This is my mother's special occasion dish. She pronounces it "fee-lay" with emphasis on the "fee." There are cuts of meat that are more flavorful, and seasoning techniques that are more creative, but this roast will never fail you as long as you time it correctly and don't overcook it. My mom usually serves it for Chanukah with potato latkes. Make extra—it's great the next day sliced on a sandwich with some coarse mustard. —drbabs
Test Kitchen Notes
WHO: Drbabs is a longtime Food52-er with an impressive array of recipes—52 of which are Community Picks!
WHAT: Classic without being old-fashioned, this is a deceptively simple Sunday-worthy roast with big flavors.
HOW: Rub beef tenderloin with smashed garlic, and roast while you make a savory red wine-mushroom sauce to serve it with.
WHY WE LOVE IT: A perfect Sunday or company roast, it’s easy to put together, smells amazing while in the oven, and delivers an absolutely delicious meal. The meat is tender and infused with garlicky, peppery goodness, while the mushroom sauce is rich and deep in flavor. This is a dish that you can keep in your back pocket and pull out when you need to feed your guests (or are just in the mood for a special dinner!). —The Editors
Heat the oven to 450° F. Rub the filet all over with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the smashed garlic, and generously sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Roast the beef until an instant-read thermometer registers 120° F to 125° F for rare, about 25 minutes. (Add about 5 minutes if you want it medium-rare—about 130° F.) Lightly cover the beef in foil and let it rest on a carving board for 10 to 15 minutes.
While the beef roasts, make the sauce. Heat 2 tablespoons of the butter with 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until they soften and turn golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the wine and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil until the volume of wine reduces by about half. Reduce the heat to low. Stir in thyme and Worcestershire sauce and add the rest of the butter a little at a time, stirring constantly.
Unwrap the filet (fee-lay) and stir any accumulated juices into the sauce. Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Slice the meat and serve with the sauce.