Every year since my mom met my stepdad we've had the same Christmas dinner. The centerpiece is a Roast Beef Tenderloin. A few years ago I took over Christmas dinner and even though I consider myself to be a good cook, the beef always causes me some stress and anxiety. You don't want to overcook such a high-quality (read: expensive) piece of meat.
I keep the preparation simple to let the flavor of the beef shine through - just some salt and pepper to crust the outside of the beef. This year I also made an au jus to serve with the beef, which was a great addition.
Funny story - since we got a new stove this year I was even more concerned about overcooking the beef. We bought an oven thermometer and discovered our oven runs about 25 degrees hotter than the gauge says. I also bought a new meat thermometer to make doubly sure I cooked the meat as rare as we like it.
After 30 minutes in the oven I realized I had forgotten to compensate with a lower temp, so I quickly turned the oven down. When the roast had been in the oven for an hour I took it out and stuck in the meat thermometer to check it. The screen quickly jumped to 137 degrees in the thickest part. I tested another section and that said 147 degrees. I panicked, convinced I had overcooked the beef. I crossed my fingers and asked SP to stand by me for moral support when I cut into it and, thankfully, it was perfectly cooked. So much for that brand of thermometer!
Roast Beef Tenderloin
1 trimmed and tied beef tenderloin (about 4 lbs)
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Place meat on a rack in a roasting pan. Rub with salt and pepper. Place in the oven, on the center rack for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees.
Roast the meat for 15 minutes per pound, until desired doneness (120-125 degrees for rare, 130-135 degrees for medium rare). Check the internal temp by inserting a meat thermometer halfway into the thickest part of the meat.
Transfer meat to a platter and let rest for 10-20 minutes before cutting into slices.