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Chef Walter’s Flavors + Knowledge: Roasted Filet of Beef With Wine

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

 

Serve 4

Beef tenderloin is the classic choice for a special occasion and sometimes the centerpiece main spectacle dish, whether is selected for a fine dining experience in a romantic restaurant, or just if your family is over for the holidays. Because of its cost you want to have all the details in order before you tackle the project. Below a simple but extraordinarily good method which will have your guests impressed. Pair with a vegetable tartlet as in the photo or a side dish of choice.

 

Ingredients

1 center-cut fillet of beef, about 1 3/4 pounds, well trimmed and tied

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots

1 cup dry very good red wine

½ cup fresh or canned beef broth, possibly low in sodium

2 sprigs fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dry

1 small bay leaf

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

 

Preparation

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Sprinkle meat on all sides with salt and pepper. Rub with oil.

Put beef in a small shallow roasting pan and place on bottom rack of oven. Bake 25 minutes, turning once or twice as it roasts.

Transfer meat to a warm platter. Cover loosely with foil to keep it warm.

Pour off fat from pan. Place pan on top of stove and add shallots. Cook briefly, stirring, and add wine. Cook and reduce by half. Add broth, thyme, bay leaf and any juices that have accumulated around beef. Cook the liquid over high heat for about 5 minutes or until the sauce is reduced by 3/4 cup. Swirl in the butter. Transfer meat to a warm serving platter. Strain sauce over meat, slice on the bias and serve.

Chef’s Suggestions

Trimming: beef tenderloin has silver skin, which is a thick layer of white (sometimes silvery) connective tissue running along its surface. This tough tissue never tenderizes, is tough to cut through, and just doesn't taste very good if left on the meat. Have your butcher remove it unless you are skilled and comfortable with a boning knife.

Tie the meat: If you cook tenderloin as is, whether you're cooking oddly shaped whole beef tenderloin or tenderloin steaks, the inconsistent shape of the meat can result in uneven cooking — thinner pieces will overcook or thicker pieces will be too rare.

Seasoning: beef tenderloin is known for being extremely tender, but it doesn't have a lot of inherent beefy flavor on its own. Not seasoning or lightly seasoning the meat means that it'll be bland and uninteresting.

Overcooking: Tenderloin is lean and one of the tenderest cuts around, but the lack of fat means that overcooking it will result in dry, tough meat. Is best served rare or medium rare, so use a thermometer to make sure it doesn't get cooked past 140°F in the center. If you have guests who like their meat well-done, consider cutting whole tenderloin into pieces and cooking them to different temperatures to please everybody.

Allow resting: If you cut into tenderloin right after it's been cooked, all the delicious juices will leak out onto your plate and cutting board and not end up in the meat or your mouth. What's left will be dry and have fewer flavors. When your tenderloin is done cooking, set it aside in a warm place to rest a few minutes for steaks, and around 10 to 15 minutes for whole tenderloins. This lets the meat relax and gives it a chance to redistribute and reabsorb all the juices.

Wine: This is the mistake most people make when cooking with wine. Somehow we drink a much better wine than the one we use in cooking. Cook with the wine you are drinking!

 

Master Chef Walter Potenza is the owner of Potenza Ristorante in Cranston, Chef Walters Cooking School and Chef Walters Fine Foods. His fields of expertise include Italian Regional Cooking, Historical Cooking from the Roman Empire to the Unification of Italy, Sephardic Jewish Italian Cooking, Terracotta Cooking, Diabetes and Celiac. Recipient of National and International accolades, awarded by the Italian Government as Ambassador of Italian Gastronomy in the World. Currently on ABC6 with Cooking Show “Eat Well."  Check out the Chef's website and blog. 

 

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