Porcini-Crusted Beef Tenderloin with Chestnut Stuffing is the perfect Christmas dinner. Dried porcini mushrooms ground into a powder dust the outside of the tenderloin, enhancing the flavor of this delicate cut of meat. Traditional Chestnut Stuffing is the ultimate side dish for this elegant holiday meal.
For me, Christmas dinner means beef tenderloin. If you’ve stuck around here for any length of time, you know how I feel about Thanksgiving. I’m kind of a grumpy old man on the topic. It’s not the time to trot out new “experimental” dishes. As inflexible as I am on the Thanksgiving menu, I throw all of that to the wind for Christmas dinner. This is the time to really shine.
I am not in the habit of dropping $100 on a single piece of meat. Let me just put that out there right now. I’m sure the majority of people are in the same boat. This is a once a year meal for us. There have been quite a few years when this was a stretch. Also, it’s usually just the two of us, so I’m not feeding a crowd. Beef Tenderloin (also sold as Chateaubriand) is our special “pull out all the stops” meal.
Let me state one thing, just to get it off my chest. When I pulled the meat out of the oven, let it rest, then made my first cut… it was PERFECT. After sitting for a few minutes while I shot pics, video, fussed with the props, etc. It became less perfect. Here’s the situation, I’m not about to drop another $100 for another piece of tenderloin, so I just have to live with it. All you perfectionists out there feel my pain.
As “fancy” as this meal may seem, it’s actually simple to execute. A quick sear on all sides, then slide it into the oven. Because Christmas morning always starts with Bloody Marys, I appreciate a meal that doesn’t require loads of babysitting, if you catch my drift.
BEEF TENDERLOIN & CHESTNUT STUFFING:
This is the time of year when I miss New York the most. One of those reasons would be the smell of roasted chestnuts in the carts on every other street corner. There is nothing like sinking your teeth into a warm chestnut, snow lightly falling, the lights of Manhattan twinkling all around. It’s magical.
Here I am in a t-shirt, with the windows open, enjoying a 70-something degree day a week before Christmas. It’s weird. I don’t think I will ever get used to this. Maybe I’ll crank up the AC.
- 4.5-5 lb beef tenderloin, cleaned and trimmed of silverskin
- 1 TB kosher salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 cup dried porcini mushrooms
- 1 TB canola oil (or other high smoke point oil)
- 5 cups dried bread, torn into bite-sized pieces
- 2 - 6.5 oz packages steamed, peeled chestnuts, roughly chopped
- 3 stalks celery, diced
- 1 large sweet onion, diced
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp. rosemary
- 2 1/2 tsp dried sage
- 2 eggs
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1 stick unsalted butter + 2 TB for baking dish
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Place dried mushrooms into food processor and grind until you have a fine powder. It's ok if there are a larger pieces, you can sift them out. Pour the mushroom powder into a fine mesh strainer and sift over a bowl to remove the larger bits. Save them to add to soups or put them back in to the processor to grind.
- Fold under the tail end (the thin end) of tenderloin and tie with butcher's twine. Keeping the thickness uniform helps the meat cook evenly. Season with salt and pepper.
- In a heavy-bottom sauté pan (skillet), heat the oil until shimmering. Place tenderloin in pan and sear on all 4 sides. About 8 minutes total.
- Dust on all 4 sides with porcini powder, giving it a heavy coating.
- Slide into the oven and let it roast for 10 minutes at 400, then turn down to 325 for an additional 10-12 minutes.
- Remove from oven and place tenderloin on sheet pan to rest. I let it rest for 5 minutes on one side, then flip it over and let it rest an additional 5 minutes.
- Dry the bread out overnight (about 14-16 slices) uncovered. Tear into bite-sized pieces.
- In a small sauce pot, simmer the celery, onion, thyme, rosemary, butter and stock for 8-10 minutes, just to soften the celery and onion. Set aside to cool.
- In a large bowl, toss the bread with sage, salt and pepper. Add chestnuts. Crack eggs into bread and toss to coat. Pour chicken stock mixture over the bread and toss.
- Butter the baking dish and pour the stuffing mix in. Bake at 350°F for 45 minutes.
- I couldn't find fresh chestnuts, but if you are lucky enough to get them and are so inclined, roast the fresh ones!
Used in this recipe:
- Dried Porcini Mushrooms – These are the mushrooms that I use. I know they aren’t cheap, but they will last (almost) forever.
More Holiday Food: