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Thanksgiving beef tenderloin recipe

Chateaubriand is the perfect special occasion meal for a small gathering. This beef tenderloin recipe for Thanksgiving is great for a guest list of just a few people. Learn how to make the perfect center cut tenderloin and never fear overcooking this cut of meat again.

To roast a whole tenderloin, check out this porcini crusted beef tenderloin that I make for Christmas every year.

Beef tenderloin recipe for Thanksgiving on white platter with blackberry sauce.

Turkey is the unopposed king of Thanksgiving, but what if you aren’t hosting a large gathering or turkey isn’t your thing? Most of us are in it for the side dishes anyway, or is that just me? If eating leftover turkey for days doesn’t appeal to you, this is the recipe for you.

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Thanksgiving beef tenderloin recipe

Serving beef tenderloin for thanksgiving may sound like blasphemy, but after staring at 8 pounds of leftover turkey last year, I’ve changed my tune.

Chateaubriand with blackberry sauce on white platter.

This year, we’re changing it up a bit and that includes the how, as well as the what. Sous vide cooking yields the most perfect beef tenderloin roast I’ve ever made in my two decades of cooking professionally.

Sous vide beef tenderloin recipe

First, let’s talk about what “sous vide” is, ok? The term refers to something being under vacuum. The process of sous vide is low temperature cooking for an extended time.

A center cut beef tenderloin is the perfect candidate for sous vide because it’s not always easy to get it just right.

Raw chateaubriand on parchment paper.
How does sous vide work?

The temperature is set on your device, so the meat is cooked to the precise doneness you determine.

How is it different than cooking on a stove?

Because the water circulates around the meat, there are no hot spots or cool spots, ensuring a perfectly even temperature, every single time.

How do I add flavoring to the sealed bag?

You can add marinades, herbs, spices, sauce, etc. to the bag before you seal it and the meat will absorb those flavors while it is cooking.

How do I get a browned exterior?

It’s called a “reverse sear”. You’ll quickly brown the meat in a VERY hot pan after it has reached the ideal temperature that you set on your sous vide cooker.

How to cook chateaubriand

This beef tenderloin recipe couldn’t be easier. It may seem a little intimidating, if this is new to you, but it honestly couldn’t be easier.

Inside of tenderloin.

This is the inside of the beef tenderloin. As you can see, there is very little fat running through the meat. It is not well-marbled like a good steak.

The meat is incredibly tender, hence the name. It is a delicate, expensive cut of meat, but it lacks a ton of flavor. Why is that? Fat. It doesn’t have much, and that intramuscular fat combined with muscle is what amounts to the delicious, juicy bite that we associate with a good piece of beef.

This is why seasoning the meat is so important.

Tied raw beef tenderloin.

A chateaubriand is the center cut piece of tenderloin. With a whole tenderloin, there is a tapered (thinner) end, and a thicker end. By removing those two ends, we’re left with a perfectly uniform piece of meat that will cook evenly.

I don’t bother tying up the entire piece, but I will tie it in a handful of places to help it hold its shape. Then, season the meat well and seal it in an air-tight bag.

Perfectly cooked beef tenderloin.

Set the temperature on your device to the doneness you prefer (mine is 133°F) and heat the water. I use an enormous stock pot that allows the beef to lay flat – you don’t want to twist the tenderloin up in order to fit it in the container.

Drop the vacuum-sealed bag into the water and carry on with your day.

Sous vide cooking is PERFECT for holidays like Thanksgiving because it removes the stress of cooking a perfect piece of meat, plus it is basically hands-off (until the reverse sear), and you can do it ahead of time.

Tools and equipment for sous vide tenderloin

  • Sous vide cooker – The tool that heats and circulates the water. This is the newer version of the one I own.
  • Vacuum sealer – This compact version can be stored standing up to save valuable counter space.
  • Sous vide container – You’ll need something large enough for the tenderloin to lay flat.
Sous vide tenderloin recipe on white platter with blackberry sauce.

Sous vide is also terrific for meal prep. Season a handful of chicken breasts for the week and cook them all at once. Store them in the fridge and do a quick sear when you’re ready to eat. So much faster and easier clean-up than starting from scratch every night.

Blackberry Gastrique

Now that we have the tenderloin sorted, we need a sauce. It is Thanksgiving, after all.

First, let’s answer one important question – “what is a gastrique?” A gastrique is a sauce made from caramelized sugar (honey / maple syrup) combined with vinegar or some type of acid, like lemon juice, then reduced to make it slightly thickened. 

It sounds much fancier than it really is, much like the beef tenderloin recipe. The hardest part is knowing when to pull it off of the heat. I compare it with a roux – the longer you let it cook, the deeper the color. Which means, the more intense the flavor will be. 

Can I make gastrique ahead of time?

Yes! As a matter of fact, I have some in my fridge right now. All you’ll need to do is warm it up a bit. 

Can I swap blackberries for another fruit?

Absolutely. I would recommend staying away from anything too sweet, but if you wanted to experiment with something, like currants or gooseberries, I think those would be brilliant in this sauce.

How long does gastrique last in the fridge?

I’ve kept this sauce in my fridge for about a week and a half. It could likely last even a few days longer.

Chateaubriand for Thanksgiving with blackberry sauce.

Blackberry sauce pairs beautifully with this beef tenderloin recipe. It would also go really well with lamb loin chops.

Beef tenderloin dinner menu

Our favorite side dish recipes for Thanksgiving dinner, because we can’t break all the traditions.

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Yield: 1 1/2 lbs.

Beef tenderloin recipe

Beef tenderloin recipe

This beef tenderloin recipe is the perfect meal for a special occasion dinner.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs. center-cut beef tenderloin (chateaubriand)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp. canola oil

Blackberry sauce (gastrique)

  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 6 ounce container of blackberries
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • + extra blackberries for garnish, if desired

Instructions

Sous vide beef tenderloin recipe

  1. Using butcher twine, tie tenderloin every two to three inches, if desired. Season with salt and pepper. Seal in airtight bag with vacuum sealer, or by pressing out all of the air in a zip-top bag.
  2. Set up sous vide cooker with enough water to completely submerge tenderloin. Set temperature to your desired doneness - For medium rare: 135°F, for medium: 145°F. When water has come up to temperature, lower the bag into the water and set a timer for 2 hours.
  3. When meat has finished cooking, remove from bag and pat dry.
  4. Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat - the pan needs to be VERY hot. Add oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan.
  5. Add tenderloin and sear for 1 minute on each side, remove from pan and place on cooling rack.

Blackberry sauce (gastrique)

1. Heat maple syrup over medium high heat in a small sauce pot. Cook until slightly reduced and thickened, about 5 minutes.

2. Add balsamic vinegar and rosemary. Bring to a boil, then add blackberries and let it simmer for 8 - 10 minutes, until syrupy - it should be able to coat a spoon.

3. Remove from heat and strain, pressing berries to extract as much juice as possible. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

6 ounces

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 454Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 145mgSodium: 422mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 2gSugar: 19gProtein: 41g

Nutrition information calculated by a third-party company as a courtesy. It is intended as a guideline only.

Did you make this recipe?

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One Comment

  1. Quinoa and avocado are my all-time favorite – healthy and fresh! Thanks for the inspiring recipes. Now I know what to make for side dishes:)

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