I know some of you may go with the flow on Christmas day, which is wonderful and very free-spirited of you, but my family has always followed a very strict schedule. It goes a little something like this…
10am: Wake up in Christmas pajamas. (Since all immediate family members are now well over the age of ten, we have come to appreciate the Christmas morning sleep-in. Hallelujah.)
10am-10:30am: Make coffee and mimosas and drag our enormous stockings into the living room and/or bedroom of choice. Try to figure out how to work the Christmas music on the tv while wearing whatever festive Christmas headgear my mother has given us (reindeer antlers, glitter Santa hats, etc.). Bicker Banter with siblings.
10:30am-12pm. Open stockings. Ooooh and aaaah. Make a mess.
12-1:30pm: Prepare brunch. Prep time varies slightly based on number of helpers my mom has (0-1 of her offspring) and the number of mimosas the helper has consumed (1-4).
1:30-2:30pm: Eat too much brunch.
2:30-4:30pm: Open presents in zombie-like state due to mass pancake consumption. Experience range of emotions based on presents given and received. Increase mess to terrifying proportions.
4:30pm-6:30pm: Dirt. Nap.
6:30pm-7pm: Debate whether or not to cook dinner.
7pm-10pm: Cook and eat Christmas feast OR drink champagne and eat random things in the kitchen.
10pm-11:30pm: Watch Christmas movie and pass out surrounded by Christmas loot. (This time used to be reserved for crying over the fact that Christmas was over, but I stopped doing that in like 2009.)
As you can see, Christmas is a very full day, and the schedule is pretty tight. Dinner provides the only real wiggle room, as it’s always a game-time decision. When I was younger, we were a lot more put together when it came to getting Christmas dinner on the table. This was most likely because the day started at 6am, which bumped the schedule up 4 hours, leaving plenty of time for cooking post-dirt nap. There was also a lot less booze involved.
During those early, highly motivated years, we usually had beef tenderloin and Yorkshire pudding for Christmas dinner, the latter being my mom’s specialty and probably the dankest thing in the entire world. We would all don our holiday best (in my case, that meant a green velour Juicy jumpsuit) and sit down to a festive family meal. Yes, there was one year that we ate grilled cheese, but it was consumed by candlelight in the dining room, and we considered it very civilized.
In recent years, we’ve lost serious momentum on the Christmas dinner front. By the time 6:30pm rolls around, my mom and I are usually still in our pajamas, and the thought of cooking anything is simply too much to bear. More often than not, we decide to forego a fancy meal and just eat baguettes, cheese and charcuterie for dinner. It’s very French.
However, this Christmas we’re shaking things up a bit. My newlywed sister is doing a romantic thang with her husband, and my little brother has decided to spend the holiday in Santa Barbara with my Dad. So, my mom and I (power couple) have decided to do Christmas at my great uncle’s house. What does this mean for the aforementioned Christmas schedule, you ask? I’m not gonna lie, things aren’t looking good. I may have to get dressed, there will be no sibling banter, and I’m worried I’m going to lose my dirt nap. I try not to think about it too much.
On the plus side, I have a feeling we’ll be bringing back the traditional Christmas feast this year. I’m banking on my mom rustling up some Yorkshire pudding, since I plan to make the mother of all beef filets…Slow-Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Rosemary.
This beef tenderloin is unlike any other you’ve tasted. Like, slap yourself in the face amazing. I stumbled across the low-heat method in Ina’s Foolproof (my bible) a few months ago, and I decided to give it a try. Instead of the traditional 400 degrees for 35 minutes, you cook the tenderloin at 275 degrees for a little over an hour. The result is the juiciest, most tender beef you’ve ever experienced. Ever. It actually melts in your mouth, and surrounding the tenderloin with rosemary while it cooks infuses the meat with incredible herb flavor. The first time I tried it, I wanted to lift up the entire 4½ pound tenderloin, kiss it, and carry it triumphantly around the kitchen over my head like the World Cup.
I’ve made Slow-Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Rosemary four times in as many months this fall, and it is actually foolproof. The recipe is ideal for entertaining because you can prep the beef in advance (which takes all of five minutes) and then pop it in the oven two hours before serving. No muss, no fuss. And people lose their shit. This is a absurdly simple dish that will solidify your status as a domestic god(dess) in one fell swoop. It’s perfection.
While I love beef tenderloin with Yorkshire pudding on Christmas, it goes beautifully with pretty much any side dish. If you need some inspiration, I highly recommend pairing it with fancy mashed potatoes, sweet potato gratin, or a parmesan cauliflower puree. Honestly, this beef is so buttery soft and juicy, it doesn’t even need sauce, but if you’re a die-hard sauce fan, I suggest trying a red wine or peppercorn sauce, or Ina’s basil pesto mayonnaise.
Leftovers are a Godsend, since this filet is ridiculously bomb cold. Try it on crostini with a little goat cheese and pesto, or on a baguette with Dijon mustard and lots of creamy, melting brie. Hell, eat it out of the fridge with your hands and get weird. No judgment.
Merry Christmas, friends! May your days be merry, bright, and filled with beef tenderloin.
Slow-Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Rosemary: (Serves 6-8)
1 whole filet of beef tenderloin, trimmed and tied (about 4-4½ pounds)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
3½ teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons fresh ground pepper
12-15 sprigs fresh rosemary
Preparing your Slow-Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Rosemary:
-Pre-heat your oven to 275 degrees. Make sure that your oven temperature is accurate!
-Place your tenderloin on sheet pan (I like to line mine with aluminum foil for easy cleanup) and pat the whole thing dry using paper towels.
-Season the beef with the salt and pepper, making sure the entire tenderloin is given some love. (It may seem like a lot of salt, but trust me, it will make your meat perfectly delectable.)
-Secure the rosemary sprigs to your tenderloin by threading them through the kitchen string tying the beef at 2-inch intervals. Brush the rosemary sprigs with the remaining ½ tablespoon of olive oil.
-Transfer your tenderloin to the oven and cook for 1 hour to 1½ hours until the internal temperature in the center of the meat is 125 degrees for rare or 135 degrees for medium rare. The best way to get an accurate reading is to stick the thermometer horizontally through the end of the beef. (I know a half hour is a large window of cooking time, but it will vary slightly based on the weight of your tenderloin. I strongly recommend checking the internal temperature of your beef after 1 hour to assess the situation.)
-Once rested, slice your beef thickly. Serve warm or at room temperature.
*Recipe adapted from Ina Garten’s Foolproof.
- 1 whole filet of beef tenderloin, trimmed and tied (about 4-4½ pounds)
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 3½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons fresh ground pepper
- 12-15 sprigs fresh rosemary
- Pre-heat your oven to 275 degrees. Make sure that your oven temperature is accurate!
- Place your tenderloin on sheet pan (I like to line mine with aluminum foil for easy cleanup) and pat the whole thing dry using paper towels. Brush the beef on all sides with 2½ tablespoons of the olive oil. No brush? No problem. Just use your hands to rub the oil over the meat. Season the beef with the salt and pepper, making sure the entire tenderloin is given some love. (It may seem like a lot of salt, but trust me, it will make your meat perfectly delectable.)
- Secure the rosemary sprigs to your tenderloin by threading them through the kitchen string tying the beef at 2-inch intervals. Brush the rosemary sprigs with the remaining ½ tablespoon of olive oil.
- Transfer your tenderloin to the oven and cook for 1 hour to 1½ hours until the internal temperature in the center of the meat is 125 degrees for rare or 135 degrees for medium rare. The best way to get an accurate reading is to stick the thermometer horizontally through the end of the beef. (I know a half hour is a large window of cooking time, but it will vary slightly based on the weight of your tenderloin. I strongly recommend checking the internal temperature of your beef after 1 hour to assess the situation.)
- Cover your cooked tenderloin with aluminum foil and let it rest for at least 20 minutes.
- Slice your beef thickly and serve warm or at room temperature.