When it comes right down to it, are diamonds really a girl’s best friend? There is no arguing the precious stones are stunning, sophisticated and sparkling. My heart skipped a few beats wearing this pair of red carpet-worthy, yellow and white diamond chandelier earrings from Carranza Jewelers in San Antonio. Even though I basked in the flattery and feel-good that came from having some big bling as my new buddy, I knew I wasn’t building a long-lasting relationship here. After all, were these earrings really going to clear their schedule to listen to my trivial problems, wake up early to cheer me on at a race, or provide me a brutally-honest reality check when I’m getting too self-absorbed? I think not. So while we eventually parted ways (the earrings and me), I offered the invitation that we could hang out every now and then!
Obviously real people make the best friends, but when it comes to taking care of yourself, making good food choices and exercising will never let you down. In fact, these two lifestyle factors will help you stay fit and fabulous for decades to come. Recently, I was at a Circle of Red event for the American Heart Association (in the previously-mentioned earrings) to talk about the benefits of beef and how to incorporate them into a healthy holiday. For the last couple of decades, beef has been an important friend that looks out for my well-being — it keeps me strong for running and working out, has been a go-to protein source for feeding those three hungry boys of mine, and is so versatile it can be served everywhere from a backyard cookout to a black-tie affair.
Preparing a beef roast for your winter-season celebration is a showy and yet simple way to treat yourself, family and friends — plus, most of the popular cuts (like sirloin roasts and tenderloin) are considered “lean” meaning they have less than 10 grams of fat per cooked 3-oz serving. I’m a huge fan of tenderloin and preparing the biggest one we can find has been a family tradition for as long as I can remember. This nutrient-dense cut is hands-down the most tender (duh, hence the name), comes in at 6.7 grams of fat per serving and is rich in a host of vitamins and minerals including iron (which I’ve been told I need more).
I am going to give you the straight-forward, skinny on how to make a super delicious, super easy tenderloin roast that will make you everyone’s new BFF. Aside from an oven-failure or act of God, there is no way this roast can be messed up.
How to Roast Beef Tenderloin
Step 1: Go to butcher counter and ask for a beef tenderloin roast (also called filet); the size depends on your appetite. What you see in the photo is just a little over 3 lbs. but you can get them up to 5 lbs. or even a little more if lots of company is coming. Plan on getting 2 – 3 servings per pound, less for holiday helpings.
Step 2: Prepare a dry rub to coat and season the roast. You can use a store-bought rub or make your own – I have an easy recipe for Countdown Spice Rub that has a nice sweet-spicy-smoky flavor or you can also use 1 part Cavender’s Greek Seasoning to 1 part coarsely ground black pepper. Thoroughly pat on rub, thickly covering every part of the roast. It might seem like you’re using a lot, but you need to create a good crust that will lock in juices — approximately 1/3 cup of a rub covers a 3 lb. roast.
Step 3: Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Place roast (fat side up, if any fat is visible) into a shallow, rimmed roasting pan (approximate 2” rim). You can use a rack if desired, but it is really not necessary for tenderloin because it is so lean. Sometimes I will just scrunch up a couple pieces of foil into a “rope” and place under the tenderloin as a throw-away “rack.”
Step 4: Place tenderloin in middle rack of the 350 F degree oven. Do not cover with a lid or foil. Roast for 15 – 20 minutes per pound; that would be 45 – 60 minutes for a 3 lb. tenderloin. I prefer to err on the short time estimation because I can always cook beef more, but I can’t “uncook” overdone meat.
Step 5 : Insert thermometer into the center of the thickest part of the tenderloin. Tenderloin is ready when thermometer reaches 135 F degrees. As it rests on the counter, the internal temperature should rise to 140 – 145 degrees, making it “medium-rare” which is what I would consider optimal for taste and texture.
Step 6: Tent roasting pan with foil and let roast rest on the counter for 15 minutes – this is essential, don’t skip this step! The resting period gives the roast adequate time to seal in the juices that ensure tenderness. Cutting into a steak and having a pool of juice pour makes for a chewy experience – so be patient.
Step 7: Carve meat against the grain using a sharp knife. The thickness of each slice depends on your preference and recipe. Slice into 2” thick filet steaks, 1/2” slices or even paper thin for leftover sandwiches!
Use leftovers (that is, if you have any!) to make a yummy steak salad, steak pizza or steak sandwich. Last night’s dinner was a Tenderloin Panini with Mascarpone and Truffle Pesto – it’s really not as much of a recipe as it is a creation, but I’ve tried to list out the details for you below:
Tenderloin Panini with Mascarpone and Truffle Pesto Recipe
- 2 slices sourdough bread
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon mascarpone cheese
- 1 tablespoon truffle pesto (or substitute preferred pesto)
- 2 – 3 ounces of tenderloin, sliced very thin
- Handful of baby spinach
Heat skillet to medium-high. Brush outsides of bread with olive oil. Spread mascarpone on inside of one slice and pesto on inside of remaining slice. Add beef and spinach between bread. Pan grill for 2 – 3 minutes on each side or until bread is golden brown and toasty.
The roasting techniques I have described for a tenderloin are very similar other roasts, including sirloin roasts and rib roasts. I think Cooking Light magazine does a really great job of explaining how to cook a large bone-in roast like a standing rib roast — plus, some good recipes found here too including this Rosemary Dijon Crusted Standing Rib Roast.