Sunday, 24 April 2016

Bacon Wrapped Beef Tenderloin with Cauliflower and Blue Cheese Hash

Believe it or not, this whole meal was based around the need to use up a small piece of blue cheese! It lead to using the cauliflower, because who doesn't love cauliflower and blue cheese. A need for a starch lead to the potatoes being added, and for meat I chose to use one of the pieces of beef tenderloin that were in the freezer. This was a good choice with the blue cheese as well, and then the bacon in the fridge became just another logical part of a delicious meal.

In lightly salted water, cook until barely cooked (a slight bit undercooked is good for this):

2 cups of diced red skinned potatoes
2 cups of cauliflower florets

Drain and allow to cool.

Prepare the herb rub for the beef, by mixing together:

2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 cloves of minced fresh garlic

Cut the beef tenderloin into pieces that are at least as thick as the width of the bacon you will be using.

Cut 2 slices of bacon in half.

Divide the herb and pepper mixture between the four pieces of beef, and rub it around the outside of each one.

Gently stretch the bacon as you wrap a piece around each piece of beef. Secure with a toothpick.

Set aside while the grill heats.

Start the hash by heating a large frying pan, or wok, and adding olive oil and:

1 medium onion, sliced

Cook, stirring often, until the onion starts to caramelize.

Add the cooked and cooled potatoes and cauliflower and continue to cook on a medium high heat, stirring often.

Season with salt and pepper.

Continue to cook, allowing the potatoes and cauliflower to heat through and begin to crisp on the outside.

While the hash is cooking, the beef can be cooked on the hot, well oiled grill.

Cook until the meat is done to your liking, and then remove it from the grill and allow it to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

While the meat is resting, taste and adjust the seasoning in the hash, and then add:

1/2 cup of crumbled blue cheese

To serve, place some of the hash onto the plate and top with the grilled beef. I reserved a small amount of crumbled blue cheese to sprinkle onto the beef.

  • Blue cheese is a good pairing with potatoes, cauliflower and beef. It adds creaminess, saltiness and tanginess which helps to offset the richness of the beef. Other cheeses that would work in the same way are goat cheese, asiago or fontina.
  • I like to use red skinned potatoes for hash, as russet potatoes tend to become too soft and lose their shape during the cooking. Red potatoes have a firmer flesh, and hold together nicely. Purple potatoes, Yukon Golds or Kennebecs can also be used.
  • Cut the cauliflower florets into bite size. When cauliflower is sauteed it starts to become golden and crispy on the outside, which adds sweetness but also gives a nice contrast to the soft inside. I often pre-boil cauliflower and then cook it like this, sprinkling it with grated Parmesan just before serving. A much healthier version of cauliflower in cheese sauce!
  • I used quite a lot of pepper to crust the beef, as beef and pepper sauce is a classical combination. Use dried green or pink peppercorns, or a mixture if you like. Remember that pink peppercorns will add a slightly lemony flavour to your beef.
  • I chose thyme as the herb for this dish; other herbs that complement beef are rosemary, parsley and basil.
  • The meat can be thinly coated with mustard before adding the herbs.
  • As the bacon adds a lot of salt, I did not add salt to the herb crust, or salt the meat while cooking. By gently stretching the bacon as you wrap it around the beef, you create thinner slices, which will cook and crisp up nicely. Thicker cuts of bacon will take longer to cook than the beef , and no one likes to eat soggy bacon.
  • The beef tenderloin can be crusted and wrapped as one piece. Roll it in the herb mixture and then wrap the required number of bacon slices around the meat, overlapping them slightly. Tying the meat with string would work better in this instance than toothpicks. Allow the meat to rest for 5 - 10 minutes before cutting into thick slices and serving.
  • If you prefer, the beef can be cooked in a pan on the stove top and finished in the oven.
  • Other meats that can be cooked this way are pork tenderloin, lamb loin, chicken breast or firm fish such as halibut.
  • The meat can be prepared up to a day ahead, or it can be prepared and frozen for another time.

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