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If you’re still looking for an easy and elegant main dish for Christmas this year, I recommend you try this beautiful Christmas beef tenderloin with red wine sauce.
This year, in partnership with Taste France Magazine, the theme of my Christmas menu is Christmas à la Française, showcasing delicious good French products, including French Charolais Beef, French goat cheese and French apples such as in my other recipe for Goat cheese, Apple & Pear Filo Parcels.
If you never tried beef tenderloin roasts at home before, this is a foolproof recipe that doesn’t require to spend hours in the kitchen so that you can enjoy your Christmas Day with your family.
I made this recipe for the first time a few days ago and the whole family said it was the most tender beef roast they ever had!
I served it with an intense red wine sauce infused with dried herbs but also a touch of anise and cinnamon to remind of Christmas!
This roasted beef tenderloin recipe is not only made for an holiday dinner but any dinner party or special occasions, especially in the winter season.
What is beef tenderloin?
Beef tenderloin or “filet mignon” in French is the most tender cut of beef. As it is quite rare, it is also one of the most expensive cuts of meat which makes it perfect for the holiday season.
How to choose your beef tenderloin?
For this recipe, you can choose:
- WHOLE BEEF TENDERLOIN: The advantage of a whole beef tenderloin is that you can serve it to up to 10-12 people depending on its size. If you use a whole tenderloin, you should tie it with kitchen strings or ask your trusted butcher to to so to ensure that the meat cooks evenly.
- CHATEAUBRIAND: Chateaubriand ist the best part of the beef tenderloin, the thick center part of the tenderloin. This is the part I chose, so that I didn’t had to tie it. Chateaubriand is by definition smaller and is best for 4-6 people.
How to make the perfect beef tenderloin roast
If like me, you don’t cook red meat very often, I can reassure you, this recipe is really easy and if you follow these steps, you will have a wonderful beef tenderloin!
REST: It is important to take your beef out the fridge and let it rest at room temperature at least 1 hour before starting to cook.
SEASON: Season your beef tenderloin solelly with black pepper and salt, you don’t what to mask the beautiful flavors of this exceptional cut of meat. Make sure to season each side equally.
SEAR: Before you roast you beef tenderloin in the oven, you want to give it a nice grilled flavors. I like to sear my beef with olive oil.
ROAST: Once you beef has a nice brown crusts, you can roast it in the oven. I choose to roast it on low temperature for 45 min to keep the juiciness of the meat and make it even more tender.
CHECK: To make sure that your meat is not overcooked or undercooked, the best way is to place an instant-read thermometer to check the internal temperature of the beef.
Check the temperature regularly and when the temperature in the middle of roast reaches 55 °C (130 °F), this is the time to turn the oven off. You will get a nice and juicy beef tenderloin.
SERVE: The great advantage of this recipe is that you can keep the beef tenderloin in this oven if you are not ready to serve at the end of the cooking time. To do so, reduce the temperature of the oven to 60 °C (140 °F) and you can leave the meat up to one hour.
The beef will just stay warm and not cook further. Just before you serving, take your beef roast out the oven and bring the oven back to 200 °C. Then, place the meat for 5-10 minutes at 200 °C (390 °F) just to allow the meat to be at the right temperature.
You will find the detailed recipe in the recipe card.
List of ingredients for the red wine sauce
To serve this beef tenderloin for Christmas, I choose a delicious red wine sauce. Here are the ingredients you need to make this sauce:
- Red wine: I used a good but not too expensive Pinot Noir red wine.
- Shallots: I used fresh shallots, cut in the length. Shallots bring a nice flavor to this red wine sauce.
- Thyme and rosemary: I like to season my red wine sauce with a sprig of rosemary and fresh thyme. I recommend you to keep the rosemary and thym sprigs as a whole and remove them from the sauce before serving.
- Bay leaves: I used here as well whole dried bay leaves that I removed before serving.
- Anise: I added a few anise stars to my red wine sauce to remind of Christmas.
- Cinnamon: I added a cinnamon stick to the red wine sauce also remind of Christmas. I don’t recommend you to use ground cinnamon as the taste might be too strong. In case, you only have ground cinnamon, be very careful and only add a decent pinch to the sauce.
- Brown sugar: The sauce can be quite sour because of the acidity of the red wine, so the brown sugar will balance it out nicely.
- Beef stock: I used a good quality beef stock as it would be too sad to cut in this ingredients with such an expensive cut of meat.
- Butter: I added butter to the sauce just before serving, this will enhance the flavors of the sauce.
- Potato starch: Potato starch is optional, it will help the sauce to get thicker. I recommend to use it very carefully.
How to make the red wine sauce?
SAUTÉ: In the same skillet roasted the beef tenderloin, add the shallots cuts in the length together with brown sugar. Sauté for 5 minutes until they start to get bolden.
DEGLAZE: Then deplane with red wine and bring to boil. Let simmer until the wine has reduce to half.
POUR & SEASON: Pour the beef stock and add thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, anise and the cinnamon stick.
STARCH: If you use starch, reserve one of tablespoon of cold beef stock or cold wine. Mix the starch well with about two stable spoons of liquid in a small bowl until you have no lumps. It is very important to first stir the starch in a cold liquid before adding it to your sauce.
Shortly before serving, pour the starch mixture to the sauce, bring the sauce to boil and mix continuously until you have reach the right consistency.
If the sauce is too thick, you can add a bit more liquid such as wine or beef broth.
If the sauce if too liquid, you, can let simmer for another 10 minutes until the sauce reduces in volume.
FINISH: To finish, take the herbs and spices out to the sauce and add butter to enhance the flavor. Season with salt and pepper.
How to serve beef tenderloin?
For my Christmas dinner, I served this beef tenderloin with the red wine sauce. As a side dish, I made a parsnip mash with thyme and lemon and sautéed carrots with thyme and honey.
Here are other ideas for side dishes:
- Potato puree
- Green beans
- Roasted vegetables
- Roasted potatoes
And if you have some meat rests, you can serve this beef tenderloin roast cold with Dijon mustard or homemade garlic butter!
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Christmas Beef Tenderloin with Red Wine Sauce
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For the beef tenderloin
- 750 g beef tenderloin
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Fresh herbs thyme, rosemary
For the red wine sauce
- 400 ml red wine Pinot noir
- 400 ml beef stock
- 6 shallots
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3 anise stars
- Fresh herbs thyme, rosemary
- 1 teaspoon potato starch
- 15 g butter
For the beef tenderloin roast
- Preheat your oven at 80 °C (175 °F) and place you dish in the oven.
- In large skillet and add a generous drizzle of olive oil. Heat your skillet on high heat. Place your beef tenderloin in your skillet and sear it without moving it for 2-3 minutes. Turn the meat an sear it on the other side. Reserve your skillet as it is for the red wine sauce.
- To make sure your skillet is very hot, place a wooden spoon on the skillet if the oil is not moving or make a few bubbles, wait a little bit longer. When the oil makes strong and loud bubbles, it is ready for the meat.
- Place your beef tenderloin in your warm dish. Add a drizzle of olive oil and fresh herbs such as rosemary and thyme around.
- Roast in the oven for 45 min.
- Finally, place your beef tenderloin roast on a cutting board. With a sharp knife, cut relatively thin slices and serve with the red wine sauce described below and your favorite sides.
For the red wine sauce
- In the same skillet roasted the beef tenderloin, add the shallots cuts in the length together with brown sugar. Sauté for 5 minutes until they start to get bolden.
- Then pour the red wine and bring to boil. Add thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, anise and the cinnamon stick and let simmer until the wine has reduce to half.
- Pour in the beef stock and reduce again for 10 minutes.
- If using cornstarch, reserve one tablespoon of cold beef stock or cold wine. Mix the starch well until you have no lumps. It is very important to stir the starch into a cold liquid before adding it to your sauce. Pour it in at the end of cooking. Bring the sauce to a boil and stir continuously until you reach the right consistency.
- If the sauce is too thick, you can add a little more liquid such as wine or beef broth. If the sauce is too liquid, you can simmer for another 10 minutes until the sauce reduces in volume.
- To finish, take the herbs and spices out to the sauce and add butter to enhance the flavor. Season with salt and pepper.