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Beef Tenderloin au Poivre

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 135 minutes

Servings: 6

Williams Sonoma Test Kitchen


For the beef tenderloin:

  • 1 beef tenderloin, about 3 lb. (1.5 kg), tied with kitchen twine at 2-inch (5-cm) increments

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter, cut into 2 pieces

  • 2 Tbs. avocado oil or other vegetable oil

  • 8 garlic cloves, crushed

  • 5 fresh thyme sprigs, plus more for garnish

For the au poivre sauce:

  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 shallot, minced

  • 3 Tbs. black peppercorns, coarsely crushed

  • 2/3 cup (5 fl. oz./160 ml) cognac

  • 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) heavy cream

  • Kosher salt

  • Flaky sea salt


To prepare the beef tenderloin, pat the tenderloin dry with paper towels and season generously with kosher salt and pepper. Set a wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet and place the tenderloin on the rack. Refrigerate, uncovered, overnight. Remove the tenderloin from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for at least 20 minutes or up to 1 hour. Meanwhile, preheat an oven to 225°F (110°C). Roast the tenderloin until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the meat registers 120°F (49°C), 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Remove from the oven. In a large fry pan over high heat, melt the butter with the oil until it starts to foam and then begins to settle. Add the tenderloin and cook, turning as needed, until a crust forms, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic cloves and thyme sprigs and cook, basting the meat with the butter mixture and turning as needed, until browned on all sides and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the meat registers 125° to 130°F (52° to 54°C), about 1 minute. Transfer the tenderloin and garlic cloves to a cutting board; discard the thyme sprigs. Let the meat rest for 10 minutes. Do not wipe out the pan. Meanwhile, make the sauce: Set the fry pan over medium heat and add the butter, minced garlic, shallot and crushed peppercorns. Cook, stirring frequently, until the garlic and shallot are softened and the peppercorns are toasty, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add the cognac, swirling to combine and stirring to scrape up the browned bits. Return the pan to medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cognac has reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the cream and bring to a simmer, then cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce coats the back of the spoon, 2 to 3 minutes. Season to taste with kosher salt. Remove the twine and cut the tenderloin into slices about 1 inch thick. Transfer the meat to a platter and sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Garnish with fresh thyme sprigs and the reserved crispy garlic. Serve immediately with the sauce. Serves 6.

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