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Showstopping holiday dinner

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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

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