Friday, April 1, 2011

Texas Tenderloin

Well, not to get all personal and sentimental with you people but Monday, March 28 marked Mr. Max and my three year anniversary. With our busy spring work schedules, we observed the special occasion in full over the weekend but then of course, I had to come up with something to cook him on the actual day. We decided to recreate the Texas Surf and Turf meal from our Texas Tastes cooking class, but only the turf part of it - beef tenderloin filets topped with grilled tomatillo, grilled jalapeno and pepper jack cheese. I know what you are thinking, that's a lot of spice. I thought the same thing in cooking school but surprised to find out otherwise. Though I'm a Texan, I don't have a big tolerance for spicy things, contrary to my queso blanco post. My little Wisconsinite has a much higher tolerance than I do when it comes to hot 'n spicy and puts me to shame. These peppers just helped to add incredible flavor, not so much hot flavor to the steaks once said and done. I highly recommend this as a change up for any kind of steak you may prepare and, "don't be scared by it" - a direct quote from self-proclaimed, picky-ish eater and not-much-of-a-spicy-spice lover, me.

First, I have to give the boy credit, he came walking in with some beautiful flowers.

Grocery List:
*coming soon

Start by pre-heating your oven to 400 degrees.

Look at this fun little guy, hello tomatillo! Slice it up into thin pieces, then cut that jalapeno in half, removing seeds.

Place them in a skillet with a little bit of oil and let them simmer and cook until softened and browning.

Take those out and set aside - season your meat with salt and pepper, then add the chunk of beef to the skillet with a little more oil and brown it on all sides.

Once browned, top the tenderloin with the "grilled" tomatillos slices, followed by the jalapenos.

And finally, we top with the pepper jack cheese. In cooking class, we each had individual fillets and this was a bit easier. Max Man wanted to prepare it like our NYE bacon wrapped tenderloins so instead of getting individual, he got a chunk of meat and we prepared it like so. This is 2 and 1/2 slices of cheese.
Also, at this point in the cooking class, we used a grill to cook it but we decided to pan sear and roast in the oven instead. Had we thought that through a little more, we wouldn't have added the cheese before it went in, instead we would have added it when there was about 5 minutes left to cook.
So now, the meat is in the oven for 25-30 minutes. You have a wine reduction demi-glace to prepare. I don't want to hear it, "eh, fancy blah, blah, blah" - this is easy peasy and you will surprise yourself with how simple you can create just a little bit of saucy elegance. This is a compilation of the madiera we made for the NYE dinner and a peppercorn wine reduction we created in the class. I forgot to add all of the grocery needs to my list when shopping so I had to work with what I had and it was a wonderful result!

Remember that skillet you used to brown the meat? - grab it. Add more oil and roast your onions. Sidenote: these were supposed to be shallots but I ruined them because the burner was too hot and I wasn't paying attention, so we emprovised with onions and it worked out beautifully. Once softened, pour in the madiera and red wine. Bring to a boil and then let simmer to reduce by about half.

Once it reduces, add the beef consumme or packet of demi-glace (either will work, I had demi-glace packet on hand). Stir well until it is all melted in. At this point, I wanted to thicken the sauce up just a little more so I added 1/2 tsp. of cornstarch.

For the heck of it, I also decided I didn't want the lumps in the sauce, so I drained it and discarded the onions and other chunks that didn't mix in, like some of the cornstarch. You know have a delicious wine reduction demi-glace! Set aside until ready to serve - I set mine in the microwave to keep warm until the beef was finished.

After about 25 minutes, take your beef out to test using our little "rule of thumb" that we've discussed - without cutting into it, find out how your meat is cooked by pressing on the fleshy part of your palm where your thumb sprouts out, with the following finger to thumb indications: tip of thumb to tip of pointer finger - rare; tip of thumb to tip of middle finger - medium; tip of thumb to tip of ring finger - medium well; tip of thumb to tip of pinky - well done. We thought ours felt a little too rare, so we put it back in for another 10 minutes, topping with the rest of the cheese since the cheese we had already places was a little melted off.

After 10 more minutes, it was perfect - medium, just the way we like it.

To serve, slice it up and top with the wine reduction demi-glace. Also served with roasted asparagus and cauliflower mashed potatoes.

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