If you are coming up to the lake for Christmas chances are you are looking forward to a relaxed holiday. Here's a perfect yet elegant main course. No fuss, no prep, no mess!
1 beef tenderloin, 2 1/2 to 3 lb.
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp. minced fresh thyme
1 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
2 Tbs. minced shallots
1 cup Syrah
2 1/2 Tbs. unsalted butter
Preheat an oven to 450°F.
Rub the beef all over with the olive oil, then rub on the thyme, salt and pepper.
Place the roast on a rack in a shallow roasting pan just large enough to accommodate it. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 115° to 120°F for rare, about 20 minutes; 125° to 130°F for medium-rare, about 25 minutes; or 130° to 140°F for medium, about 30 minutes. Transfer the roast to a cutting board, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, remove the rack from the roasting pan and place the pan on the stovetop over medium heat. Add the shallots and sauté, stirring them into the pan juices, until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the wine a little at a time, stirring to scrape up the browned bits from the pan bottom. Continue to cook until the wine is reduced by nearly half, then stir in the butter. When the butter has melted, remove the pan from the heat and cover to keep warm.
To serve, cut the beef into slices 1/2 inch thick. Arrange the slices on a warmed platter and drizzle with the sauce. Serve immediately.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma, Christmas Entertaining, by Georgeanne Brennan (Simon & Schuster, 2005).