Prep 15 mins
Cook 45 mins
This is an unashamedly luxurious main course, because this cut of beef (known as fillet of beef in other countries) has become so expensive. However, it is economical in the sense that not a scrap needs to be wasted of this lean and tender cut. Leftovers can always be used up in delicious dishes and make wonderful beef salads or even sandwiches. It's best to roast this only to "rare" - still edge-to-edge reddish-pink. Although I give a timing method, it is still best to test the meat about 2/3rd through roasting time, as ovens differ and the thickness of tenderloins differ. A rare roast will easily yield to finger or spoon pressure, and become increasingly unyielding as it cooks through. Some people prefer a very hot oven, some prefer it as in this recipe. I roasted this one to medium -- pink -- because my guests preferred it that way. Tenderloin this way is an easy way to put a smart main dish on the table because it can be prepared in advance, timed well, and stuck into the oven. Just remember that it is very important to let the finished roast "rest" for 15 minutes (in a lukewarm oven) to ensure the meat is juicy. One last point: a small piece of tenderloin/fillet is not worth roasting, and is better when sliced into cutlets and pan-fried. This recipe is for the largest one you can find! Quantities are guesses as it's not that important. For the mustard, I simply scooped out Dijon mustard with a spoon until the roast was covered. NOTE that the cooking time given is very approximate, as it all depends on your timing.
- 3 lbs beef tenderloin (or more, 1.5 kg)
- 4 tablespoons flour (or use breadcrumbs)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 teaspoons ginger, ground
- 3 teaspoons ground black pepper
- 4 tablespoons mustard such as Dijon mustard (use more if needed)
- 1 cup sour cream, thick (250 ml, use creme fraiche preferably)
- 3 tablespoons green peppercorns, drained (the pickled kind)
- 1 tablespoon tomato ketchup
- 1⁄2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce (or other hot sauce)
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
- (A step-by-step demo of this prep was posted in the African Forum, and should appear also in the Index thread, under "Beef", in the Kitchen Information Reference Forum).
- Heat oven to 325 deg F/160 deg C IF you intend roasting the fillet immediately after preparation.
- A whole fillet has one thick part and then tapers to a narrow point at the end. In this shape it is not very useable.
- First trim off the shiny sinew which covers part of the top of the tenderloin by scraping it off gently with a sharp paring knife, so as not to waste meat. Trim off excess fatty bits. WEIGH your tenderloin, which is important for oven timing.
- Fold the thin end like a fish tail towards the thick end, and then start tying up the folded "tail end" very tightly with kitchen string. Truss the entire tenderloin this way, at intervals of 1/2 inch. In the end you should have a piece of meat which seems equally thick, and will be easy to handle.
- Mix the flour, ginger, salt and pepper in a dish into which the meat can fit.
- Rub or pat the entire roast with the mustard.
- Put it in the flour mixture, and with the help of a spoon and your hands, scoop up and pat this on all over the meat.
- At this stage it's oven-ready, and can be covered and rested either at room temperature or, if for longer than an hour, in the fridge. It's best to bring it to room temperature before roasting.
- You can time your tenderloin more or less like this: 15 minutes per pound at 325 deg F/160 deg C should almost guarantee you a rare roast, provided it wasn't freezingly cold when it went into the oven. Twenty minutes per pound should yield a medium-rare roast. If that's still too undercooked to your taste, give it 15 minutes extra in the oven, i.e. 75 minutes at 325 deg F. Personally, I think any more than that and it will be too well done.
- Test the roast about 2/3 through roasting as described in the intro. Convection ovens like mine are notoriously fast (I can't work out exactly why, because the temperature is correct!
- Remove, and rest the roast for 15 minutes at least. It can be left in a warming oven, and do warm your serving plates as well.
- For the sauce, crush the (drained) peppercorns in a mortar and pestle. If you don't have one, put the peppercorns in small batches in a tablespoon, and use the rounded part of another tablespoon to crush them a little.
- Mix all ingredients well, and ladle into a small bowl. This can be heated gently in the warming oven with the meat, or you can heat it over low heat in a small pot first.
- Slice hot, at the table, using a very sharp knife to avoid pushing down on the meat and letting the juices run out. Serve with a spoonful of the sour cream sauce, and side dishes of your choice.