Beef Tenderloin Two Ways

Published in Gourmet Live 12.21.11
Sophisticated tastes: rosemary and pancetta or porcini and truffles

If roast beef is the traditional centerpiece of your holiday dinner table, consider the tenderloin. In sheer stature, it can’t compare to the bone-studded behemoth of a standing rib roast, but pound for pound of solid meat, the tenderloin is much less expensive. And the big-box stores have brought the price down even further.

Ever notice the sizable section of fat that runs through a standing rib? It’s significant enough to make you use your knife and fork to surgically separate it from the rest of the meat. The tenderloin, on the other hand, distributes its fat in even marbling, so that there won’t be any wasted bits to scrape from the plates after dinner.

Better yet, it’s so easy to carve, even the most knife-challenged among your family members won’t embarrass themselves the way they are likely to do with a standing rib.

The tenderloin gets flack for lack of the deep beefy essence you find in other cuts of beef, but that’s easily solved by serving it with flavorful sauces. In the spirit of giving, we offer you not one but two choices. If you’re in the mood for a suave and urbane take on the classic combination of beef and mushrooms, go with the Porcini-Crusted Beef Tenderloin with Truffle Butter Sauce. If rustic Italian is more your style, then opt for the Rosemary-Crumb Tenderloin with Pancetta-Roasted Tomatoes. Either will get raves from your guests, and require minimal attention. Even the cook’s entitled to a little time off before dinner.

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