Celebrating

My birthday was earlier this month. I had many friends and relatives ask me if I went out to dinner to take a night off cooking. Well, first, I love cooking and hate crowds, so why would I do that? Second, this is what I had:

That, my friends, is a beautiful little beef tenderloin roast that's been seared, sliced, and drizzled with a decadent port-cherry sauce. And I got to enjoy that while wearing slippers and a fire roared in the fireplace nearby and I didn't have to worry about the ridiculously expensive prices associated with a steak dinner at a fine restaurant. I think of it as a win-win-win-win-win … you get the idea.

Now, with our big celebrations of the season upon us, wouldn't it be nice to be able to do the same? Good news: this is a fairly simple recipe that's simply amazing at the table. As for what to have alongside it, everything from roasted veggies to creamy mashed potatoes to a crisp salad will be at home. And how wonderful is it to be at home when this is what's for dinner? It's definitely worth celebrating!

Beef Tenderloin with Port-Cherry Sauce

  • 1 lb. beef tenderloin (instead of a small piece of tenderloin, you could also use any number of tenderloin steaks)
  • 2 tsp. Penzeys Chicago steak seasoning
  • Additional black pepper, as desired
  • 1 c. tart red cherries (you can purchase fresh cherries and pit them or use a jar that's already been pitted)
  • 2/3 c. dried cherries
  • 1 T. cooking fat (I used bacon fat)
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch mixed with a little cold water
  • 1/3 c. ruby port

To make the beef, rub the tenderloin generously with the steak seasoning and, if desired, additional pepper. I like a good peppery steak, so I always add some. Let the meat rest while you begin making the sauce.

To make the sauce, combine the tart cherries and dried cherries in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a low simmer over medium-low heat. Stir the cherries often. If you do not have liquid to add with the cherries (using jarred cherries will provide you with liquid and some fresh cherries are quite juicy when pitted), add a small amount of cherry juice with them.

While the cherries are working their way toward a simmer, heat the cooking fat of your choice in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the seasoned tenderloin and sear on all sides, allowing the meat to cook for 5-7 minutes per turn. When entirely seared, remove the tenderloin to a cutting board and allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing. If you wish your beef to be more toward medium doneness, allow it to cook over medium-low heat, covered, for an additional 5-10 minutes, depending on desired doneness.

Once the sauce is lightly simmering, stir together the cornstarch and cold water and add it to the cherries. Stir well until thickened and then remove from the heat. Add the port and stir completely into the sauce. Serve the tenderloin on a platter with the sauce spooned over it.

  • Yields: 2-3 servings
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes

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