This Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Port Wine Gravy is an elegant holiday meal that is surprisingly easy to prepare. You are guaranteed to impress your friends and family with this special recipe.
I’m including everything you need to know about how to cook a beef tenderloin in this post. You’ll have everything you need to create this truly memorable holiday meal.
Seven Christmases have passed since I started this blog, and every single one of those years I’ve had the very best of intentions to post this beef tenderloin recipe. It’s staggering to realize it has taken me this long to post one of my favorite holiday meals of all time. December always seems to pass at lightning speed but THIS year I am determined!
This Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Gravy has been on our Christmas Eve menu for years and it is spectacular. This is a recipe that will make you feel proud and that your friends and family will absolutely love. Guaranteed.
Beef tenderloin is quite simple to prepare and with a few tips and tricks, it is foolproof. It doesn’t need a marinade or heavy seasoning because it is one of the most dependably tender and delicious cuts of beef available. And, yes, it is pricey, but the end result is worth every penny. For a less expensive cut of beef, my Eye of Round Roast Beef with Gravy is an excellent choice.
Table of contents
- Ingredient Notes
- Where to Buy Beef Tenderloin
- Unpeeled Vs. Peeled Beef Tenderloin
- How to Tie a Beef Tenderloin
- How to Make Port Wine Gravy
- FAQ and Valerie’s Tips
- Serving Suggestions
- Leftover Beef Tenderloin Sandwiches
- Beef tenderloin – See below for detailed information on this cut.
- Olive oil
- Low sodium beef broth
- Garlic – Whole, trimmed heads of garlic roast along with the beef. After the long roasting time, the cloves become buttery and so tender they are spreadable. It is absolutely delicious served the beef tenderloin and gravy.
- Ruby port wine – Port is a fortified wine which means that it includes a distilled spirit, like brandy. This increases the alcohol content and also quite significantly increases the shelf life of an open bottle. A bottle of ruby port is relatively inexpensive and a great value. If stored properly it will stay fresh for months. Just store it in a cool, dark pantry or even better, in the refrigerator.
- Tomato paste
- Dried thyme
- Finely ground sea salt and black pepper
- All-purpose flour
- Softened butter
Where to Buy Beef Tenderloin
If you have access to a Costco or other big box store, definitely plan to buy your beef tenderloin there. I don’t think you will find a better price anywhere. Costco’s price on a tenderloin that has been peeled by one of their very well qualified butchers is similar to what you’ll find at other stores for the unpeeled variety. Both Choice and Prime cuts are available, with Prime being the more expensive choice. I’ve always purchased Choice and it’s fabulous.
Unpeeled Vs. Peeled Beef Tenderloin
An unpeeled beef tenderloin has a layer of fat and connective tissue that must be trimmed before it is cooked. Keep in mind that you’ll need to compensate and buy a larger cut as you’ll be trimming and throwing away a good amount. Check out Serious Eats for all the details on how to trim a beef tenderloin.
A peeled beef tenderloin has been trimmed by a butcher and has almost no visible fat. This means that every single ounce of it can be consumed. Although more expensive per pound, I think it’s worth the cost for a qualified butcher do this task for me. I’d much rather cook a beautifully trimmed piece of beef for Christmas Eve than my shaggy attempt at trimming.
How to Tie a Beef Tenderloin
A beef tenderloin has one long, tapered end that is far skinnier than the other end. The roast must be tied in order to cook evenly throughout to the perfect rare to medium rare temperature.
- Pat the beef tenderloin dry with paper towels. I like to place it on a foil-lined board for easy cleanup.
- Tuck the tapered end underneath to create an even thickness throughout.
- Use kitchen twine to tie the tenderloin in 2-inch to 3-inch intervals.
- Season with the dried thyme, salt, and freshly ground black pepper on all sides.
How to Make Roasted Beef Tenderloin
Sear the Beef Tenderloin
After it is seasoned, sear the beef in olive oil on the stove for a few minutes per side. You’ll need to use a stove and oven-safe roasting pan for this task as it is a large cut.
For the Roasted Garlic
Trim the tops off the heads of garlic with a sharp knife to expose the cloves and remove some of the papery outer skins. Place them in the roasting pan around the beef, drizzle them with olive oil and season with a little sea salt.
Roast the Beef Tenderloin
Transfer the roasting pan to a preheated 375 degree F oven and roast for about 40 minutes. Remove it from the oven when it reaches an internal temperature of between 125 degrees F for rare or 135 degrees F for medium. See the FAQ section below for details on timing and temperature.
Transfer the partially roasted heads of garlic to a small baking dish and drizzle with additional olive oil, if necessary. Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees F., then return the garlic to the oven for an additional 5 to 10 minutes until it is very tender and golden brown.
Let it Rest
As soon as you remove the beef from the oven, transfer it to a cutting board, and tent it loosely with a sheet of foil. The roast should rest for about 15 minutes before being sliced, to ensure a juicy result.
How to Make Port Wine Gravy
This Port Wine Gravy is amazing and so easy to prepare. If you’ve had issues with preparing gravy in the past, you’re going to love this easy method.
- Combine the beef broth and port in a large saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil. Cover the pan and cook the mixture until the volume is reduced by about one-third.
- Whisk in the tomato paste, then remove pan from the heat and set it aside. To save time, you can complete the gravy up to this point up to a day in advance. Just cover and refrigerate the reduced mixture until you need it.
- After removing the beef from the oven, spoon out any fat deposits from the bottom of the roasting pan and place it on the stove over medium-high heat. Add the port wine mixture and bring it to a boil, stirring to scrape up any browned bits. Combine the softened butter and flour in small bowl to form a smooth paste and whisk it into the saucepan. The gravy will thicken as it simmers. Whisk in a little more butter for a nice glossy finish.
FAQ and Valerie’s Tips
A peeled beef tenderloin has very little fat and therefore it won’t shrink very much as it cooks. You should calculate ⅓ to ½ pound per person, regardless of age or appetite, if you’d like to end up with leftovers (and you DO!). For instance, a 5 pound peeled beef tenderloin will feed 10 to 15 people. If you are purchasing an unpeeled beef tenderloin you can assume you will be trimming and tossing about 30% of the total weight so consider this when calculating the size you need.
Beef tenderloin should not be cooked beyond medium (warm pink center) but it is best cooked medium rare. Be vigilant and use an instant read thermometer starting about 15 minutes before the end of the cooking time stated in the recipe. Insert the thermometer in the thickest portion of the beef and when it reaches 125 degrees F (rare), 130 degrees F (medium rare) or 135 degrees F (medium), pull it out of the oven to rest. Keep in mind that the internal temperature will rise a bit as the beef rests so the temperatures stated here are about 5 degrees below the desired end temperature. If you watch the temperature closely, it will be juicy and so tender you can cut it with a butter knife. If you prefer beef cooked beyond medium, I would suggest going with a different cut.
You may come across what is referred to as center cut beef tenderloin, also referred to as chateaubriand. For this cut a butcher has removed the narrower ends of the tenderloin leaving just the center portion. It is quite a luxurious cut and can be quite a bit more expensive per pound than a whole beef tenderloin. Since the ends have been trimmed, it is smaller and not the best choice for feeding a group.
I always serve beef tenderloin with creamy horseradish on the side. Just combine sour cream with as much creamed horseradish as you’d like.
Side Dishes Worthy of Serving with Beef Tenderloin
Leftover Beef Tenderloin Sandwiches
Pick up some sandwich rolls at the store to make incredible sandwiches with the leftovers the next day. I’m telling you, these are the most delicious steak sandwiches ever!
- Smear lightly toasted sandwich rolls with creamy horseradish, layer on cold, leftover beef tenderloin. Drizzle it with a little of the leftover gravy and pile on some greens.
Whatever you are serving and whoever you are celebrating with, I wish you and yours a beautiful holiday.
Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Port Wine Gravy
- 4 cups low-sodium beef broth
- 1 cup ruby port wine
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 4 to 5 pound whole beef tenderloin, peeled and trimmed
- 1 tablespoon finely ground sea salt, plus additional for garlic
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- freshly ground black pepper, as needed
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus additional for garlic
- 3 whole heads garlic
- 4 tablespoons softened butter, divided
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- In a large saucepan, combine the beef broth and port. Bring to a boil. Cook over high heat until the volume is reduced by about one-third, about 30 minutes. Whisk in the tomato paste. Remove the pan from the heat and set it aside. This can be a done a day in advance or earlier in the day if you'd like.
- Trim the tops off the heads of garlic with a sharp knife to expose the tops of the cloves and remove some of the papery outer skins. Drizzle them with olive oil and season with a little sea salt.
- Pat the beef dry with paper towels. Fold the thinner, tapered end underneath to create an evenly sized roast and then use kitchen twine to tie it at 2-inch to 3-inch intervals, or as needed. Sprinkle both sides of the beef with salt, thyme, and pepper. Add olive oil to a large roasting pan and set it over MEDIUM-HIGH heat (you may need to use two burners). Add the tenderloin to the hot pan and sear for about 4 minutes per side. Place trimmed garlic around the beef and transfer the pan to preheated oven. Roast the beef until a meat thermometer inserted into the center of the thickest portion registers 125 degrees F (rare), 130 degrees F (medium rare), or 135 F (medium), about 40 minutes. Watch it closely and remove it from the oven as soon as the beef reaches the desired temperature. Immediately transfer the beef to cutting board, tent it loosely with foil, and let it rest for at least 15 minutes.
- Transfer the heads of garlic to a small baking dish, drizzling with additional olive oil, if necessary. Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees F and return the garlic to the oven for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, or until very tender and golden brown. Meanwhile, prepare the gravy.
Finish the Gravy
- Spoon any fat deposits off the bottom of the roasting pan and place the pan over MEDIUM-HIGH heat. Add the port wine and broth mixture and bring it to a boil, stirring to scrape up any browned bits.
- Combine 3 tablespoons softened butter and the flour in small bowl to form a smooth paste and whisk it into broth mixture until smooth. Simmer until the gravy thickens. Whisk in the remaining tablespoon of butter. Taste and season with salt and pepper, only if needed. Transfer to a gravy boat or small bowl.
- Slice the beef tenderloin into 1-inch thick medallions and serve with the roasted garlic and Port Wine Gravy .
Nutrition information is automatically calculated using generic ingredients, and is an estimate not a guarantee. For more accurate results, please refer to the labels on your ingredients at home.
Inspired by Allrecipes