Succulent, melt-in-your-mouth beef tenderloin is truly something to behold. I’m not a big steak person, but this is really special, and just thinking about it makes my mouth water.
Cut from the short loin section, this large boneless roast is one of the most tender pieces of beef you can buy. Which also makes it an expensive cut of meat (and one that I reserve exclusively for very special occasions, such as the holidays). Because of that, the pressure is on: you don’t want to screw it up!
Be sure to select a good-quality cut of meat from a reputable butcher or market. You can use this recipe to prepare a whole tenderloin, which can range in size from 4 to 6 lbs. Or, have your butcher cut a smaller tenderloin—I used a 3 lb roast—for fewer people. Ideally choose the thicker butt end, although if you get the tail end, tuck the tail under and tie the roast every 1 to 2 inches; this ensures that the roast is about the same size throughout and will roast evenly. Also, make sure you trim the silverskin off of the tenderloin (before you tie it!), as the silverskin becomes tough when cooked, and makes the tenderloin difficult to slice once roasted.
Because I always make this with a flavorful sauce to serve alongside, there’s no need to do anything much to the tenderloin except season it with salt and pepper and pop it into the oven (in a roasting pan, on a rack) to roast.
Here are the temperatures you are aiming for when roasting:
- 120°F to 125°F for rare
- 125°F to 130°F for medium rare
Once you take the tenderloin out and transfer it to a cutting board, tent it loosely with foil and let it rest for at least 20 or up to 30 minutes before slicing. This gives the meat a chance to re-absorb the liquid inside, keeping it juicy and flavorful.
Enjoy this with that incredible bottle of full-bodied red wine that you’ve been saving. This is the time.
Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Port, Shallot, and Mushroom Sauce
- 3-lb. beef tenderloin, trimmed of silverskin and tied
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the sauce:
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3 large shallots, halved and thinly sliced lengthwise (about 1 cup)
- 1/2 lb cremini mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
- 2/3 cup good-quality tawny port or Madeira, or more as needed
- 1 small rosemary sprig
- 2 cups beef stock or reduced-sodium beef broth
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- Pat the beef dry with paper towels, then rub it all over with the oil. Season with plenty of salt and pepper. Let stand at room temperature for about 1 hour before roasting.
- Twenty minutes before roasting, position a rack in the upper-middle part of the oven and preheat the oven to 425°F. Arrange a wire rack in a shallow roasting pan just large enough to hold the tenderloin. Place the tenderloin on the rack and roast until nicely browned and a thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 125°F for medium-rare, about 45 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, transfer the tenderloin to a warm platter, and tent with aluminum foil. Let rest for 20 to 30 minutes while you make the sauce.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the shallots and mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until they soften and turn golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add the port and the rosemary sprig and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil until slightly reduced, about 3 minutes. Add the stock and vinegar and continue to boil until the sauce reduces slightly again, about 5 minutes longer. Reduce the heat to low. Remove the rosemary sprig.
- In a small bowl, stir the remaining 2 tablespoons butter together with the flour until smooth. Whisk into the sauce, then increase the heat to medium and simmer the sauce until it thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Keep the sauce warm by covering it. Warm it gently over low heat just before serving.
- Unwrap the tenderloin and stir any accumulated juices into the sauce. Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Carve the meat into 1/2-inch thick slices and serve with the sauce.