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Roast Beef Tenderloin with Red Wine Sauce

5 stars based on 23 votes

beef-tenderloin-with-red-wine-sauce

Nothing says holiday dinner like a show-stopping roast, and I love this combination of sear-roasted beef tenderloin with a deeply flavored, richly colored red wine sauce. Not only is it delicious, it’s deceptively simple to make. The sauce can be made mostly in advance so there’s very little fussing at the last minute – and beef tenderloin, believe it or not, is one of the easiest things in the world to cook. If you’re thinking, “Beef tenderloin is such an expensive cut. What if I overcook it? How will I tell when it’s done?” I promise you: you don’t need to be an experienced cook to make a perfect beef tenderloin. All you need is a meat thermometer. The one I use has a leave-in probe and remote monitor (like this one), so I know when the roast is done without ever even opening my oven — there is zero poking, cutting, peeking, or guesswork involved.

ingredients

Begin by making the sauce. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan and add the shallots.

sauteing-shallots

Cook over medium-low heat until soft and translucent, 7 to 8 minutes.

sauteing-shallots-1

Add the wine, beef broth, thyme sprigs, salt, pepper and sugar, and bring to a boil.

simmering-wine-sauce

Cook over medium heat for about 30 minutes, or until the liquid is reduced by about half.

reduced-wine-sauce

While the liquid is reducing, place the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter in a small bowl. Soften in the microwave (if necessary), then add the flour. Using a spoon, mix together into a paste. This is called a buerre manié, and it’s used to thicken sauces.

flour-butter-paste

Once the wine mixture is reduced, reduce the heat to low and remove the thyme sprigs. Whisk the flour-butter mixture, a teaspoonful at a time, into the simmering liquid, and simmer for a few minutes, until the sauce is thickened.

whisk-in-roux

The sauce can be made up to this point and refrigerated several days ahead of time.

thickened-sauce

Next, season the beef with kosher salt and pepper.

seasoned-tenderloin

The best way to cook beef tenderloin is a two-step process: sear, then roast. The tenderloin gets a nice crusty brown exterior, which adds delicious flavor and texture to an otherwise lean cut. To sear, heat the oil in an oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat until almost smoking. Cook, turning with tongs, until well browned on all but one side, about 10 minutes total.

searing-tenderloin-2

Turn the tenderloin so that the un-seared side is down and transfer the skillet directly to a 400°F oven. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the meat registers 120ºF for medium rare, 15 to 20 minutes, or until done to your liking.

searing-tenderloin-3

Transfer the roast to a carving board (preferably with a well for collecting juices) and let it rest, covered loosely with aluminum foil, for 10 to 15 minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute from the outside of the roast throughout the whole roast, making the tenderloin juicy. If you slice it too soon, the juices will pour out of it.

resting-tenderloin

Meanwhile, pour off the fat from the roasting pan. Set the pan on the stovetop and add the beef broth. Bring the broth to a boil, using a wooden spoon to scrape the fond (brown bits) from the bottom of the pan.

deglazing-pan

Add the flavorful broth to the red wine sauce, and bring the sauce to a simmer.

adding-deglazing-liquid-to-sauce

Carve the roast into 1/3-inch-thick slices.

slicing-tenderloin

Serve the beef, passing the red wine sauce at the table.

beef-tenderloin-with-red-wine-sauce-1

Roast Beef Tenderloin with Wine Sauce

Servings: 4-6
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 1 Hour 20 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

Ingredients

For the Sauce

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped shallots, from 2-3 large shallots
  • 1-1/4 cups red wine
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 6 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

For the Beef

  • 1 (2 - 3 lb) center cut beef tenderloin roast
  • Kosher salt (1/2 teaspoon per pound of beef)
  • Freshly ground black pepper (1/4 teaspoon per pound of beef)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup beef broth

Instructions

For the Sauce

  1. Melt 5 tablespoons of the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the shallots and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, 7 to 8 minutes. Add the wine, beef broth, thyme sprigs, salt, pepper and sugar, and bring to a boil. Cook over medium heat for about 30 minutes, or until the liquid is reduced by about half.
  2. While the liquid is reducing, place the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter in a small bowl and soften in the microwave, if necessary. Add the flour and, using a small spoon, mix into a smooth paste.
  3. Once the wine mixture is reduced, reduce the heat to low and remove the thyme sprigs. Whisk the flour-butter paste, a teaspoonful at a time, into the simmering liquid, and simmer for a few minutes, until the sauce is thickened. Set aside. (The sauce can be made up to this point and refrigerated up to 3 days ahead of time.)

For the Tenderloin

  1. Let beef stand at room temperature for 1 hour before roasting. Set an oven rack in the middle position and preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Season the beef all over with kosher salt and pepper. Heat the oil in an oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat until almost smoking. Cook, turning with tongs, until well browned on all but one side, about 10 minutes total. Turn the tenderloin so that the un-seared side is down, and transfer the skillet directly to the preheated oven. (If your pan isn't oven-proof, transfer the beef to a lightly oiled roasting pan). Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the meat registers 120°F-125° for medium rare, about 15 minutes, or until done to your liking (115°F-120°F for rare, 130°F-135°F for medium). Keep in mind that these temperatures account for the fact that the temperature will continue to rise about 5 degrees while the meat rests.
  3. Transfer the roast to a carving board (preferably with a well for collecting juices) and let it rest, covered loosely with aluminum foil, for 10 to 15 minutes. Place a dishtowel or oven mitt over the handle of the roasting pan to remind yourself that it's hot.
  4. Meanwhile, carefully discard the fat from the roasting pan (remember that the handle is hot!). Set the pan on the stovetop and add the beef broth. Bring the broth to a boil, using a wooden spoon to scrape the fond (brown bits) from the bottom of the pan. Add the flavorful broth to the red wine sauce, and then bring the sauce to a simmer.
  5. Carve the tenderloin into 1/3-inch-thick slices. Serve the beef, passing the red wine sauce at the table.
  6. Note: If doubling the recipe, use two center cuts rather than a whole beef tenderloin. A whole beef tenderloin tapers, so it won't cook evenly.

Nutrition Information

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  • Per serving (6 servings)
  • Fat: 61 g
  • Saturated fat: 26 g
  • Carbohydrates: 9 g
  • Sugar: 3 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 49 g
  • Sodium: 1093 mg
  • Cholesterol: 233 mg

Reviews & Comments

  • 5 stars

    Delicious! I will definitely make the sauce again, it filled the kitchen with such a wonderful fragrance. It did take longer than 30 min to reduce though. Next time I want to try with another cut of beef to save $ at the butcher.

    - Melanie on January 8, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Another winner! Thanks for all the great recipes!

    - Tamara on January 7, 2017 Reply
  • Can corn starch or something else be substituted for the 2 tablespoons of flour? I don’t eat wheat or wheat gluten, but a gluten free version of this would please both wheat free and gluten free/celiacs would be appreciated.

    - Bob Moore on January 5, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Bob, gluten-free flour would work nicely here. Hope you enjoy!

      - Jenn on January 5, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Made this for Christmas dinner and it was was delicious and the meat melted in our mouths.
    The one question I have is the sauce did not reduce down much after 1 hour or so and after adding the butter and flour it didn’t thicken much. I didn’t want a thick or runny sauce. Finally I used some cornstarch with some of the broth and that helped but I thought it dulled the taste someone. I do live at 7,500 feet which might be the problem. Everyone loved the sauce, but I knew the difference. Any suggestions.

    - Bev on January 4, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Bev, glad you enjoyed the tenderloin, but sorry to hear you had a problem with the sauce. I don’t know much about cooking at high altitude, but I did find some interesting info here that may provide some guidance. Bottomline, it sounds like the elevation can affect the cooking time, but an hour definitely should’ve done the trick. Next time you could use more of the flour-butter paste as that will help to thicken the sauce.

      - Jenn on January 5, 2017 Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    I would like to make this for a dinner party at another person’s home. Would it be possible to seat the meat at my home and finish it in the oven at their house? Any tips would be appreciated.
    Thank you,
    Kelly

    - Kelly on January 2, 2017 Reply
    • Yes, definitely. Just be sure to transport it in the pan you sear it in since you’ll need all the brown bits to finish the sauce.

      - Jenn on January 3, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Terrific recipe ! The thermometer took all the questions away as to how long to cook the meat, and the wine sauce is to die for. I’ve now made it twice. I’d like to use this recipe for my night to cook at a houseparty. Would it be OK to make the wine sauce ahead and freeze it ?

    - Joan on December 31, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Joan, Glad you enjoyed it. I do think this sauce would freeze well, although I’d probably wait to whisk in the flour/butter paste until you reheat it.

      - Jenn on December 31, 2016 Reply
  • I was wanting to make this recipe for 3 people so was going to half the sauce and use filets instead of tenderloin roast. Do you see any alterations I need to make in cooking instructions regarding the sauce? Thanks for your amazing blog-it’s my go-to for reliable and delicious recipes!

    - Amy on December 30, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Amy, Glad you’re enjoying the recipes! If you cut the sauce in half, it will take less time to reduce. I’m not sure exactly how long it will take so just keep an eye on it. Hope you enjoy it!

      - Jenn on December 30, 2016 Reply
      • 5 stars

        This was fantastic! Thanks so much.

        - Amy on January 1, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this for Christmas Eve dinner and it came out perfect!! My family loved it!

    - Jess K on December 29, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this for guests last night and it was perfect. Thanks so much for this great recipe. I did add shiitake mushrooms to the sauce and I used cornstarch instead of flour so my gluten free husband could eat it. Delicious!

    - Alison on December 29, 2016 Reply
  • 3 stars

    Wine sauce was awesome. However, the beef was not as tasty.

    - gsmontana on December 29, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I just made the roast tenderloin for Christmas and it was perfect. I must say I was terrified at the thought that I may ruin this beautiful $30 a pound tenderloin, but it was perfect and my kitchen wasn’t full of smoke as it had been the only other time I had tried to do it.
    Thank you so much Jennifer for your recipes. I’ve tried several and they are the best: delicious and easy.

    - Josseline on December 29, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Jenn thank you for this recipe we had this for Christmas dinner and it was a GREAT hit. My husband cooked it on the grill and when we cut into to meat I added the juices to the sauce. This will become a family regular on special occasions. I would give it way more than 5 stars!

    - Sherie on December 29, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Very delicious! Since we were serving 8 people we bought two smaller roasts so they would be cooked evenly throughout. Be sure to give your roast plenty of time to warm up to room temperature. We apparently did not and so had to cook it quite a bit longer to reach the ideal interior temperature. Here’s a tip for avoiding tough meat when reheating leftover beef: put the slices in a zip locking bag and immerse it in a pan of hot water in the sink. Replace water as it cools. Run water over the bag to speed up the process. We tried this for the first time and the meat came out warm and retained its juiciness. Thanks, Jen, for another wonderful recipe!

    - Beth on December 29, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this for Christmas dinner. It was so good! My tenderloin was big nearly 8 lbs, I cut into two slabs, it was fork tender! Had leftovers that I made into gourmet dinner sandwiches layered onto toasted gluten-free bread with sautéed onion/spinach, fresh tomatoes and provolone, broiled to melt. The wine sauce was divine! I didn’t have shallots but used a whole small red onion but oh my….. the best onion/wine sauce! Your recipe is the best Jen!

    - Nita on December 29, 2016 Reply
  • If I make the sauce ahead of time, how do I reheat the sauce day of?k

    - Kasia on December 27, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Kasia, I refrigerate the sauce in the pan and then just reheat over low heat on the stovetop. Enjoy!

      - Jenn on December 27, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I usually do not write reviews but I had to this time.
    Made this for our Hanukah dinner and it was fabulous! Everyone loved it. The wine sauce was spectacular.
    Thank you for the recipe. This will be made again in our household.

    - Keri on December 27, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This was a huge hit for the family. It was simple, elegant, and (best of all) delicious. The best part was that the sauce could simmer as the beef was cooking and the rest of the meal was coming together. Everyone thought I slaved for hours over this meal, but it was the simplest Christmas dinner I ever made. Thank you!

    - Connica Lemond on December 25, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I fixed this for Christmas Eve dinner and it was amazing, truly fork tender. The sauce perfect!! So out of 5 stars I give it a 10:)
    I have 47 years of failed beef roasts behind me, finally success! Thanks Jenn

    - Bernadette on December 25, 2016 Reply
  • The store says the center cut tenderloin is only a 1lb or 1.25lbs not bigger. Someone bought me a whole filet, a little under 3lbs. Is that a different cut? What should I do? I have everything else

    - Elle on December 24, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Elle, A whole tenderloin will work fine – just keep in mind that the beef will be more well done where it tapers.

      - Jenn on December 24, 2016 Reply
      • 5 stars

        That actually worked very well considering my family has varying preferences of how they like their meat cooked. They LOVED it, and it made our Christmas Eve dinner more than special. Thank you. I’m so excited about the book. You make me look like a rock star chef to my kids and husband!

        - Elle on December 26, 2016 Reply
  • Hi Jenn, I had already bought a 5 lb rump roast when I saw this recipe. Do you think it would still work? The wine sauce sounds to die for!! Thanks

    - Abbie on December 24, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Abbie, I do think it will work well, although the cook time will be longer. Please let me know how it turns out if you try it :).

      - Jenn on December 24, 2016 Reply
      • 5 stars

        Excellent!! Searing the beef was a great tip. The sauce was phenomenal. Served with your baked latkes, roasted carrots with thyme and pomegranate sangria. Amazing reviews. Thanks again for yet another winning holiday meal.

        - Abbie on December 26, 2016 Reply
  • A little confused… the recipe says to add beef broth and wine along with other ingredients but then you mention near the end to add again beef broth to the mixture. Are you saying to add more beef broth and how much?

    - Nina on December 23, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Nina, Yes, beef broth is used twice. If you click on the “recipe” tab, you’ll find specific instructions.

      - Jenn on December 23, 2016 Reply
  • Jenn- I’m making this on Christmas Day. If I am getting a 6 lb. tenderloin- do I need to double the sauce? That seems like a lot.
    Thank you in advance. I am a huge fan and people think I’m actually a good cook thanks to your fantastic recipes!!!

    - Sandy N on December 23, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Sandy, So glad you’re having success with the recipes. I’d definitely double the sauce for a 6lb tenderloin. Hope everyone enjoys it and please come back and lmk how it turns out :). Happy Holidays!

      - Jenn on December 23, 2016 Reply
      • Thanks for the quick response! Will let you know how it turns out although you have not failed me yet!

        - Sandy N on December 23, 2016 Reply
  • Hi Jenn-
    I’m making this for our family Christmas Eve dinner.
    I originally ordered two 3 pound beef tenderloins, with guest list of 12 ppl and suddenly we are now expecting 14-16 ppl! Should I order another tenderloin? Any advice would be helpful.

    - Jennifer R. on December 23, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Jennifer, I would either order another one or offer another main course, like a ham or side or salmon. I would always rather have too much food than too little — and I think you’ll be short with just the two tenderloins. Plus, leftovers make fabulous sandwiches. Hope that helps!

      - Jenn on December 23, 2016 Reply
      • Great idea! Thanks!

        - Jennifer R on December 23, 2016 Reply
  • We don’t drink alcohol. Is there a substitute for the red wine?

    - B on December 22, 2016 Reply
    • Sorry, B – there’s no substitute for the wine in this recipe. You might try a horseradish, mustard or bearnaise sauce instead.

      - Jenn on December 22, 2016 Reply
  • Hello. The beef looks delicious. Can I make the sauce without the wine? What would I substitute?
    Thank you very much.

    - Dawn Turpin on December 22, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Dawn, Unfortunately, the sauce won’t work without the wine. Sorry! I’d suggest going with a different type of sauce, like a béarnaise or horseradish sauce.

      - Jenn on December 22, 2016 Reply
  • This sounds delicious! I’m planning to make it for Christmas dinner. We are also having mashed potatoes, will there be enough sauce to use as gravy for the potatoes too? Or should I make additional sauce to stretch it? I will be serving 5 adults and one 11 year old boy who LOVES mashed potatoes and gravy! Thank you! Amy

    - Amy Wagner on December 21, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Amy, I do think you’ll have plenty but if you want to play it safe, you might increase the recipe by half.

      - Jenn on December 21, 2016 Reply
  • I know nothing about wine, so what would you suggest, and please be as specific as possible, and maybe give me more than one suggestion, in case I have a difficult time finding it. Thank you so very much! Also, I noticed that some recipes call for brandy. What do you think of that? How would it change the flavor? Thank you so much for the recipe; I am anxious to try it!

    - Jeanine on December 21, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Jeanine, Any dry red wine (like a cabernet sauvignon, merlot or pinot noir) will work. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or expensive; just something that you would enjoy drinking a glass of. I don’t think this sauce needs any brandy because it’s very flavorful as-is, but you could certainly add a splash if you’d like.

      - Jenn on December 21, 2016 Reply
  • I can’t wait to try this for Christmas. I bought a 7lb tenderloin and will cut it in 1/2, but wondering the approximate cooking time. I just want to make sure I put it in early enough.

    - Kerry on December 21, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Kerry, Roast the meat until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the meat registers 120°F-125° for medium-rare, or until done to your liking (115°F-120°F for rare, 130°F-135°F for medium). I suspect the two tenderloins would take around 20 minutes, but using the thermometer is your best bet. Happy holidays!

      - Jenn on December 21, 2016 Reply
      • 5 stars

        Thank you for this wonderful recipe and quick response. I made an 7lb tenderloin for Christmas Eve dinner and it was loved by everyone. Perfect for a large party-most of the prep was done before and I could enjoy my guests.

        - Kerry on December 24, 2016 Reply
  • If I need to serve 8, should I cook one bigger roast or 2 smaller ones?

    - MarshA on December 19, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Marsha, I suggest two smaller roasts of the same size; they’ll cook more evenly than a large roast that tapers.

      - Jenn on December 19, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Wow oh wow, I made this tonight for my family of six. The meat and sauce were delicious, thank you !!!

    - Nette on December 18, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    How do I cook and serve this beef tenderloin AND the potato gratin…and Popovers?

    - mary McKeaney on December 18, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Mary, if you’re referring to cooking them in the same oven, you can cook the beef at 350 degrees (like the potatoes) instead of 400. It will just take a little longer to cook. Regarding the popovers, I can’t say because I don’t know the baking temp. Even so, the oven could get pretty full with all 3 things in there!

      - Jenn on December 18, 2016 Reply
  • Is it possible to use this recipe with a NY strip roast cut instead of the beef tenderloin?

    - audrey on December 16, 2016 Reply
    • Sure, Audrey, I think that would work well. The cook time may be different so just go by the temperature. Please let me know how it turns out :).

      - Jenn on December 17, 2016 Reply
      • 5 stars

        It turned out great! I just used the thermometer to determine the cooking time. Thanks very much!! :)

        - Audrey on December 18, 2016 Reply
  • I made your beef stew last February at a family get together, it was a huge success, thanks! They all took home you receipe. Now I plan on doing this beef tenderloin for Christmas Eve. If I cook two, do I add more time? If same size can I get by with one thermometer? Would it be ok to use a Dutch oven? I think it would hold two tenderloins. Thanks!

    - Bernadette on December 16, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Bernadette, So glad your family enjoyed the beef stew! You shouldn’t need to increase the cooking time for the beef — and you can definitely get away with one thermometer if the tenderloins are the same size. It’s also fine to use a Dutch oven. The sauce may take a little longer to reduce, depending on the size of the pan, but it shouldn’t be significant. Hope everyone enjoys it!

      - Jenn on December 16, 2016 Reply
  • Hi Jen, Congratulations on the cookbook. I am thinking of making the beef tenderloin for Christmas dinner. Can I substitute a flour substitute called Four by Four, sold at Williams and Sanoma. I have children with celiac disease. Thanks, Mary

    - Mary Fitzgerald on December 16, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Mary, I’m not familiar with that product but if it works for thickening, it should be fine. You could also try cornstarch mixed with a little cold water, and then just swirl the butter in separately. Hope that helps!

      - Jenn on December 16, 2016 Reply
    • I’m probably too late to help you out here, but I just wanted to say that in several years of cooking gluten-free for my son, I discovered that sorghum flour is a great substitute for wheat flour when thickening gravies and sauces. It has a good flavor and gives a similar texture, unlike cornstarch, which tends to produce a somewhat slippery and jelly-like feel.

      - Anna on December 24, 2016 Reply
      • Great tip, Anna. Thank you!

        - Jenn on December 24, 2016 Reply
  • 15 min cook time or 15 min per pound? why I ask is the instructions state 1hr 20 min.

    - Susan on December 15, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Susan, The beef should cook for about 15 minutes total, not per pound. The recipe cooking time includes the sauce. Sorry if that wasn’t completely clear!

      - Jenn on December 16, 2016 Reply
      • I’ll be serving this Christmas Day..thank you

        - Susan on December 17, 2016 Reply
  • Was just thinking about what I’d be serving for Christmas Eve dinner next week. Thanks for another fantastic recipe Jenn! And you even used the Beaujolais Nouveau, which is outstanding this year. Can’t wait to try this sauce!

    - Melissa on December 15, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Can I use a cast iron pan to sear the meat and cook it in the oven?

    - Beth on December 15, 2016 Reply
    • Sure!

      - Jenn on December 15, 2016 Reply
  • Thanks for this wonderful recipe. Question – I notice that you have 2 spots on the tenderloin tied off, any reason? Didn’t see this in the instructions.
    Thanks
    Andree’
    New Orleans, Louisiana

    - Andree Bourgeois on December 15, 2016 Reply
    • Hi Andree, I bought it that way — butchers often tie tenderloin so it holds its shape. If yours comes that way, leave the string on until after it’s cooked. Hope you enjoy it!

      - Jenn on December 15, 2016 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Thank You !! I have asked you before if you had a recipe for this and you did not have one yet. This looks delicious !!! Thank you and have a Merry Christmas !!!

    - Char on December 15, 2016 Reply

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