Beef tenderloin (or filet mignon) is by far the most tender cut on the steer. No matter how you cook it, it would be soft enough to cut with a fork. It gets a melt-in-your-mouth, almost buttery texture, all with a minimal amount of fat.
A lean tenderloin has no intramuscular fat. Most of the distinctive flavour in meat comes from fat. That is why most tenderloin recipes you will see come with some big, punchy flavour added, whether it’s in the form of a bacon wrap, a pepper crust, or a high-impact sauce. So, the question is, how do you roast a tenderloin to maximize the amount of medium-rare meat while also adding plenty of flavours?
For tenderloin, edge-to-edge pink, with perhaps even a spot of translucent rare meat in the very center, is the way to go. Of course, we still want a nice dark crust on the exterior for flavour and texture. The oven-sear method ensures perfectly medium-rare tenderloin from edge to center, with a nicely browned, flavorful crust.
You might be wondering why you have to change the temperature of the oven 10 minutes into cooking. There is a good reason! Ideally, all roasted meats would be seared on all sides in a hot skillet to develop a golden, delicious crust. Starting with a hot oven gives the roast a chance to get that beautiful crust without bringing out a pan. After you have got a head start on that crust, you can lower the temperature, and the meat will start cooking from the inside out.
It is so delicious with the Roquefort (blue cheese) sauce. A perfect combination to add flavour to the lean meat.
This is a straightforward recipe for a versatile and easy blue cheese sauce that can also be used on steaks or as a dip for vegetables or crusty bread. Another suggestion is tossing the sauce with pasta as a side dish to serve with roast beef.
The roast beef
- 1 Beef tenderloin - about 900g/1 Lb Filet mignon - the whole center-cut trimmed
- Oil - olive oil or any vegetable oil
- Brown sugar - optional for a sweet flavour
- 1/2 cup Sour cream - 1/2 cup is about 120g or nonfat plain Greek yogurt
- 75-100 g Blue cheese - Roquefort, coarsely chopped, at room temperature
- ½ tsp Garlic - powder
- 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon Chives - finely chopped fresh
- Black pepper - freshly ground
- Chives - finely chopped fresh for serving
The roast beef
- Bring tenderloin to room temperature. (*)
- Make sure to trim any connective tissue or large pieces of fat from the edges of your steaks—it should pull off easily, but you can use a sharp knife.
- Mix all flavourings with oil to make a paste—it allows for more even distribution and ensures your beef gets seasoned all the way around.
- Pour oil mixture over tenderloin and spread with a spoon or brush until all surfaces are coated. Remember the bottom.
- If desired, a sweet flavour, sprinkle brown sugar.
- Pre-heat oven to 260°C/500°F
- Reserve, while it is absorbing the seasonings, prepare the sauce.
- Then, reduce oven to 175-190°C/350-375°F and cook until the desired doneness (**) flipping halfway through cooking.
- Use temperature as your precise guide for doneness and remove the roast from the oven when it is 5 degrees below the final temperature. (**)
- You can adjust cooking times to your preferred doneness.
- Insert the meat thermometer into the center of the roast. Aim for the thickest part of the roast. Check thermometer for temperature. For rare pull at 120°F/50°C, for a medium-rare pull at 130°F/55°C and a medium pull at 140°F/60°C. (**)
- Cooking time depends on how thick and cold it is, plus how done you prefer your tenderloin.
- It is the safest way to know that the tenderloin is cooked to your desired.
- While roasting, make the blue cheese sauce. Combine sauce ingredients in a medium bowl and season.
- Remove it from the oven, and let it rest for about 30 minutes before slicing. Rest your meat is one of the most important steps in cooking red meat. (***)
- Garnish with finely chopped chives.
- Top with walnuts.
**Meat temperatureIn my opinion, Beef tenderloin (or filet mignon) is best when it is fully medium-rare to rare from edge to center. The meat stays more tender and flavourful this way. If you prefer not to see any pink, you can roast longer! But remember, go beyond medium-rare at all, and you are just drying it out. Tip: make sure you are inserting your thermometer far enough to hit the centre of the roast for an accurate reading. The temperature of the meat will continue to rise a bit as it rests as well. A quick temperature guide for cooking red meat.
|Steak doneness||Internal temperature (subtract 4-5 F (2-3 C) from a target temperature to calculate your pull temperature)||Center Colour and touch|
|Rare||120-130 F (50-55 C)||Cool red center (Seared on the outside showing bright red colour center. Center is slightly cool, soft to the touch, much like the raw meat)|
|Medium Rare||130-140 F (55-60 C)||Warm red center (Seared on the outside with the center showing a red colour, slightly firmer than rare, firm surface should give a bit toward the middle (it will spring back quickly))|
|Medium||140-150 F (60-65 C)||Warm pink center (Firm to the touch with a light pink center)|
|Medium Well||150-160 F (65-70 C)||Slightly pink center (a hint of pink in the very middle, very stiff but still have a little squishy in the center)|
|Well Done||160-170 F (70-77 C)||No pink, firmer meat (there is not the faintest hint of pink in the middle. It should be browned through, not burnt through, and solid to the touch)|
***Slicing itI know it is tempting to dig right in when your roast comes out of the oven. Resist! It's always best to rest the roast beef after cooking for the juices to redistribute into the meat. Place the roast beef on a cutting board and cover with a foil, so not too much heat is lost. Let it rest for about 30 minutes. A good guideline to follow is to rest 5 minutes for every inch of thickness. If you cut it right away, all those flavorful juices will end up on the cutting board, and your meat will be dry and sad. When it is time, make sure to use your sharpest carving knife or chef’s knife to get nice thin slices.
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