If this Christmas was going to be a true success, the menu would require, not one, but TWO main protein options. We batted around some different ideas, from a salt-crusted salmon, to a traditional Christmas ham. But, Dad is 50/50 on Salmon, and I don’t want to contribute to Smithfield’s disgusting factory farming practices.* We eventually chose a classic roast beef with horseradish sauce and a pork tenderloin stuffed with plenty of parsley and pine nuts.
2 T. vegetable oil
2 2 1/2 lb. rump roast
salt and pepper, to taste
2 bulbs fennel (you can use 5 or 6 stalks of celery, but I had fennel on hand, so I used that.)
3-4 cloves garlic, smashed
1 bouquet garni**
2 c. red wine (I used Yellowtail Shiraz, cause I’m not trying to get too complicated here…)
2 c. beef stock
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
Assemble all ingredients and mise en place. Allow meat to start coming up to room temperature as you prepare the remaining ingredients. Either preheat your oven to 325, or ready whatever crock pot/dutch oven/cooking vessel you choose. Rough chop onions, carrot, and fennel, and set aside with the garlic and bouquet garni.
Season the beef liberally with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat vegetable oil over medium high heat until hot, and then add beef. Allow to sear for 3-5 minutes on the first side. Check to make sure the beef is evenly and amply seared, and then turn to the other side, searing for an additional five minutes.
Remove the beef from the pan, and set aside in either the roasting pan or crockpot. Add chopped vegetables, garlic, and herbs, and deglaze with the red wine. Make sure to get all the cooked beefy bits off of the pan and into the cooking liquid.
Add this to the pan with the beef, as well as the beef stock and the Worcestershire sauce. Cover, and allow to cook for at least three but no more than 5 hours. Flip once during cooking.
The horseradish sauce could not be simpler: Add horseradish to equal parts mayonnaise and sour cream until you reach your horseradish threshold. If you don’t have or don’t like either mayonnaise or sour cream, just use one and not the other. But if you don’t like sour cream, you should really sit back and take at a look at your life because something’s off.
1 4-5 lb. pork tenderloin (or two smaller tenderloins. I actually cut my large one in half so that it would be easier to work with)
1 1/2 c. bread crumbs
1 c. golden raisins
1 c. chopped parsley
1/2 c. toasted pine nuts
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
2 tsp. fresh thyme
Assemble all ingredients and mise en place. Preheat oven to 425. Combine all ingredients except for the tenderloin itself, and set aside. Remove silver skin, and butterfly your pork tenderloin. Have the butcher do this if you’re not interested. Place the butterflied tenderloin between two pieces of plastic wrap, and beat with a mallet to achieve consistent size and shape all around. Remove the plastic, and spread a thin layer of the stuffing all over the pork except for about one inch (this creates a sort of ‘seam.’) Using the piece of plastic that is below the tenderloin, gently roll each tenderloin.
Truss*** the tenderloin(s) using butcher’s twine (Or, in a pinch, it turns out both jute and shoe laces work as well.) Place the tenderloin(s) seam side down on a baking sheet and roast for approximately 45 minutes. Allow to rest another 15 minutes before slicing.
* I’m not going to use this blog as a platform from which to spread the gospel of responsible meat consumption. That’s not what onioncloute is all about, but I will say this: THINK about where you get your ingredients, and whenever possible, try to choose local sources where the sense of accountability is higher and you have the opportunity to see the source itself. I personally believe that pigs are smart and that torturing them just because it’s somehow more profitable is morally wrong. Therefore, I make an effort to get bacon, etc from local farmers, whose astute little piggies get to live relatively ‘normal’ lives before making their way to my belly.
** A bouquet garni is a bundle of parsley stems, thyme, bay leaves, and peppercorns. It is not necessary for you to create a classical bouquet, just make sure all of these elements end up in the pot!
***If you’re unfamiliar with trussing, check out this youtube video for an example:
Tomorrow: le kit kat, a chocolate-hazelnut concoction – the true star of Christmas!