The holiday entertaining season is well under way—do you know what you'll serve your special guests? To help with menu planning, we've asked chef Eric Ripert to share an impressive-yet-approachable recipe from his new book, Avec Eric: A Culinary Journey with Eric Ripert (published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2010). Although Ripert is executive chef and co-owner of Le Bernardin, New York's standard-defining French seafood restaurant, he also knows his way around a piece of meat, as is evident in the beef tenderloin recipe below.
As for wine, Ripert is an avowed Bordeaux lover who admits that he drinks his preferred first- or second-growth Bordeaux at about 10 years old and "with everything." This dish would work equally well with one of the recently rated red wines listed below. Cabernet Sauvignon is a classic match for beef, and the Cabernets featured here are from Washington and Chile, both good sources of value that make sense when you're buying for a holiday crowd. Malbec also makes a great partner for beef. All the Malbecs listed below are from Argentina. As always, try and use the same style of wine for the sauce and in the glasses.
WHOLE ROASTED BEEF TENDERLOIN WITH RED WINE BUTTER SAUCE
Recipe from Avec Eric: A Culinary Journey with Eric Ripert by Eric Ripert, published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Says Ripert of this dish, "This is a beautiful recipe to prepare for a special occasion or dinner party. The butter sauce, made with red wine and shallots, is very Old World but never fails to elevate this exquisite cut of beef." He suggests serving it with herb-roasted fingerling potatoes and broccoli rabe sautéed with butter and garlic, recipes for which can also be found in Avec Eric.
• 1 cup dry red wine
• 1 cup red wine vinegar
• 1 shallot, thinly sliced
• 2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
• 2 thyme sprigs
• 1 5-pound whole beef tenderloin, trimmed
• Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
• 3 tablespoons canola oil
• 12 ounces cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1. Preheat the oven to 400° F.
2. Boil the red wine, vinegar, shallot, peppercorns and thyme in a saucepan over high heat until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 10 minutes. Set the wine reduction aside.
3. Generously season the tenderloin on all sides with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large roasting pan over high heat. Carefully add the tenderloin to the roasting pan, then transfer the pan to the oven and roast the tenderloin, turning every 5 minutes, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a meat thermometer registers 120° F for medium-rare.
4. While the tenderloin is roasting, finish the sauce by gradually whisking the cold butter into the warm sauce until it is fully emulsified. Strain the sauce through a fine-mesh sieve into a small saucepan. Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper; keep warm.
5. Remove the roasted tenderloin from the oven and let it rest for at least 5 minutes (the meat will continue cooking at this time). Transfer the rested tenderloin to a cutting board and slice it crosswise. Arrange the sliced tenderloin on a large platter. Pour any of the juices from the roasting pan into the butter sauce and serve immediately with the tenderloin. Serves 6 to 8.
RECOMMENDED REDS FOR THE HOLIDAY TABLE
Note: The following list is a selection of wines from recently rated releases.
CHATEAU STE. MICHELLE Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley Indian Wells 2008 Score: 90 | $18
Polished, round and generous, offering a plush mouthful of blackberry, cherry and mint flavors that ride easily over fine tannins through the long, expressive finish. Drink now through 2015. 75,000 cases made. —H.S.
CONCHA Y TORO Cabernet Sauvignon Puente Alto Marqués de Casa Concha 2008 Score: 90 | $22
Rock-solid, with nicely integrated structure for the vintage, allowing the full-bodied core of loam, blackberry, fig sauce and raspberry to stretch out, with lingering mint and cocoa notes on the plush, fleshy finish. Drink now through 2011. 72,000 cases made. —J.M.
COLUMBIA CREST Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley Grand Estates 2007 Score: 89 | $11
Supple and surprisingly complex, this is generous with its meaty currant and blackberry flavors, remaining polished and finishing with clarity. Drink now through 2015. 170,000 cases made. —H.S.
COVEY RUN Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2006 Score: 88 | $9
Deftly balanced, supporting its bright raspberry, red cherry and delicate herb aromas and flavors with refined tannins. A stylish wine that never flags. Drink now. 25,000 cases made. —H.S.
CASA LAPOSTOLLE Cabernet Sauvignon Rapel Valley 2008 Score: 87 | $13
A nice winey Cabernet, offering tangy red and black currant fruit, fig paste and nicely integrated toast, all on a polished, medium-weight frame. Drink now. 27,547 cases made. —J.M.
MONTGRAS Cabernet Sauvignon Colchagua Valley Reserva 2008 Score: 87 | $12
Forward, with a mix of currant, fig and sage notes backed by a note of graphite on the slightly briary finish. Drink now. 42,245 cases made. —J.M.
HOGUE Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2008 Score: 86 | $11
This vibrant red offers black cherry and herb flavors on a sleek frame. Drink now. 27,000 cases made. —H.S.
PINE & POST Cabernet Sauvignon Washington 2007 Score: 86 | $8
Light and fragrant, with pretty red fruit and tangy herb flavors that mingle on the lively finish. Drink now through 2013. 10,000 cases made. —H.S.
TRAPICHE Cabernet Sauvignon Mendoza Oak Cask 2008 Score: 86 | $11
Shows good currant, fig and dark tobacco notes, with nice loam-tinged grip framing the medium-weight finish. Drink now. 80,000 cases made. —J.M.
BODEGA CATENA ZAPATA Malbec Mendoza 2008 Score: 90 | $22
Rich and polished, boasting lots of pure cassis, blackberry and boysenberry fruit that courses along, carried by alluring spice, integrated toast and a nice, lingering anise note. Drink now through 2011. 40,000 cases made. —J.M.
CLOS DE LOS SIETE Mendoza 2008 Score: 89 | $19
Quite ripe, but focused and juicy, with blueberry, açaí berry and bramble notes laced with fruitcake and spice hints. A nice briary edge keeps the finish honest. Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Petit Verdot. Drink now. 50,000 cases made. —J.M.
TRIVENTO Amado Sur Mendoza 2008 Score: 89 | $15
Ripe and juicy, displaying vivid raspberry and boysenberry fruit that courses along, carried by graphite and licorice notes. No raisined edge of the vintage, either. Very solid. Drink now. 13,000 cases made. —J.M.
ANDELUNA Malbec Tupungato 2008 Score: 88 | $11
Ripe and mouthfilling, with a juicy, fleshy core of crushed red currant, raspberry and blackberry fruit notes kept lively by licorice and briar hints on the finish. Drink now. Tasted twice, with consistent notes. 12,117 cases made. —J.M.
BODEGAS Y VIÑEDOS LA ESPERANZA Malbec Uco Valley Finca El Origen Reserva 2008 Score: 88 | $12
Solid, with a mix of blueberry, plum and blackberry fruit laced with sweet toast and spice notes. Latent grip gives the finish some length and definition. Drink now. 30,000 cases made. —J.M.
ALTOS LAS HORMIGAS Malbec Mendoza 2009 Score: 87 | $13
This plump red offers rounded cherry, plum and raspberry notes laced with a modest touch of roasted vanilla. Solid. Drink now. 50,000 cases made. —J.M.
FINCA SOPHENIA Malbec Tupungato Altosur 2009 Score: 87 | $12
A rounded, polished style, with a mocha note leading the way for flavors of plum sauce, cherry reduction and blackberry fruit. Drink now. 15,000 cases made. —J.M.