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Sear-Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Port and Cranberry Sauce

Scott Phillips

Yield: Yields about 2 cups

Servings: 8

Heat and sweet come together in this deep burgundy sauce that’s simply stunning on the holiday table.


For the beef

  • 1 trimmed whole beef tenderloin (3-1/2 to 4 lb.)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 medium clove garlic, mashed to a paste
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. finely chopped fresh thyme
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil

For the sauce

  • 1-1/2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/3 cup minced shallot
  • Kosher salt
  • 1-1/2 cups tawny port
  • 1 small hot dried red chile, such as chile de árbol
  • 2 cups unsalted or lower-salt beef stock or broth; more as needed
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries or cherries, chopped
  • 2 Tbs. cornstarch mixed with 2 Tbs. cool water
  • 1-1/2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 560
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 285
  • Fat (g): 32
  • Saturated Fat (g): 12
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1.5
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 14.5
  • Cholesterol (mg): 150
  • Sodium (mg): 675
  • Carbohydrates (g): 15
  • Fiber (g): 0
  • Protein (g): 40


Sear-roast the beef

  • Fold the thinner end of the tenderloin under to create an evenly thick roast; secure with twine. Rub the beef all over with 1 Tbs. salt. Wrap it in butcher paper or plastic wrap, put it on a platter or rimmed baking sheet, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.
  • Remove the beef from the refrigerator and let sit for about an hour before roasting. Meanwhile, position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 475°F.
  • In a small bowl, combine the mustard, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, honey, soy sauce, thyme, and a few grinds of pepper; set aside.
  • Heat a flame-proof roasting pan over medium-high heat, using 2 burners if necessary. Add the oil, swirling the pan to coat, and then add the beef. Cook, turning with tongs, until well browned on all sides, about 12 minutes total. Transfer to a cutting board; wipe out the pan.
  • Brush the glaze over all of the beef, return it to the roasting pan, and roast to an internal temperature of 120°F for rare, 16 to 20 minutes, or 125°F for medium rare, 22 to 26 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board, tent with foil, and let rest for 15 minutes.

Make the sauce

  • Heat the oil in a 2-quart saucepan over medium- low heat. Add the shallot and 1/4 tsp. salt and cook, stirring, until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the port and dried chile, turn the heat up to medium, and boil gently until the mixture is reduced to about 1/3 cup, 12 to 15 minutes. Add the stock and the cranberries, bring to a gentle boil, and cook until reduced to about 2 cups, 5 to 8 minutes.
  • Remove the chile and discard it. Whisk in half of the cornstarch slurry and simmer, whisking, for a minute. For a thicker sauce, whisk in a bit more of the slurry; if it’s too thick, add a little stock. Add the vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and 1/2 tsp. black pepper. (If making the sauce ahead, take it off the heat, let cool, and refrigerate for up to 1 day; reheat gently.) Whisk in the butter until incorporated and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Slice the tenderloin 1/2 inch thick and pour any juice that has accumulated over the sliced beef. Serve the beef with the sauce.

Make Ahead Tips

The tenderloin can be tied and salted up to 2 days ahead; keep it wrapped in butcher paper or plastic in the refrigerator.

The sauce may be made 1 day ahead up to the point indicated in the recipe. Be sure to let the sauce cool before covering and refrigerating. Reheat gently and finish as directed in the recipe.


Rate or Review

Reviews (3 reviews)

  • User avater
    Nmstuewe | 01/01/2021

    I made this for New Years Day. In the sauce I added dried mushrooms with the shallots but strained them out before adding the dried cherries. This added an earthy element to the sauce and it was a smoother sauce without them. It really was an easy recipe to follow. I think you really should start your sauce before browning your meat though. Loved it!

  • Annesfirst | 12/26/2016

    Took a risk with a new recipe for Christmas and was not disappointed. Flavor balance was perfect, just the thing for a very special meal. Everyone raved!

  • OHeath | 01/27/2015

    This recipe was quite simple and very impressive. I purchased a smaller tenderloin at Costco (about 2.5 lbs) and it easily served 8. I followed the directions for cooking and it turned out perfectly. The sauce was amazing! Great recipe! Everyone raved about it.

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