Saturday, December 28, 2013

Foodie Friday | Chateaubriand with Port and Red Wine Sauce | The Perfect Festive Meal for Your New Year's Eve Fête

We made it! My goal of getting through Christmas without having this baby has been achieved, and I am so grateful. Just a few more days and we will also cross the finish line to having this baby in the New Year! I may have no control over these goals, but it still warms my heart to be getting closer to achieving them! I'll say it again - I'm grateful.

One of the reasons I'm grateful is that I was able to make this special Christmas dinner for my family again this year. Food really is a love language, especially to my sweet 10-year-old boy. Noah looks forward with genuine anticipation to the decadence of this very special meal every Christmas.

I say decadence because beef tenderloin is the most expensive cut of beef you can buy, which is why we save this for very special occasions. But it is so worth the wait. Like melt-in-your-mouth, make you moan kind of worth the wait.

I'm going to share the sides with you as well, because it makes for such a nicely rounded plate. This year I made Roasted Root Vegetables with Bacon and Thyme as well as our classic Cauliflower Purée and the overall meal was fantastic. But let's start with the pièce de résistance.


3 inches of beef tenderloin per person
olive oil
salt + pepper

I recommend making the vegetables and the sauce first and leaving the beef until right at the end of your cooking time as it really doesn't take long and you do not want to overcook it. Order of operations and timing make this meal so much better! For me I start with the veggies, move to the sauce and make the beef at the very last.  The beef really is the easiest part of this meal, and here's how you make it:

Preheat the oven to 450˚F. Add 1-2 Tbsp of olive oil to an oven-safe pan. Season the beef tenderloin with salt {I use Maldon} and lots of freshly cracked pepper. Heat the oil on the stove top until it is rippling but not smoking and then brown the meat quickly on all sides. Place a meat thermometer in the centre of your cut of beef tenderloin and transfer into the oven. The amount of time required will depend on the size of your cut of beef, but for a nice medium-rare you will not want to cook it past 135˚F. Remove from the oven and pull out the meat thermometer. Place on a platter and tent with tinfoil for at least 10 minutes.

Once all of your sides and sauce are finished and you are ready to plate, remove the tinfoil and slice into 1/2" pieces. I usually aim for 3 thick slices per plate and often leave the end pieces as "leftovers" as they are not as tender. Or should I say, the end pieces are the "extras." There are rarely leftovers with this meal...I mean, who am I kidding?


1 Tbsp olive oil
6 cloves garlic, chopped
6 shallots, chopped
salt and pepper
1 sprig of fresh rosemary, removed from stem and chopped
1 sprig of fresh thyme, removed from stem
3 cups good Port
3 cups dry red wine {I used Bonterra's Cabernet Sauvignon}
2 cups organic beef broth
2 cups sliced Shiitake mushrooms, washed and sliced
Knob of butter
1/3 package bacon
1 Tbsp butter at room temperature
1 Tbsp Cup4Cup flour

The instructions for this portion of the meal really cross over into the making of the Roasted Root Vegetables as well as I cook the whole package of bacon together in a 350˚F oven for 10-14 minutes until browned but not crispy. Remove the fat and drain the bacon on some paper towel. Once the fat has drained off, chop the bacon roughly into 1/2" pieces and set aside.

In a large pan, heat the olive oil and add the garlic and shallots, sautéing over med-high heat until translucent. add a generous pinch of salt, cracked pepper and the fresh herbs, port, red wine and beef broth. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes or until the liquid has reduced by at least half. Strain out the garlic, shallots and herbs and return to a saucepan.

Once the beef has gone into the oven, heat a small sauté pan and add the washed and sliced Shiitake mushrooms, cooking until the edges are golden and caramelized. Add the shiitake mushrooms and 1/3 of the cooked and chopped package of bacon to the reduced sauce and bring back to a boil. When the beef comes out of the oven, mash together the 1 Tbsp of butter with 1 Tbsp of Cup4Cup flour until they are well combined and add to the simmering sauce to thicken. Turn off the heat under the sauce once it has thickened and cover to keep warm.

OK, up next one of my favourite new twists on a classic. A friend was telling me about her early Christmas dinner menu for her family gathering and roasted root veggies were on her list. It inspired me to reinvent them a bit for this meal - nothing extraordinary, just a different twist on what I've done in the past - and I really love the results. I honestly feel like I could eat this side dish as my main meal for lunch every other day through the winter months and be totally satisfied. So yummy. So comforting.


6 small beets or 4 large beets
1 bulb of fennel
1 large parsnip
4 large carrots
2/3 package bacon, cooked and roughly chopped into 1/2" pieces
6 sprigs of fresh thyme, removed from stem
olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
salt and pepper

Texture is very important to me with food. I don't like having one part of the dish undercooked in comparison to the rest, so I start this side dish by roasting the beets on their own {skins on} in a 375˚F oven for 30 minutes. Pull them out and let them cool and then peel and chop them. Meanwhile, peel, prep and chop up the fennel, parsnip and carrots. In a large sauté pan, heat 1-2 Tbsp olive oil and add the garlic, fresh thyme, fennel, parsnip and carrots as well as a generous pinch of salt and freshly cracked pepper.

{Side note: remember that game you used to play as a kid with grass that had gone to seed? You'd ask a friend "tree or bush?" and your friend would guess which one it would become before you ran your fingers up the stem to gather the seedy fronds on the end? Well that's the easiest way to get the thyme off the stem as well.}

Cook the veggies quickly on a high heat until the edges start to brown slightly. Remove from heat and add chopped beets and the remaining 2/3 of the package of bacon. Spread out on a baking sheet and return to the oven at 350˚F for another 30 minutes until the veggies are caramelized and gorgeous and the bacon has crisped up. Finish with another generous pinch of good sea salt like Maldon.

As a side note, I throw the veggies back into the oven right at the end after the beef comes out, but with the oven turned off. This warms them back up again right before serving without overcooking them and makes the most of my little waltz of counter and oven space in the kitchen.

Next up, plating! Once the beef has been sliced you want to move quickly, starting with the cauliflower purée.

Add the succulent and tender Chateaubriand on top of the cauliflower purée {or on the side if you're a "no touchy" kind of foodie} and top with the gorgeous port and red wine sauce. Finish the plate with the roasted root veggies and some sprigs of fresh thyme for garnish and ENJOY!!!

This really does make an incredible meal for New Year's Eve, perfect savoured with good friends, good wine {Chateauneuf du Pape is amazing with this dish} lots of laughter and thoughts of all the treasures that the next 365 days might hold. I don't know about you, but I'm feeling quite excited for 2014!

Wishing you all a warm and happy weekend with the ones you love.



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