3-lb highest quality cut beef tenderloin roast
2 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons good quality olive oil
3 lbs baby red potatoes, washed and patted dry
5 scallions, sliced
4 cloves of garlic, we use Dorot
1 tablespoon Smoked paprika
1 tablespoon Aleppo pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 to 3/4 cups water
For the Potatoes
Rinse and pat dry the beef tenderloin. Combine the salt, pepper, and baking soda and stir together. Liberally coat the roast all over including the ends with the seasoning. Using 10" lengths of kitchen twine, begin tying off the roast directly in the center. Tie every 1 1/2" inches working your way outward from center to end to end. If an end is very thin, bend it back and tuck it alongside the roast, securing with the twine. You want the overall look of the roast to be equal from end to end, and the twine will aid in the even cooking. Snip off any long pieces of twine after tying and discard. Allow roast to sit at room temperature for at least one hour for the salt to equitably draw, then redistribute moisture throughout the roast.
Preheat oven to 425.
In a roasting pan over a stove top burner, bloom the aromatics by first heating 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the scallions, garlic, Smoked paprika, Aleppo pepper, and the salt and pepper. Stir until fragrant. Add the potatoes and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes. As fond begins to build up on the bottom of the roasting pan, turn off the heat and add the water into the roasting pan, scraping the bits of fond to loosen. Place into the oven for 15 minutes.
Remove the potatoes from the oven, and reduce heat to 300 degrees.
For the Beef Tenderloin Roast
Stir and gather the potatoes onto the middle of the roasting pan. Brush the roast with about a tablespoon of olive oil all over, and place the roast directly on top of the potatoes. No part of the roast should be touching the roasting pan. Place back into the oven for approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until an instant read thermometer inserted into the center of the roast registers at 125 for medium rare. I recommend turning the roasting pan half way through cooking to promote even doneness. NOTE * if you prefer more well done sections of roast, test your ends first. If more time is needed, continue to read the temperature every 15 minutes, keeping in mind that between 145 and 150 will yield a firm medium.
Remove the roast and potatoes from the oven and turn off the heat. Tent the roast and the potatoes in foil for 20 minutes so the juices can redistribute. Do not skip this step.
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