Beef Tenderloin With Red Wine Butter & Dauphinoise Potatoes

{A Christmas Dinner Main}

When I got the inquiry from the wine company to create a Christmas menu to go with their wines, I knew right away I’d be making something with beef tenderloin for the main course. Then I remembered a little booklet from British food magazine olive. Luckily this booklet had not fallen victim to my “everything has to go” credo during the latest decluttering phase. The recipe I remembered was for pepper steaks with red wine butter, and I wanted to make that butter with the wine I’d received.

I was told that wine would go best with meat as it was a strong one. I can confirm that, and that wine gave the butter exactly the right touch to complement the beef. The tenderloin itself was seasoned with just a little salt and pepper.

The Dauphinoise potatoes are from an older edition of BBC Good Food, and I’ve made them quite often over the years. The original recipe uses 1.5 % milk mixed with full fat crème fraîche; I’ve been known to substitute the two with double cream, which is of course very rich but even yummier.

Red Wine Butter 04
A few observations & recommendations:

  • It looks like there’s a lot to do from this recipe, but it’s not really – you can prepare most of it ahead.
  • Set a timer when cooking the wine! The liquid only starts to thicken & reduce after about 15 minutes, but after that it’ll only take 5 minutes max. until it’s reduced to the required 2 tbsp. It happened so fast I was only just about able to react and pull it off the stove.
  • Make the red wine butter a day ahead – you’ll be way more relaxed.
  • The red wine butter will not necessarily look pretty but the taste will make up for it. I tried to use a star shaped cookie cutter to cut stars from the round slices but they ended up being butter crumbs  so I just left it rolled into a sausage.
  • The Dauphinoise potatoes can be prepared a few hours ahead so they just need to be reheated shortly before dinner.
  • Broccoli or green beans with bacon go well with this dish and will also look nicer on the plate than my veg-less version…
  • For this course, serve the wine you made the butter with.

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Red Wine Butter

  • Servings: 150 g
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300 ml red wine
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
8 black peppercorns
150 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tbsp finely chopped curly leaf parsley

Place wine, garlic, bay leaf and pepper corns in a saucepan and boil until liquid is reduced to 2 tbsp. Remove from heat immediately and pour liquid through a strainer into a small bowl.

In a separate bowl, beat the butter until it’s soft. Gradually pour in the 2 tbsp reduced red wine. As soon as there’s hardly any liquid left in the bowl, add parsley and salt and mix well.

Place red wine butter on greaseproof paper, roll into a sausage, tie at both ends and store in fridge until serving time.

Red Wine Butter 01

Dauphinoise Potatoes

1 tsp olive oil
150 ml 1.5% milk
1 fat garlic clove, peeled + halved
4 thyme sprigs, plus extra for decoration
1 bay leaf
1 shallot, roughly chopped
3 – 4 rasps freshly grated nutmeg
1 kg potatoes
140 g crème légère (alternatively crème  fraîche oder crème double)
75 ml vegetable stock
1 tsp thyme leaves
50 g Gruyère cheese, grated
freshly ground salt
freshly ground black pepper

beef tenderloin slices

Heat oven to 160°C / 320°F (fan oven 140°C / 280°F). Brush a 25 x 19 cm pie dish with olive oil.

In a small non-stick saucepan, heat milk, garlic, 4 thyme sprigs, bay leaf and shallot. As soon as the milk begins to boil, remove from heat immediately, then season with nutmeg as well as a few turns of salt and pepper. Set aside to infuse.

Meanwhile, peel potatoes and cut or grate into very thin slices, then pat them dry. Layer half the potato slices into the pie dish, then season – very conservatively! – with salt and pepper.

Pour the milk through a strainer into a small jug. Place crème légère in a bowl, then gradually pour in the milk, stirring continuously – best to use a small whisk – until you get a smooth consistency. Pour in stock and add thyme leaves, and stir well. Pour the liquid back into the jug, then evenly pour half of it over the layered potato slices.

Layer the remaining potato slices into the dish, add salt and pepper, then pour the remaining liquid over the slices. Finish with evenly distributing the grated cheese over the potatoes.

Bake the Dauphinoise potatoes for 1¼ – 1½ hours until the surface is golden brown and you can easily pierce the potatoes down to the bottom of the dish with a sharp knife. Take out of the oven, let sit for 5 minutes, then serve sprinkled with the remaining thyme leaves.

Before serving – preferably 10 minutes before the potatoes are done – cook your tenderloin slices to taste in a frying pan, then wrap into aluminium foil and set aside.

Put everything together quickly on serving plates as both the beef and the potatoes will cool down quite fast. Serve the red wine butter rolled up, or cut into rounds and placed in a small dish.

Red Wine Butter 05