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Beef Tenderloin with Wild Mushroom Stuffing & Port Wine Sauce


Serves 8 - 10

  • To learn more, read:
    Roasts to Boast About
  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 89

Don’t be scared off by the liver in this stuffing. It’s really there just to bind the stuffing and add a rich background note; you won’t even notice it.

For the sauce:
  • 1-1/4 oz. (2-1/2 Tbs.) unsalted butter
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
  • One 750-ml bottle tawny port (about 3-1/4 cups)
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2-1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth
  • 1 oz. dried porcini mushrooms
  • 2 tsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. good-quality balsamic vinegar; more to taste
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the stuffing:
  • 1 Tbs. dried currants
  • 2 Tbs. canola oil
  • 1 small chicken liver, fat trimmed and lobes separated (1-1/2 to 2 oz.)
  • 1/2 lb. mixed fresh shiitake, oyster, and hen-of-the-woods mushrooms, stemmed and sliced 1/4 inch thick (use all 3 varieties if you can find them; otherwise, try to use at least 2)
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt; more to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper; more to taste
  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped (a heaping 1 Tbs.)
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, finely chopped (about 2 tsp.)
  • 1/4 cup low-salt chicken broth
  • 1 oz. (2 Tbs.) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces and softened at room temperature
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley
  • 1-1/2 tsp. Cognac or Armagnac
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/4 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
For the roast:
  • 4-lb. beef tenderloin roast, preferably center-cut
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Make the sauce reduction:

Melt 1 Tbs. of the butter in a 3- to 4-quart (preferably 8-inch-wide) saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the shallot and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the port and the thyme sprigs and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to maintain a brisk simmer and cook until the port has reduced to a syrupy texture, about 30 minutes—you should have about 1/2 cup including the shallot.

Meanwhile, bring the chicken broth to a simmer in a small saucepan. Off the heat, add the porcini and let them soak for 15 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the porcini to a small bowl. Strain the soaking liquid through a fine sieve lined with a paper towel or coffee filter.

Add the soaking liquid and half of the porcini (about 1/3 cup) to the port reduction (save the remaining porcini for the stuffing). Bring the sauce to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to maintain a brisk simmer and cook until it has reduced to 1-1/3 cups, about 15 minutes. Strain the sauce through a fine strainer, pressing on the solids. You should have about 1 cup sauce. Set aside until the roast is done.

Make the stuffing:

Soak the currants in hot water for 10 minutes. Drain and put them in a food processor. Add the reserved soaked porcini. Heat 1 Tbs. of the oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Pat the chicken liver dry and cook on both sides until browned on the outside and just a little pink inside, 3 to 4 minutes total. Transfer to a plate, let cool slightly, and then add to the food processor. Process until finely chopped.

Heat the remaining 1 Tbs. oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they look wilted and shrunken, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the shallot and garlic and continue to cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are tender and beginning to brown, 3 to 4 more minutes. Add the chicken broth and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen any brown bits. If the liquid doesn’t evaporate right away, boil until it does. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool slightly.

Add the sautéed mushrooms, butter, parsley, Cognac or Armagnac, lemon juice, thyme, and lemon zest to the liver mixture in the food processor. Pulse to form a chunky paste and season to taste with additional salt and pepper.

Beef Tenderloin with Wild Mushroom Stuffing & Port Wine Sauce Recipe

Scrape the stuffing onto a large piece of plastic wrap and shape it into a log a few inches longer than the roast. Tightly roll the stuffing up in the plastic wrap and twist the ends to form a very tight log. Twisting the ends of the plastic will compress the stuffing so that it’s just a bit shorter than the roast. Freeze until firm, about 2 hours and up to 2 days.

Stuff & cook the roast:

Trim the silverskin and excess fat from the tenderloin. Butterfly the tenderloin by slicing it lengthwise almost but not completely in half, so that you can open it like a book.

Beef Tenderloin with Wild Mushroom Stuffing & Port Wine Sauce Recipe

Unwrap the stuffing and center it along one half of the roast. Fold the roast back up to its original shape and tie at 1- to 2-inch intervals with butcher’s twine.

Beef Tenderloin with Wild Mushroom Stuffing & Port Wine Sauce Recipe

Let the roast sit at room temperature for 1 hour (2 hours if the stuffing is frozen solid). Position a rack in the bottom third of the oven and heat the oven to 500°F. Let the remaining 1-1/2 Tbs. butter for the sauce soften at room temperature.

Season the roast generously with salt and pepper and put it on a flat rack set in a roasting pan or heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 15 minutes and then reduce the oven temperature to 325°F. Continue to roast the beef until a meat thermometer inserted into the center of the meat (not the stuffing) registers 125°F for rare or 130°F for medium rare, 30 to 45 minutes more. Move the roast to a carving board and let it rest, loosely tented with foil, for 15 minutes.

Finish the sauce:

While the roast rests, bring the sauce to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Mix the softened butter with the flour to form a paste and whisk it into the sauce. Simmer the sauce to thicken slightly and cook off any raw flour taste, about 3 minutes. Whisk in the vinegar. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and additional vinegar.

Plate & serve:

Remove the strings from the roast and slice it into 8 to 10 medallions. Put a medallion on each plate and drizzle the sauce around the beef.

Beef Tenderloin with Wild Mushroom Stuffing & Port Wine Sauce Recipe
Make Ahead Tips

The reduced, strained sauce can be made and refrigerated up to 2 days ahead. If not making the stuffing ahead, refrigerate the remaining soaked porcini separately. The roast can be stuffed and refrigerated up to 1 day in advance.

Drink Suggestions

A hearty red wine with developed tannins, a mineral undertone, and bright fruit pairs well with the earthymushroom and port elements of the beef tenderloin. The Waterstone 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley would be perfect.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on 10 servings, Calories (kcal): 530, Fat (kcal): 24, Fat Calories (g): 210, Saturated Fat (g): 9, Protein (g): 41, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 9, Carbohydrates (mg): 16, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 2, Sodium (g): 640, Cholesterol (g): 140, Fiber (g): 1,

Photo: Scott Phillips

Excellent recipe - very impressive presentation. Have made this twice for Christmas dinner to wonderful raves.

Amazing. My very picky family even liked the stuffing (all except my husband who just couldn't get over the appearance). This went down as "tied for best Thanksgiving meal ever"--the only competition being the crown roast with cider gravy from the same magazine edition. Definitely double the's yummy.

I followed this recipe to the letter and it was a terrible disaster - my husband said the mushroom stuffing was the worst thing he ever tasted. The meat itseft was quite tasty but overall a very expensive mistake.

fantastic easy to cook and as you can prepare both sauce and stuffing in advance - dinner was a dream I do recommend doubling up on the sauce if cooking for 10.and asking the butcher to prepare the cut which is so easy to stuff if frozen in advance

I made this recipe for a New Year's dinner for 8. It was the highlight of the meal, the port wine sauce is a great accompaniment.

I am close to speechless....this recipe was, without a doubt, my most memorable Christmas meal, ever! I was able to find wildcrafted mushrooms and I used a blend of shiitake, oyster, and chanterelle. I also used dried maitake mushrooms as I could not find them fresh. Everything was perfect and after watching the video on how to tie a pork loin....I looked like a total pro, impressing everyone with my skills. The port wine reduction sauce was the perfect touch, and I served the beef with roasted green beans, garlic mashed potatoes and a baby greens salad with pomegranate seeds and blue cheese. A terrific jumble-berry pie (recipe on this website) for desert and WOW! This recipe was easy to follow and I will definitely make it again. Thank you from Northern California!

This is a wonderful recipe. The freezing/butterflying/tieing process is SO much easier than trying to pipe or stuff the filling as I've done in the past. It was easy to accomplish ahead of time, as was the sauce. The filling flavors blended well and overall, this is a slam dunk for a large dinner party. Make ahead, roast, slice and serve. I made this recipe and a mid-sized turkey for 14 on Thanksgiving. Everyone loved it and I've had two recipe requests.

I made this last night for company. IT was fantastic!! Easy to prepare, did most of it the day before. Cooked to internal temp of 130 it came our perfect! don't worry about the hen of the woods mushrooms, I don't think it would have made that much of a difference. The sauce was wonderful, and easy.

I made this last night for a dinner party with friends. We have dinner parties about twice a month. This was a standout -- raves all around for the roast which was beautiful, perfectly cooked and just delicious. I used chanterelles and blue-footed mushrooms, because I had them on hand.

Had it last night - Great meal Billy T - you have outdone yourself!

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