WHOLE BEEF TENDERLOIN WITH GREEN PEPPERCORN SAUCE
The Fall River: I have been fortunate to have cooked this great dish in wonderful places for wonderful people. The first time I cooked this dish (for a discriminating group) I was on the Fall River outside of Burney, CA. If the day is clear and you hold your head just right you can see 2 great volcanoes from the deck, Mt. Shasta to the West and Mt. Lassen to the East. We were at a wonderful guest/fishing ranch called the Circle 7. I was new to this group and was being “interviewed” as a regular invitee if I could cook good stuff and reasonably cast a dry fly. Well I guess I passed the first test. This was a dish I cooked for a band of 6 hungry fishermen that wanted something quick and hearty. Besides if it took too long to cook there wouldn’t be any wine left for me.
Birthdays, Birthdays: Most recently I’ve had opportunity to cook this dish at a few special birthday bashes. First, Brook Lowe’s 80th birthday party, father of ace guide Bill Lowe. 13 adults and 6 children left no traces of the beef, salmon, bok choy and jasmine rice. The flourless chocolate cake bites somehow disappeared as well. Miles Minno safely turned 23 with a couple filets on his plate, garlic mashed and some crispy green beans. To both a very happy birthday!
It’s all in the sauce: I originally found this recipe in a Cordon Bleu home sauces cookbook. It’s very simple and can be made with only 4 or 5 ingredients. I have tweaked it a bit from the original to bring out more of the robust beef flavor. The heavy cream smoothes the edges, as the brandy adds a bit of smoky flavor. It pairs perfectly with a whole tenderloin or individual beef filet. The little green peppercorns hideout nicely into the sauce until bitten, then a nice little burst of heat shows up. I like mashed potatoes on the plate to soak up the excess, with a nice dark green vegetable.
- 3 Tablespoons of drained green peppercorns
- ½ cup brandy
- 2 cups beef stock
- 1 Tablespoon veal or beef demi glace
- ½ cup heavy cream
Place the drained peppercorns in a small heavy bottomed saucepan. Heat the peppercorns on low drying the peppercorns stirring with a wooden spoon. While drying the peppercorns (for a minute or two) smash a few in the pan so a little of the heat is released into the sauce. Pour the brandy in the pan and evaporate until all but a few Tablespoons remain. Add the beef stock and demi glace and simmer to reduce the stock by 1/3. Add the heavy cream and simmer until sauce coats the back of a spoon. Keep warm and set aside.
WHOLE BEEF TENDERLOIN
- 1 whole beef tenderloin, 4-5 pounds cleaned of excess fat and silver lining.
- ¼ cup EVOO
- 3 Tablespoons Kosher salt
- 3 Tablespoons coarse black pepper
Massage the tenderloin with oil on all sides making sure the surface is well coated. Cover evenly with the salt and pepper. Be sure the tenderloin is at room temperature before grilling. Grill on med to med-hi for 20-25 minutes for medium rare. The thin end of the tenderloin may be medium while the thick end may be rare.
Tips: This sauce is great on individual steaks. Pan seared/ hot roasted filet mignon is wonderful covered in this sauce. Or, throw one on the grill. Tenderloin is revered for texture and has very little fat so careful not to overcook. I shoot for medium rare or rare. If you start with meat at room temperature the middle is already done. Well almost but you get the picture. Throw a spoonful of creamed horseradish in your potatoes for a little extra kick.
If you want to connect with a great fly shop in the Sacramento area, contact Fly Fishing Specialties. They will be glad to help you with local reports, guides and gear. For a great fishing experience on one of our local rivers, contact Bill Lowe at Bill Lowe. Tight Lines!