It might seem early to be thinking about holiday roasts, but we've got our upcoming holiday iPad app on the brain. For this contest, go big! We're looking for beautiful hunks of roasted meat -- beef, pork, lamb, chicken, and even Thanksgiving turkey -- and we want to know your techniques for getting perfectly cooked meat and crisp edges without stress.
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Porcini and Rosemary Crusted Beef Tenderloin with Port Wine Sauce
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A 3-pound center-cut beef tenderloin (all trussed up), shallot, rosemary, red wine (and port), dried porcini, black peppercorns, butter. Yes.
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Salting 4-24 hours ahead seasons the meat all the way through and gives it a great crust. We used 1 1/4 teaspoons of Diamond kosher salt for 3 pounds of beef.
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Dried porcinis are ready to be blitzed in the food processor (or spice grinder). Make sure yours are completely dry and brittle, or they won't willingly grind into powder. If they're at all pliant, you can dry them out in a low oven until they break easily.
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Next to the stage: rosemary.
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And black peppercorns. Time to get our spice rub on.
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Rubbed and ready.
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Heat up a heavy skillet to sear your roast -- you'll make your pan sauce in it later too.
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Once the olive oil is nice and hot, set your roast in to brown for a few minutes on each side. Have patience and don't fuss with it till a nice brown crust is forming.
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TasteFood has you transfer your beef to a separate roasting pan to finish cooking through in the oven, to keep the brown bits pristine for the pan sauce. Don't wash those bits away yet!
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While your beef roasts away, plump up more dried porcinis in just boiled water.
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Brown bits return for pan sauce duty, butter starts the party.
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Shallots, lots of shallots, will soften the edges of the red wine sauce.
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We actually measured this cup of red wine, we swear. And we didn't even drink any (yet).
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Deglaze that pan: scraping the bubbling wine around frees the brown bits from the bottom and enriches the sauce.
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Next, simmer the sauce to reduce and thicken it up, concentrating the flavors.
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A final swirl of butter to round out the sauce, and it's time to feast! (Do this only once your beef has rested and is ready to carve.)
Now that's an ingredient shot. Roasted garlic, rosemary, thyme, olive oil, flour, and the ham. (Salt and Pepper took a hike.)
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One of the niftiest tricks in town: roasting a whole head of garlic. Just slice off the top, give it a drizzle of olive oil, and pop in a hot oven for 30 minutes. The sweet little cloves pop out and mush right up.
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Merrill is a mighty mortar and pestler, mashing the roasted cloves with chopped rosemary and thyme.
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And, Amanda is a meticulous masseuse, massaging the garlic and herb rub into the scored ham.
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Flip that baby over!
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[Deleted scenes: the ham went into the oven for three hours and is now stage right resting under an aluminum tent.] But look at all that love in the pan! Save it -- it's gravy time.
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Amanda adds back a bit of the stock from the pan juices (which we removed and let separate.)
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And, now the flour to roux things up. (Who knew pork fat and flour made such a smooth roux?)
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Amanda intently whisks in additional stock to loosen things up and bring the gravy on home.
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