I'm not cooking Christmas dinner this year, but that doesn't stop me from fondly remembering one of my favorite holiday meals in recent years: a pecan crusted beef tenderloin served with a jalapeño-cranberry chutney, a caramelized onion and brie tart, and roasted cauliflower and brussel sprouts. And yes, all for just two people.
My friend Sara had first served the tenderloin dish at a dinner party, and I was hooked, so Christmas (of 2005? Wow, time is really starting to fly...) was the perfect opportunity to try my own version. Or rather, my version of a recipe I found on-line, which came courtesy of the BEEF! It's What's For Dinner website.
I firmly believe that the secret to most meat dishes is starting with a good cut of meat, and then doing as little possible to interfere with the natural flavors. The tenderloin I roasted came from Staubitz, my local butcher, and cost around $50. I don't buy tenderloin often and remember feeling a bit of sticker shock, but when all was said and done, the beef was fantastic. Scary good, like, "I can't believe I made this, it's so effing good" good.
Another thing I like about roasting meat is that you don't really DO very much; you brown or you season, but that's about it. Mostly you stick the thing in the oven and let it do all the work, then happily remove the finished product, and carve with a flourish. This was one of those kinds of dishes, and I highly recommend it to all you carnivores out there. We paired the tenderloin with a delicious bottle of Spanish red wine that was a gift from my parents - 2002 Finca Sandoval. Yum. I might need to revisit this dish again soon; it serves at least eight people, I'd guess, so I'm thinking it's time for another dinner party...
Pecan Crusted Beef Tenderloin with Jalapeño-Cranberry Chutney