This impressive recipe features a perfectly cooked Chairman’s Reserve® beef tenderloin crusted in coarsely ground black peppercorns and paired with a cherry and port wine sauce. While you can cut a tenderloin into steaks, I love leaving it whole for this recipe. The roast recipe makes a great special occasion meal and is wonderful for entertaining. Also, the contrast of tart cherries with sweet port wine pairs perfectly with the tender meat.
It’s so important to source the highest quality of meat available! This makes a huge difference in the flavor and texture. Chairman’s Reserve® Meats is the top tier of USDA Choice grade beef and always a great choice! The tenderloin of the cow is located just below the sirloin. This cut is prized for the soft, “melt in your mouth” texture and flavor.
Because it is a lean cut of meat, if it is not prepared and properly cooked it can become dry. Beef tenderloin has a thick layer or white, silvery connective tissue (sometimes referred to as silver skin) on the outside of the meat that needs to be trimmed because it can be difficult to cut through. While tenderloin is extremely tender, it can be bland if not seasoned properly. I generously season the meat with coarse kosher salt and aromatic freshly ground black pepper.
It’s important to take the beef tenderloin out of the refrigerator about an hour prior to cooking. Since this is a lean cut of meat, it’s important that it cooks quickly and evenly to prevent overcooking.
Rather than using pre-ground peppercorns, instead course grind the peppercorns just before the tenderloin is coated. Freshly ground pepper has less time to react with oxygen so it maintains the best peppery flavor. If you don’t have a pepper mill to coarsely grind the peppercorns, you can crack them by placing them on a cutting board and placing a large skillet or baking sheet over the top, pressing down until they crack.
Tart cherries are simmered with the sweet port creating a perfect contrast to the pepper crusted beef. I use frozen cherries in this recipe because they can easily be found year round, rather than relying on the season which only runs from late April through the end of July. They are also already pitted.
Port is a sweet, red fortified wine from Portugal. It has a higher alcohol content than red wine and is often served as a dessert wine in smaller portions. The sweet notes and nutty flavor the wine gets from aging in barrels complements the cherries in this sauce.
Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the olive oil and heat through. Add the butter and allow to melt. Add the shallots and sauté until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the port, cherries, balsamic vinegar and sugar to the pot.
Bring the mixture to a boil then lower heat to medium-low and simmer until the sauce has reduced by half, about 15 minutes. Use the sauce immediately or store refrigerated in an airtight container until ready to use for up to 3 days in advance.
Rub the tenderloin all over with the salt and pepper. Heat oven to 550ºF (288ºC). Heat a large roasting pan in the oven, add olive oil so it is almost smoking and sear the tenderloin in the pan, about five minutes on each side.
Lower the oven to 350ºF (180ºC) and roast for 20 minutes, until the internal temperature of the tenderloin is 125ºF (52ºC).
Remove the tenderloin from the oven and place it on a rack to cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing. (Do not let it cool in the pan. Since the pan is still hot, it will continue to cook the meat).
Use a sharp knife to slice the tenderloin into 1/2-inch slices and serve at room temperature topped with the cherry sauce.
If your beef tenderloin is frozen I recommend thawing it in the refrigerator 48 hours before you plan to cook it. This is the best way to get it to thaw evenly and thoroughly.
While not all roasts need to be tied, I recommend tying larger tenderloins like this one. Tying up a tenderloin with cooking twine (also called butcher’s twine or string) helps to keep the beef in a uniform shape. This is important so it cooks evenly.
Store the leftovers wrapped in plastic wrap in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
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