Fennel and Rosemary Beef Tenderloin, Dinner Holiday Menu

Christmas Dinner At My House

christmas dinner

Every year, and it is my hope to continue, it is our tradition to have a big family meal together on Christmas Eve.

We keep certain foods on our menu because they are something that say “Christmas” to us in a special way, but we also change around the menu occasionally to include new dishes for excitement.

I want to share some of the foods we love with you, and the menus we have enjoyed as a family.

Sharing the holiday meal together is one of the most treasured ways we have celebrated Christmas.

Toys break, sweaters get stretched out and worn, games are forgotten in a drawer, but memories of enjoying a special meal stay woven within our hearts. Foods that create a part of a celebration together are an important part of that experience.

Dream Of An Old Time Christmas?

Memorable recipes are a time honored way to create a special experience that combines tradition, nostalgic memories, and fresh new excitement into your celebration.

The act of sitting around a table that is decked out in a beautiful setting is quite an unusual thing for many of us. Making it simple, special, and homey recalls old time ways of gathering family together for a memorable meal.

Eating Our Christmas Dinner
pear/pomegranate salad
Our first course fo pear/pomegranate salad.

A Festive Christmas Menu

While it is my favorite for Christmas Eve dinner, consider this meal for special times from New Years Ever to Valentines day, and beyond. Anytime you wish to have something to impress your family and guests.
Simply customize the serving amounts.

So what’s on the menu this year?

  • Fennel and Rosemary Beef Tenderloin
  • German style fingerling potatoes
  • Pear and Pomegranate Salad
  • For Dessert: purchased cream puffs and warm fudge sauce
  • Cardamom Rolls

(The Cardamom roll recipe is long, and it takes some time to make, but it is worth it. I’ve had it online with other Christmas recipes I make….)

Why Choose Beef Tenderloin for the Main Course?

Tenderloin is very easy to cook

An expensive cut of meat, but we only have it once a year! An expensive cut of meat, but we only have it once a year!

I know this cut of meat is costly, but if you remember that it is boneless, easy to fix (hard to mess up), and everyone loves it… you might want to consider it as your Christmas dinner menu centerpiece.

It is usually accompanied with a cranberry relish for Christmas, but I sometimes skip that dish , depending on the rest of the menu.

We always have a fruit and a green salad. A side dish of potatoes, sweet potatoes, or noodles is usual; and we always always have the Cardamom rolls that I make only for Christmas Eve.

 

Follow the link for Cardamom Rolls.

Or learn more about the spice, All About Cardamom.[/one_half_last]

 

Holiday plate
Holiday colors

Fennel and Rosemary Beef Tenderloin

This has become our family’s all-time favorite, and the entrée I now make for Christmas dinner. One of the things I like about it is the ease and relatively short cooking time involved.

Make Ahead Tip

The roast can be seasoned and refrigerated up to 4 hours before roasting.

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1-1/2 tsp. fennel seed, ground
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt, or more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper, freshly cracked
  • 2 -1/2- to 3-lb. beef tenderloin roast, with excess fat trimmed
  • 1/2 cup crème fraîche
  • 2 Tbs. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

Instructions

  1. How to make…
  2. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, rosemary, fennel seed, salt, and pepper. Stir to make a paste.
  4. Pat the beef dry with paper towels and rub the paste all over the surface of the meat. If necessary, tie the roast at 1-1/2-inch intervals.
  5. Put the roast on a rack on a small, rimmed baking sheet or in a shallow roasting pan. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center reads 120 °F for rare, 125 ° to 130 °F for medium rare,or 135 °F for medium, 40 to 50 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the crème fraîche, mustard, and lemon juice. Season lightly with salt to taste.
  7. Transfer the roast to a carving board (preferably with a well for collecting juices) and let it rest, uncovered, for 10 to 15 minutes before carving it into 1/3- to 1/2-inch-thick slices. Serve the beef, passing the mustard sauce at the table.
  8. The original recipe was from Fine Cooking magazine.
  9. ————–
  10. I found it difficult to locate the ground fennel, and ended up using a spice grinder to grind up the fennel seeds, myself. since I was able to find containers of Devon cream in the store I used that to replace the crème fraîche.
Crème Fraiche

1 ½ cups whipping cream

4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) buttermilk

Combine cream and buttermilk in a jar with tight fitting lid. Shake well for 2 or 3 minutes. Let stand at warm room temperature for at least 24 hours. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Besides being used for the beef:

Use it as a dessert topping, too. Very good added to vinegar and oil dressings. Delicious over fresh fruit and berries.

How To Cook A Beef Tenderloin

If you have never prepared this roast for a meal before, you may gain confidence from viewing the how-to video.

German-style Fingerling Potatoes

German style fingerling potatoes
This is an easy recipe to make, for something a bit more involved, but extremely tasty, try Fine Cooking’s Glazed Fingerling Potato Salad with Pancetta and Warm Mustard Vinaigrette. This was the original recipe I used;  if you have the time it is excellent with the beef.

Cook Time

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 30-40 minutes

Serves: 6 (6 cups)

Ingredients

  • 2 lb. halved fingerling potatoes
  • 1 Tbsp.olive oil
  • 3 oz. thinly sliced prosciutto
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions
  • a little chopped parsley
  • bacon can be substituted for the proscuitto

Instructions

  1. Boil the potatoes in a large pot of salted water over medium high heat until almost tender, 5 to 8 minutes, drain.
  2. Sauté prosciutto in oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat until crisp, 5 minutes -or the bacon cut into pieces. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside. Return pan back to burner, add vinegar and sugar and simmer until sugar is dissolved. Add potatoes, simmer 4 to 5 minutes, then stir in prosciutto (bacon bits), add parsley, season with salt and pepper. Garnish with scallions.

Pear and Pomegranate Salad

– Refreshing, Colorful, and Easy

pear pomegranate salad
Pear-Pomegranate salad

This is one of my all time favorites. It is fancy looking with its creamy white pears, ruby red pomegranate seeds, and deep pink syrup sauce, yet quite simple.

Ingredients

  • 3 pears thinly sliced – two red pears and one Asian
  • 1 pomegranate seeded
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons sliced almonds (optional)
  • 4 sprigs fresh mint leaves for garnish (optional)
  • dark green lettuce leaves

Instructions

  1. Place the sliced pears and pomegranate seeds into a bowl.
  2. Toss with lemon juice to coat.
  3. Combine the brown sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon in a small cup or bowl, then mix into the fruit.
  4. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving to blend the flavors.
  5. Serve in individual dishes on a bed of lettuce greens, and garnish with a sprinkling of sliced almonds with a sprig of mint
  • Cook time: 20 min
  • Ready in: 20 min

Whole Green Beans – Simply delicious

  • 3/4 lb whole green beans
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons whole-grain Dijon mustard

Instructions

fancy whole green beans
fancy whole green beans
  1. Fill a bowl with ice water.
  2. Cook beans in a large pot of salted boiling water just until crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain beans and transfer to ice water. Drain well in a colander and pat dry.
  3. Heat oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Sauté beans with mustard and salt and pepper to taste, stirring, until heated through, about 4 minutes.

Recipe from Epicurious which is closest to how I make these simple green beans.

Pioneer Woman Talks about Holiday Foods

Some of my best holiday recipes and serving ideas have come from special holiday cookbooks. They are inspirational and come in a wide variety of cuisines to cater to every tradition and taste.

Once I found a set of menus that my family really enjoyed we rotated them through the years. We always seem to have a few things that we can’t do without for our holiday repast… usually the sweet potatoes and Waldorf salad (and of course, my Cardamom rolls).

Christmas Holiday Cookbooks


Christmas Entertaining (Williams-Sonoma)

This is a book of inspirations for all types of holiday meals and party fare. It includes the menus plus the decorating ideas and everything needed to make it a time to remember.

How to decorate the table festively and work plans to make everything happen without a hitch.

Holiday Settings – Festive Table Trimmings

Christmas Oldtime Dinner

Whether it is a few hand-picked pieces or an entire set of china dedicated to the trimmings of the season, it really brightens the table setting to have plates or serving pieces with iconic Christmas trees, bright ribbons, or snow scenes. Spode and Lennox are just a few of the companies which are famous for Yuletide dinnerware designs.

My sister has a complete set of dinnerware for the season, while I tend to pick up bowls and platters from after Christmas sales. They add a cheering note of pretty color to my all-white stoneware. When fixing a special meal like beef tenderloin, this servingware really showcases the special foods, economically.

Christmas table setting
Christmas table setting

 

Pretty dishes that are perfect for holiday dinners make the table part of the annual tradition. I always loved to see certain cups and dishes that were reserved for special family times on my grandmother’s table.

Spode Christmas Tree 12-Piece Dinnerware Set, Service for 4

Spode Christmas Tree 12-Piece Dinnerware Set, Service for 4

Set a festive table with this fine dinnerware perfect for the Christmas season. Made by one of the best names in fine pottery.

 

Not Christmas Yet?

 

When first writing this, it was far from Christmas time. For Christmas aficionados I know no apologies are necessary. Some people (like me!) are only too delighted for an excuse to plan the upcoming Christmas celebration.

Originally published by Ilona Erwin on 05/10/11