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Tender, Tender Is The Loin February 12, 2009

Posted by Toy Lady in Cooking, Food, Home, random stuff.
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Uh, yeah.  That’s been stuck in my head since we decided to use some of the tenderloin we stashed in the freezer.  😳

A few weeks ago, while reading the paper over our Sunday morning coffee, Peeps showed me the Palmer Foods ad.  Palmer was running 5-pound packages of beef tenderloin “tips” for less than $5 a pound.   😯

Seriously.  Have you priced beef tenderloin lately?  While this is not filet mignon, what it is is essentially scraps of it.   yummy.gif And at about half the price of filets?  Heck yeah!  We were all over that!  And since, at the time, there were two of us (this was prior to the Return of Surly Boy), I was able to get away with freezing the 5 pounds of tips in 6 packages – making nearly an economical tenderloin dinner for two.  😉

Surly Boy was going to have dinner with friends, so, well, it’s just the two of us for beef tips.  😀

His loss.  😆

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There are so many things we can do with a lovely, tender cut of beef, to be sure.  We decided, this time, anyway, to turn to the America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook for a pan sauce.

For what it’s worth, this is an excellent cookbook.  We actually bought a second copy for Surly Boy for Christmas – while my mother got him a copy of The Joy of Cooking.  Hey, a kid’s gotta start somewhere, you know?  😉

So we treat our tips just like we would a steak or as we treated our chunks of beef for the Boeuf à la Bourguignonne – we pat them dry, then lightly season them with salt and pepper.

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In case you’re wondering about the towel.  That’s my special “meat towel.”  Hey.  You can have a dust cloth.  A dish towel.  Why not a dedicated meat towel?  It’s white and bleached every time it’s used.  And since I don’t use it for anything but fussing with meat, when it’s not in use, it gets shoved in a kitchen drawer.  Where I don’t have to look at the blood stains.  😯

While I’m patting the meat (and I don’t mean that in a dirty way), Peeps is assembling the ingredients for a quick pan sauce.  You know, getting the mis en place and all. . .

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It’s pretty basic –

  • a diced shallot
  • 1½ cups chicken broth
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire
  • ½ teaspoon dijon mustard – we make our own, but that’s a different story
  • 3 Tablespoons chilled butter  It’s a French thing, I think – finishing sauces with chunks of chilled butter. 🙄
  • a small pile of minced parsley

See?  Simple.  😀

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While we’re measuring the sauce ingredients, we’re also searing the beef in a lightly oiled stainless skillet.  Get a lightly oiled skillet hot – not quite “rippin’ hot” but hot enough.  Place the beef tips in the pan and brown them on each side.

As we know, patience is key here.  An extra half minute may mean the difference between a nicely browned, crusty exterior and a gray, lame exterior.

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When browned on all sides, remove the meat to a plate and tent with foil while we build the sauce.

Meanwhile, we add a bit more oil to the saute pan, heat, then add the diced shallots.

Let them cook until softened, just a couple of minutes.

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At this point, I opted to use a silicone spatula to stir and scrape.  I think a wooden spoon/spatula is what’s usually used, but silicone is so much easier to maintain, isn’t it?  And besides, it’s silicone – it’s not just for boobies anymore.  😆

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Now that the shallots are soft, we’re going to deglaze with a cup and a half of low-sodium chicken broth. While we do have our wonderful homemade chicken stock, it just seems like a waste to use it for something like this – something that’s going to have so many other  fabulous flavors going on –  that we opted to use the canned stuff – low sodium, of course.

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We reduced the shallot mixture by about a third, then we added the worcestershire and mustard, along with the accumulated beef juices on the  tented plate.

Yes, those juices might look a little red, but remember a couple of things – first off, this is beef tenderloin here – rarer is better.  And second, we’re not done cooking yet.

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Once we get the stuff added, we’ll bring the sauce up to nearly a boil, then reduce the heat to low and whisk in the butter – the butter that’s been sitting in the fridge being chilled – one Tablespoon at a time.

I say.  This is almost starting to look like a sauce, isn’t it?  😯

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Either the sauce will reach the consistence we want, or we’ll run out of butter to whisk in.  Whichever happens first, that’s when we stick the really rare beef chunks back in the pan to heat back up and finish cooking.  But mostly just to heat back up.  😉

Once the sauce was done, we opted to serve it over rice.  We had played with the idea of angel hair pasta, or even noodles, but honestly?  I’m kinda loving the rice cooker.  We can shove the rice and water in it and just forget about it.  And once The Machine switches over to “warm” – well, that’s when I started the rest of the meal.  Talk about mindless.  Who needs that stirring and watching and keeping track or pasta, when the rice practically cooks itself?  🙄

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While this may look like your basic, um,  “crap-on-a-shingle” – trust me, it’s real food.  😆

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Incredibly tender, perfectly cooked beef tenderloin in an intense, richly flavored quick pan sauce, soaked into rice.

Remember, these “tips” were small cuts of meat that only take a couple of minutes to reach medium-rare, and the extra few minutes of resting gave the meat the chance to become beautifully cooked.

Except, NUTS!

I forgot the parsley!  😯

And it would have added a freshness that just finishes the dish!  😉

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Comments

1. Ribbon - February 12, 2009

Hi I was blog hopping and have landed here 🙂

I’m compelled to mention that seeing photos of raw meat and generally the meat photos in your post kinda freaked me out!

No I’m not a vegetarian, but somehow those shots just don’t look appealing 😦

No offense intended……… best wishes and I’ll call back again

2. Toy Lady - February 13, 2009

Hi, Ribbon, and welcome. 😀

I guess I’ve never thought as “meat” as being gross – between having grown up on a farm and spending so many years in various kitchens, I just see meat as, essentially, just another ingredient – as much a part of prep as, well, chopping onions! 😉

However, I do thank you for mentioning this – I will definitely keep it in mind.

Thanks for visiting, and please do stop again!


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