Facebook LinkedIn Email Pinterest Twitter Instagram YouTube Icon Navigation Search Icon Main Search Icon Video Play Icon Plus Icon Minus Icon Check Icon Print Icon Note Icon Heart Icon Filled Heart Icon Single Arrow Icon Double Arrow Icon Hamburger Icon TV Icon Close Icon Sorted Hamburger/Search Icon

Showstopping holiday dinner

Save to Recipe Box
Add Private Note
Saved Add to List

    Add to List

Add Recipe Note

Slow-roasting a tenderloin frees you up to work on the other courses.

Beef tenderloin’s buttery texture (and high price tag) makes it a favorite for special occasions. In this luxurious menu, it’s roasted at a low temperature, which cooks the meat slowly and evenly, and frees you up to work on the rest of the dishes: a rich red wine sauce, creamed spinach amandine and potatoes mousseline. Finish things off with a bright note from the pecan-pineapple upside-down cake.

Menu Timeline

Up to Two Days Ahead:

  • Make the red wine sauce, cover and refrigerate.

In the Morning:

  • Clean and stem the spinach.
  • Toast the almonds.
  • Make the Potatoes Mousseline, spread in a baking dish, and refrigerate.

Four Hours Before the Meal:

  • Prepare and bake the upside-down cake.
  • When the cake is done baking and cooled for 15 minutes, turn it out onto a plate, cover lightly and set aside until ready to serve.

Two and a Half Hours Before the Meal:

  • Put the beef tenderloin in the oven.
  • Heat the port, add the figs, and allow to soak for two hours.

An Hour Before the Meal:

  • Take the Potatoes Mousseline out of the refrigerator.
  • When the beef comes out of the oven, put in the potatoes.
  • Prepare the salad greens, but do not dress them.

30 minutes Before the Meal:

  • Cook the spinach.
  • Finish making the fig and port dressing.
  • Make the cider vinaigrette.

Just before serving:

  • Finish and dress the salad.
  • Reheat the red wine sauce.
  • Finish the spinach.
  • Broil the potatoes.
  • Slice the beef.

Shopping List

Fresh Produce:

  • 1 large Asian Pear or barely ripe Bosc or Anjou pear
  • 1 whole fresh pineapple, OR fresh peeled, cored pineapple
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 lb. russet potatoes
  • 20 oz. (about 8 cups) fresh spinach
  • 20 oz. (about 8 cups) fresh spinach
  • 1 head radicchio di Treviso, common red radicchio, or red Belgian endive
  • 7 medium shallots
  • 30 sprigs fresh thyme

Meat, Eggs & Dairy:

  • 1 whole beef tenderloin (about 6 lb.)
  • 1/2 lb. Cabrales
  • 1 lb. unsalted butter
  • 1-1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs

Pantry Staples:

  • 2 Tbs. cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbs. red-wine vinegar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper

Other Groceries:

  • 3 dried figs, preferably Black Mission
  • 5-1/2 oz. (1-1/4 cups) cake flour
  • 1/2 cups sliced almonds
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup pecan halves
  • 1/2 cup pecan pieces
  • 1/2 cup ruby port
  • 2 cups full-bodied dry red wine (like a Merlot)
  • 4 cups low-salt canned beef broth
  • 6 Tbs. grapeseed oil, or another neutral salad oil
  • 1/2 Tbs. almond oil (or walnut or hazelnut oil)

The Menu


View All


Follow Fine Cooking on your favorite social networks

We hope you’ve enjoyed your free articles. To keep reading, subscribe today.

Get the print magazine, 25 years of back issues online, over 7,000 recipes, and more.