Seared Beef Tenderloin with Spiced Guinness Reduction

Printemps 2008
food and drink

BY: Julia Aitken

The mild licorice kick of star anise goes well with the richness of the stout in this posh twist on Irish beef and Guinness stew, while redcurrant jelly tempers its sharp hoppiness.

8 oz (250 g) pearl onions
1 tbsp (15 mL) finely chopped thyme leaves
1 tsp (5 mL) olive oil
½ tsp (2 mL) minced garlic
4 pieces beef tenderloin (4 to 6 oz/125 to 175 g each)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp (25 mL) butter
1 tsp (5 mL) packed brown sugar
½ cup (125 mL) Guinness
2 whole star anise
4-inch (10-cm) strip orange rind
1 cup (250 mL) beef stock
1½ cups (375 mL) baby carrots (about 6 oz/175 g)
¼ cup (50 mL) whipping cream
2 tbsp (25 mL) redcurrant jelly

1. Cook onions for about 6 minutes in a small saucepan of boiling water until just tender. Drain well. When cool enough to handle, trim off stem and root ends and remove skins set aside.

2. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).

3. Stir together 1 tsp (5 mL) thyme, the oil and garlic in a small bowl; rub evenly over both sides of beef. Sprinkle beef on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat a medium ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef; cook for 1 to 2 minutes on each side until browned. Transfer skillet to oven; cook for 5 to 7 minutes for medium-rare. Remove beef to a plate; keep warm, loosely tented with foil.

4. Heat butter in same skillet over medium heat. Add reserved onions and sugar; cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes, until onions are golden and starting to caramelize. Stir in Guinness, star anise and orange rind; bring to a boil, stirring to scrape up any browned bits from bottom of skillet. Boil for 2 to 3 minutes until liquid is reduced by about half. Add stock; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium; boil for 3 to 5 minutes, until liquid is reduced by about half.

5. Meanwhile, steam carrots over a saucepan of boiling water for 6 to 8 minutes until just tender.

6. Discard star anise and orange rind from sauce; stir in carrots and cream; simmer for 1 to 2 minutes until sauce is slightly thickened. Remove skillet from the heat. Add redcurrant jelly and remaining thyme, stirring until jelly has dissolved. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide beef among 4 dinner plates; spoon sauce overtop, dividing onions and carrots evenly. Serve with Roasted Garlic Champ (recipe follows).

Serves 4

Roasted Garlic Champ

1 whole head garlic
1 tsp (5 mL) olive oil
2 lbs (1 kg) Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch (5-cm) chunks
¼ tsp (1 mL) salt
¾ cup (175 mL) whipping cream
2 tbsp (25 mL) butter
½ tsp (2 mL) freshly ground pepper
¼ cup (50 mL) snipped fresh chives

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).

2. Discard any loose papery skin from head of garlic; slice off top to expose cloves. Put garlic on a piece of foil; drizzle olive oil overtop. Wrap in foil to enclose completely. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes until garlic is very tender. Set aside until cool enough to handle. Unwrap garlic; squeeze cloves out of skins into a small bowl.

3. Combine potatoes and salt with enough cold water to cover them in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, covered, for 25 to 30 minutes until potatoes are very tender.

4. Drain well; return potatoes to saucepan. Shake saucepan over low heat for a few seconds to dry potatoes.

5. Meanwhile, in a 2 cup (500 mL) microwave-safe measuring cup, heat cream and butter in microwave on high (100%) for 1 to 2 minutes until steaming. Add cream mixture, garlic and pepper to potatoes; mash roughly with a fork. With a hand-held electric mixer, beat potatoes until smooth (do not overbeat or potatoes will become gluey). Stir in chives. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pile into a warm serving dish; serve at once.

Serves 4