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Sear-Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Herb-Mustard Sauce

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Serves 4

  • To learn more, read:
    Sear, Roast & Sauce
  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 71

If you think beef tenderloin is a special-occasion-only dish, well—make tonight special. The sauce is simple and flavorful and the sear-roasting technique means you’ll have a restaurant-quality meal in the comfort of your own home. To get that great crust, just be sure that the oven has reached 425°F before starting to sear—most ovens take 20 to 30 minutes to heat up thoroughly.

For the Beef:
  • 4 beef tenderloin steaks (about 2 lb. total)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil, canola oil, or peanut oil
For the Herb-Mustard Sauce:
  • 3 Tbs. Cognac
  • 1 cup homemade or low-salt beef or chicken broth
  • 2 Tbs. heavy cream
  • 1-1/2 Tbs. whole-grain mustard
  • 2 Tbs. thinly sliced chives
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
Sear-roast the beef:

Heat the oven to 425°F. Turn the exhaust fan on to high. Pat the meat dry with paper towels. Season both sides generously with salt and pepper (about 1 tsp. of each total). Heat a 12-inch heavy-based ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat until a droplet of water vaporizes in 1 or 2 seconds, about 1 min. (If the water skitters around the pan and doesn’t evaporate, the pan is too hot; take it off the heat for about 30 seconds to cool.)

Add the oil, swirl it around the pan, and then evenly space the beef in the pan. Cook without touching for 2 min. Using tongs, lift a corner of the tenderloin, check that it’s both well browned and easily releases from the pan, and flip it over. (If it sticks or isn’t well browned, cook for 1 to 2 more minutes before flipping.) Cook the second side for 1 min. and then transfer the skillet to the oven.

Roast until the beef reaches the doneness you want, usually 4 to 7 minutes (for medium rare, beef should be have an internal temperature of 130°F and be slightly springy to the touch). Using potholders, carefully remove the pan from the oven, transfer the meat to a large plate, tent with foil, and let it rest while you prepare the sauce in the same skillet.

Prepare the sauce:

Pour off any excess fat from the skillet. Off the heat, add the Cognac and then return the pan to high heat. Cook, scraping the pan with a wooden spoon to pick up any browned bits, until the Cognac is almost completely reduced. Add the broth and cook until it’s reduced to about 1/3 cup, about 5 minutes. Add the cream, mustard, chives, and thyme, stir well, and remove from the heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle over the beef and serve immediately.

Serving Suggestions

Serve with green beans and Sour Cream & Leek Mashed Potatoes.

Drink Suggestions

Wine Choices: The combination of lean beef, mustard, and herbs needs a red wine with medium-plus tannins and some herbal character: Go with a Cabernet blend.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on four servings; Calories (kcal): 440; Fat (g): fat g 23; Fat Calories (kcal): 210; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 8; Protein (g): protein g 50; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 11; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 4; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 740; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 145; Fiber (g): fiber g 0;

Photo: Scott Phillips

Great recipe. I wrap my steaks in cheesecloth and place on a rack in the bottom of the fridge for a couple of days before cooking. Results in a dry-aged steak that sears well.

Home run! Superb flavour to the sauce. Served, as suggested, with the sour cream and leek mashed potatoes and sauteed spinach with a squeeze of lemon. This will become a staple for dinner company.

Delicious - love the easy method - foolproof. Plus the sauce is fantastic!

This is the ONLY way we cook tenderloin now..you do need a good fan (as mentioned!) but the results are wonderful - and perfect every time.

This is the ONLY way we cook tenderloin now..you do need a good fan (as mentioned!) but the results are wonderful - and perfect every time.

This is an incredible recipe and method. This recipe appeared in a section on sear roasting in Fine Cooking. It covered pork chops, chicken, salmon and steaks. I tried this and was amazed at the results. The food cooked with this method makes a wonderful dinner. I have had guests rave about it many times. I use New York Strip steaks and either serve them whole or thinly slice them on the bias put them on a serving platter and pour the delicious sauce on them. For me this recipe was a real breakthrough in cooking and I use it and derivatives frequently.

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