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Many people during the holiday season enjoy foods which are too rich to expensive to eat everyday. One of these luxuries is beef tenderloin. It is generally the most tender and flavorful cut of beef. The best grade of beef, prime, is supposed to have little bits of fat in the meat. These add to the moistness and flavor. With the increased concern about fat in the diet, many people may prefer the next grade of beef labeled choice. A whole tenderloin will probably weight five-seven pounds. Your butcher or supermarket can trim most of the fat off the outside for you. You may notice a whitish membrane on the outside of the meat. This is called the silver. Try to remove as much as possible using a sharp knife. Steaks cut from the tenderloin are filet mignon. Most connoisseurs prefer their meat rare to medium rare (i.e. reddish to pink in the center). By cooking the meat until is looses all traces of pink you will also loose some juiciness and flavor.

Beef Tenderloin

Ingredients (conversion table)

1 Beef Tenderloin (5-7 lbs.)
1/2 cup prepared Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. mixed black, green and pink peppercorns, coarsely ground

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Mix mustard and ground pepper. Rub all over outside of meat. Place meat on a baking sheet. You can fold the long thin end of the meat back next to the thicker part so you it is roughly of uniform thickness. Place meat in oven. After 20 minutes lower heat to 350 degrees. Bake about 15 minutes longer for rare-medium rare. Remove from oven and let stand at least 10 minutes before carving. You can wait and serve thin slices of this cold accompanied by a mixture of:

1 cup sour cream
1 Tbsp. prepared horseradish

Elegant Filet Mignon

Ingredients (conversion table)

4 filets mignons
2 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms (use wild mushrooms such as Morels if they are available)
1/2 cup Port or Madeira Wine 1/2 cup heavy cream salt and pepper

Heat the 1 Tbsp. butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add filets and saute for 3-4 minutes. Turn and cook another 3-4 minute for medium rare. Remove, put on a plate and keep warm. Add 1 Tbsp. butter to pan. Add mushrooms and saute about 5 minutes. Carefully add wine to pan. The alcohol may catch fire as it is cooked off. This will not harm the dish, but be sure nothing else catches fire. Use a spoon to scrape up any brown bits in the pan - these have a lot of flavor. Cook 2 minutes. Add the cream and cook until slightly thickened. Pour over filets and serve.

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