This recipe is truly a pleasant surprise. A little off the beaten path, the flavors will surely seduce you; fall, New England, and everything good about good cooking.
Beef tenderloin is, in my humble opinion, the best cut of beef. Many may argue that ribeye is superior in flavor (and that may be true), but for tenderness, ease of consumption, ease of preparation, and just mouth-watering deliciousness, tenderloin reigns supreme.
The sub-primal itself can be divided into several cuts. Chateaubriand, filet mignon, traditional tenderloin, and medallions. In this recipe, we are going to use the chateau portion, which yields the most uniform cuts.
Also, in my humble opinion, I feel the best way to cook the tenderloin is the pan sear. Pan searing will caramelize the tenderloin uniformly, pushing that incredibly desirable ‘crust’ flavor into the meat, sealing in flavor and keeping the meat moist and juicy. My mouth is watering just thinking about this…
Local apple cider is reduced to a near syrup consistency, small and tender fingerling potatoes are gently simmered until perfectly cooked, carrots are glazed, and spinach is wilted in a hot saute pan. Incredibly, it’s an easy dish. It requires a little attention, but most good things do. Give it a shot, you won’t regret it!
Pan seared beef tenderloin medallions with simmered fingerling potatoes, cider reduction, carrots and spinach
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 45 min
Yield: 4 portions
2 lb cleaned beef tenderloin, but into even sized 3 oz cubes
2 lb fingerling potatoes, sliced in half on a bias
4 carrots, cut into oblique
2 cups baby spinach, washed
1/2 gallon local apple cider
1 cup prepared chicken stock
5 sprigs thyme
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp unsalted butter
cracked black pepper
3 tbsp sugar
In a heavy bottom sauce pot, reduce the cider until slightly thick. Remove from pot and reserve.
In another heavy bottom sauce pot, add the carrots, 1 sprig thyme, 1 tbsp butter, the sugar and a little salt. Add cold water until almost covered. Simmer over medium low heat until most of the water is gone. Turn heat up and let natural glaze form. Reserve and keep warm.
In a third sauce pot, add the potatoes and cover with water. Add one more sprig of thyme, pinch of salt and 1 tsp butter. SIMMER until fork tender. Strain and reserve.
In a heavy saute pan, heat the vegetable oil over high heat. Season the meat all sides with salt and pepper and place in the pan. Let each side brown before turning. If you turn too frequently, or overcrowd the pan, you will lose the heat and wind up with boiled beef. Add the remaining butter, thyme and garlic to the saute pan.
While the beef is cooking, get another saute pan going. Add the potatoes and carrots in a little oil, deglaze with a little chicken stock and let the stock reduce until almost dry. Add the spinach and wilt. Again, cook until almost dry. Add half the cider and cook until the liquid is sauce-like (coats back of a spoon). Season with salt and pepper. If it needs to be sweeter, add more cider. If it is too thick or too sweet, add a little more chicken stock.
At this point, the beef should be done (mid-rare to medium, no further). Place a little of the carrot/potato mix in the center of a warm plate, and place 2 beef medallions on top. Spoon a little of the pan sauce over the top. Serve right away.
I love this with either a good somewhat hoppy beer, or a good merlot (something that needs a little sweetness to ‘complete’ it). There’s nothing else I add. This is exactly how I love the dish, and I hope you do too!