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2000s Recipes + Menus

Beef Tenderloin with Smoked-Paprika Mayonnaise

Serves8 to 12
  • Active time:25 min
  • Start to finish:1 1/4 hr
July 2008
Lovers of beef and chorizo can have their steak and eat it, too: Here, a garlic, cumin, and smoked-paprika rub on rare roast beef has the alluring smoky meatiness you’ve always associated with the richly flavored sausage. The same seasonings, plus some drippings from the meat, transform ordinary store-bought mayonnaise into a simply spectacular accompaniment.

Learn the story behind this dish in our column, The Recipe.

For beef

  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 (3 1/2- to 4-lb) trimmed beef tenderloin roast, tied

For mayonnaise

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons meat juices from beef, or to taste

Roast tenderloin:

  • Preheat oven to 500°F with rack in middle.
  • Mince and mash garlic to a paste with 1 1/4 teaspoon salt. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in paprika, cumin, oil, and 1 teaspoon pepper.
  • Pat tenderloin dry, then rub garlic mixture all over it. Roast in a roasting pan until an instant-read thermometer inserted diagonally 2 inches into center of meat registers 120°F, 25 to 35 minutes for medium-rare.
  • Transfer to a platter along with any pan juices and cool, loosely covered with foil, 30 minutes to 1 hour. (Internal temperature will rise to about 130°F as it rests.)

Make mayonnaise:

  • Stir together mayonnaise, paprika, cumin, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Stir in meat juices and salt to taste.

To serve:

  • Cut meat into thick slices. Serve warm or at room temperature, with smoked-paprika mayonnaise.
Cooks’ note: Smoked-paprika mayonnaise keeps, chilled, 2 weeks.