Holiday Beef Tenderloin with Latin Rub and the Secret to Extra Crispy Roasted Potatoes

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Rare beef tenderloin
Just the mention of beef tenderloin in my recent column brought about requests for roasting. I can understand that, since choice tenderloin is expensive but so appropriate for the holidays and easy to roast. Plus it can be made ahead.
If you’re serving this as part of a buffet, roasted asparagus sprinkled with Parmesan right when it comes out of the oven is a nice veggie, since it tastes good at room temperature, too. Add some crispy roasted potatoes (see my tip) and you’ve got a feast.
Depending upon how much tenderloin you buy, you may have some rub left.
The USDA recommends 10 minutes per pound to cook beef tenderloin.
1/4 cup cumin
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons ground coriander
2-3 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 to 3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3-5 # tenderloin (for every person, count on about 6 oz. raw weight).
1/2 cup dry red wine mixed with 1/2 cup beef broth.
Bring meat to room temperature 30 minutes or so prior to roasting.
Preheat oven to 400-425.
Rub meat all over with olive oil. Then sprinkle lightly but nicely with rub, patting the rub in as needed.
Place in sprayed roasting pan, pour red wine mixture in the bottom of the pan, and roast until thickest part registers about 125-135 for rare to medium-rare, or 140-150 for medium. Check every once in a while since you don’t want to over cook or meat will be dry. Know that the slimmer end will roast to a higher temperature, so if you have folks who like their meat more done, you’re good to go.
And remember, there’s carryover cooking which means when you remove the meat from the oven, the internal temperature continues to rise a few more degrees.
Cover loosely with foil and let stand 10-20 minutes before carving. That way, the meat “relaxes”, and juices collected in the center will redistribute throughout meat, making for a moist roast.
Serve with pan juices if desired. Equally delicious at room temperature or chilled.
Tip:Tenderloin is just as yummy with a pre-made rub. Check out my site for ideas.
I taught a holiday class at Spicy Olive, and Melanie Cedargren, proprietor, rubbed the tenderloin with Tuscan olive oil and seasoned it with her steak blend.
Even a plain quality olive oil with a good salt and freshly ground pepper is excellent, too.
Crispy roasted potatoes: baking soda is the secret
Cut potatoes as you like, then boil with baking soda BEFORE roasting. The baking soda, being alkaline, breaks down potatoes’ surfaces, making them starchy on the outside. That translates into crisp outsides with creamier centers after roasting.
Add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda to every 2 quarts salted water. Bring to a boil, add potatoes and cook about 10 minutes after returning to boil. Drain, let rest in pot to dry a bit, then roast as usual, with olive oil, etc. Check outseriouseats.comsite for a good tutorial on this method.
Nutmeg – why is it so hard to grate?
It’s probably still in the dark brown shell. Shake the nutmeg – if it rattles, you need to crack the shell off.
Fresh nutmeg is stronger than ground so use about 3/4 as much fresh as dried.
IMG_0949See the outer dark shell? You have to remove that before grating.

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