Since Bill and I have been buying our own local grassfed meat, I’m appalled–even disturbed–by the sizes of meat cuts served in mainstream restaurants. That’s why I wasn’t surprised to see our tenderloin portion we received in our mixed quarter of beef from Lubbers Farm this year. The filet mignon (French for “cute filet”) is from the smaller end of the tenderloin, which runs along the spine of the cow.
Known as the most tender cut of meat in beef (as well as pork and venison), it’s also the most expensive part. An “average” steer or heifer (probably the feedlot variety) produces just 4 to 6 pounds of tenderloin, which is why our piece from a mixed quarter yielded just .63 pounds.
One saves a special occasion for preparing such a prime piece of meat. For Bill and me, it was New Year’s Eve. I chose an easy recipe but was very vigilant to make sure the meat wasn’t overcooked, especially since grassfed beef takes less time than feedlot meat. It was called Beef Tenderloin with Red Wine Sauce.
What I didn’t expect was for the meat to be cut into two pieces when I opened the package. So I had to be even more watchful since the surface area in the oven was nearly twice as much.
For a recipe like this, it helps to prepare the side dishes in advance as much as possible because the roasting time is fast. After rubbing with fresh garlic and sprinkling the meat with salt and pepper, I preheated the oven and got busy on the sauce. (You’re supposed to do this with the pan drippings after the meat is roasted but I wasn’t anticipating much in the way of drippings so I thought I’d start it and add whatever I could salvage later.)
First I sautéed green onions and garlic in olive oil.
Then I added rice flour instead of wheat flour to accommodate Bill’s allergies, and made a roux.
I added the red wine and some beef stock, omitting the mushrooms because I detest them.
The meat was done in about 25 minutes. I poured the drippings into the sauce and covered the meat with foil to let it rest while we finished the rest of the preparations.
Alongside our tenderloin we had mashed Yukon potatoes with raw milk buttermilk, braised carrots with carmelized onions in balsamic vinegar, and a Caesar salad (plus a wonderful Cabernet Sauvignon and a little bubbly Prosecco to ring in the new year!).