Roasted Beef Tenderloin With Horseradish Mustard Sauce – It’s What’s for Dinner

Tasty
Very Tasty Indeed

As you know we don’t eat a whole lot of red meat around here. When we do, however, you can rest assured it’s a real treat and a wonderful meal. Unless you’re a vegetarian you gotta admit this looks really good. It’s also a breeze to make.

Yes, we’re doing beef but not any old beef. We’re doing beef tenderloin. Whether it’s served at a romantic dinner for two (definitely not for Baby Lady and me because she doesn’t eat beef or any other red meat) or it’s roasted whole as the centerpiece of a festive holiday dinner, beef tenderloin is considered the classic choice for a special and sometimes over-the-top main dish. I don’t know why but it is. Consider this. Most beef eaters prefer ribeye or New York Strip for steaks. New York Strip are taken from the striploin, a cut of beef from the back of a cow immediately behind the rib and just in front of the short loin where the Porterhouse is cut. They are rather lean but with good marbling and a nice beefy flavor. They can be a touch chewy but nothing like a top or bottom sirloin which are taken from the back of the cow and wholly unrelated besides being beef. Strip steaks also have a nice fat cap that keeps them moist.

Ribeyes are full of marbling and fat. Fat is what gives beef a lot of its distinctive flavor. Because of its high fat content and marbling ribeyes are one of the richest, beefiest cut available. The fat also provides moistness. Also, given its location on the cow (on the back in front of the strip loin), it is very tender when properly prepared, i.e. don’t cook it past medium.

Tenderloin, on the other hand is the muscle that runs along the backbone. It is a nonworking muscle which means it is incredibly tender, hence, it’s name tenderloin. This is a blessing and a curse in several respects. First, tenderloin is not that flavorful a cut of meat. It is, however, perfect to pair with beautiful wine sauces, or artichoke hearts (i.e. tournedos Henry IV), oscar style (with crab and hollandaise), etc. Second, because it is so lean, you cannot overcook it. If overcooked, i.e. anything past medium, it will be dry, tough and tasteless. Last, tenderloin is also the most expensive cut of beef because it’s such a small amount of the total cow and its tenderness makes it very popular.

For my money I prefer a good ribeye steak. For roasts, I like the prime rib. To me there simply is nothing better. The problem with prime rib is that it is an exceptionally large roast. A full prime rib roast (7 bone roast) is anywhere from 22 – 26 lbs which includes the fat cap. If you buy the ribeye roll and roast it, you are still looking at 12 lbs. Of course, you can always have your butcher cut it any size you want but I prefer the bone in and a minimum of 4 bones. This is still a significant amount of meat. It’s great for a large party but not a normal family meal. You can also do an entire striploin but again it’s a lot of meat. This doesn’t mean I don’t like tenderloin because I do. It’s just rates behind the ribeye and prime rib. I guess it’s a good thing we don’t eat a lot of red meat because we avoid these difficulties. 😀

Nevertheless, I was at the market when for some reason they had a ridiculous sale on whole tenderloins. I couldn’t resist. Daniel and Quickstep had been complaining that we didn’t love them because we hadn’t had any beef in a while. I hate that when it happens. So, to appease our grown children and make them once again feel loved, I bought an entire tenderloin. Actually, I bought 2 just to make sure I got to eat some of it. Do you have any idea how much beef 2 grown men can eat??? I don’t count. 😉

So, with tenderloins in hand, I had to do something with them. I could make steak but that would be rather mundane. I did use the ends to make a beautiful beef tips dish for the boys’ lunch – I didn’t get any. 😦 Then I made this fabulous open face sandwich for Quickstep’s lunch.

Open Face Sandwich with Tournedos of Beef Tenderloin with Bordelaise Sauce
Open Face Sandwich with Tournedos of Beef Tenderloin with Bordelaise Sauce

Again, I didn’t get any and to make matters worse Quickstep thinks I’m starving him. 😮 Regardless, I was going to make something that I WAS going to eat (Baby Lady had a beautiful pork chop) and this is what I did.

Ingredients

  • 3.5 lb. beef tenderloin roast, trimmed and tied
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1-1/2 tsp ground fennel seed
  • 1-1/2 tsp sea salt, split, or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 cup Mexican crema (you can use crème fraîche which is essentially the same thing but we had crema on hand)
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp horseradish
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground white pepper
Ingredients
Ingredients

Instruction

In a small bowl, combine the olive oil

This is a beautiful olive oil grown and pressed in Napa Valley
This is a beautiful olive oil grown and pressed in Napa Valley

minced rosemary

homegrown rosemary - we really should post a photo of the plant - it very much is tree-like. Never a shortage
homegrown rosemary – we really should post a photo of the plant – it very much is tree-like. Never a shortage

fennel seed

put this in a spice mill - you can use a mortar & pestle if you are so inclined. I wasn't. ;)
put this in a spice mill – you can use a mortar & pestle if you are so inclined. I wasn’t. 😉

freshly ground black pepper

black pepper
black pepper

and 1 tsp sea salt

sea salt
sea salt

Stir to make a paste. It will look something like this.

SONY DSC
seasoning paste

Pat the tenderloin dry with paper towels and tie with twine. I found this part absolutely impossible to photograph without the Baby Lady so it wasn’t photographed. Unless you have a center cut tenderloin roast (which wastes a lot of meat) you must tie the tenderloin to ensure even cooking time. You want it tied about 1 inch intervals. If you don’t have time to do this, ask your butcher to do this for you but call ahead so he has time.

Now, get a heavy bottom skillet (preferably cast iron) and heat it to very hot. Add the roast to the skillet

nicely tied roast going into a beautifully seasoned cast iron skillet - another post
nicely tied roast going into a beautifully seasoned cast iron skillet – another post

Get a good sear all the way around.

Sear
Sear

Once seared, place in a roasting pan with a roasting rack.

nicely seared, don't you think?
nicely seared, don’t you think?

Now, spoon the paste onto the roast and smear all over the surface of the meat.

season roast
season roast

It should look something like this when you’re done.

looking good but not done yet
looking good but not done yet

Now, put the roast in a 375 F preheated oven.

roasting time :)
roasting time 🙂

Roast until an instant- read thermometer inserted in the center reads 120 F for rare, 125 F to 130 F for medium rare, or 135 F for medium. Every piece of meat is different but it took this piece roughly 37 minutes to get to 127 F.  If you don’t have one, a digital meat thermometer is a valuable investment because what took me 37 minutes may take another piece of meat 35 minutes or 40 minutes. Although you can use “general rules” it’s still somewhat hit or miss.

In the meantime while the roast is “roasting,” add the crema to a measuring cup – you can use a small mixing bowl but why mess up another bowl to wash later. It’s not like you’re in a commercial kitchen with assistants and dishwashers. Remember you gotta clean this mess up. 🙂

crema
crema

Next, add the dijon mustard,

SONY DSC
mustard – yes I like Grey Poupon

lemon juice

notice Baby Lady is now helping?? I really don't know what I would do without her and have no desire to find out.
notice Baby Lady is now helping?? I really don’t know what I would do without her and have no desire to find out.

horseradish

horseradish
horseradish

and finally the remaining salt and white pepper. Whisk to combine.

You only get the pepper shot because the salt photo didn't pan out. :(
You only get the pepper shot because the salt photo didn’t pan out. 😦

Transfer the roast to a carving board (preferably with a well for collecting juices) and let it rest, uncovered, for roughly 10 minutes to let the muscles relax and the juices to reabsorb.

Does this look good or what???
Does this look good or what???

Now, remove the twine and slice.

carve the meat
carve the meat

We served this with some steamed broccoli with the sauce on the side. Enjoy!!

If you aren't hungry by now then you must have just eaten. :D This is a killer way to roast a tenderloin and will work regardless of the seasoning you select.
If you aren’t hungry by now then you must have just eaten. 😀 This is a killer way to roast a tenderloin and will work regardless of the seasoning you select.

16 thoughts on “Roasted Beef Tenderloin With Horseradish Mustard Sauce – It’s What’s for Dinner”

  1. Looks great, Richard. Fennel seed is often paired with pork. I’m curious what it’s like with beef.
    Did you use the spice grinder we got you to ground the fennel? (We did get you a spice grinder, right? Or have I been drinking too much pinot bianco here on the shore of an Italian lake?)
    Rib eye and prime rib are my favorite cuts of beef too, as well as blade steak cooked sous-vide.

    1. Hi Stefan. Yes, I did you the spice mill you gave me. 🙂 It’s really fun and does a fabulous job. As for the fennel, it wasn’t as prominent as I expected and the horseradish mustard sauce over powered it.
      That Italian lake you found is stunningly beautiful. Is the weather improving for you?

      1. Hi Richard, great to hear you like it. I had almost forgotten about it, but when you mentioned grinding the fennel seed I remembered.
        The weather has improved, it is now 80-90 degrees and sunny and will stay that way for about a week. For the hike to that lake it was nice that it wasn’t so hot, as it was quite strenuous and the lake perhaps a touch too cold to cool off in 😉

  2. Richard I am absolutely drooling! And that is completely unfair you didn’t get any of the steak tips or tournedos. I think somebody is being a little “too kind” to their poor, starving children. 😉

    1. Thanks Kathryn. This really was tasty. I still have 1 cup of the bordelaise sauce left. So I will probably get to eat it with something. Fixing the tournedos and beef tips were the easy parts. The difficulty were the sauces that took about 6 hours. The beef tips were very tasty (I stole 1 tip from one of their plates). I cooked the tips medium/medium rare, topped them with sauce and finished them with sliced, sautéed mushrooms all served over rice pilaf. Yes, my starving adult children are very spoiled. 😮

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