This week is Mardi Gras, the annual celebration of all that is excessive, indulgent and covered in glitter and feathers! I’ve had the pleasure of going to Mardi Gras twice so far in my life. Once during college with about 20 of my closest friends to stay with one of the guys’ families (Hi Boschs!). My naive eyes had never seen such a party, and our native born hosts showed us how to do Mardi Gras right! From eating Popeye’s while watching the epic parades during the day, to making King Cake, to throwing beads to party people from a balcony on Bourbon St. Those days, pre-Katrina, the French quarter was CRAZY even for my standards. There are many epic tales of that weekend and how I got to know the NOLAPD well, but we’ll save those tales for another day.
Later on, post-Katrina, I got to return to see the true spirit of New Orleans, that had persisted through the intense recovery after the storm in order to ensure that party would go on! My friend Jay showed me how the people of New Orleans came back out of love for their city, to rebuild this amazing place that has such a palpable soul. We danced in the streets past piles of wreckage and past trees with branches drooping with beads. New Orleans is about defiant survival with a shot of whisky and a splash of jazz.
Each time I visit New Orleans, the overriding sensation that follows me home is the down to earth, open-arms welcoming hospitality everyone shows. You aren’t just a passing visitor to the city; the moment you let yourself get swept away in the city’s magic, you become family.
This dinner, I wanted to capture that southern hospitality and spunkiness in a Cajun inspired meal in honor of Mardi Gras and all the great times I’ve had in New Orleans. The menu was:
- Jambalaya Bites (recipe coming soon)
- Cajun Spiced Tenderloin w/ Bourbon Glaze
- Chef DAT’s White Beans
- White Cheddar Grits
- Sauteed Mustard Greens
- Gangsta King Cake
To all my guests, I hope you felt some of that NOLA love in this meal!
I found this great recipe for the tenderloin and tweaked it some. Really great flavors. Definitely a sassy tenderloin! A few notes from my first experience cooking a whole tenderloin:
- Buying tenderloin untrimmed will save you lots of $$$ and it’s not hard to trim at all. I found this great video to show me how.
- I looked EVERYWHERE for cooking twine to tie up the roast, and ended up getting some for free after asking a butcher at my local grocery!
- 4 steps: Rub, Sear, Roast, Rest. Easy! You can add all sorts of other fancy stuff, but those 4 steps are the core.
- Even though it was a decadant meal, tenderloin is actually one of the leanest cuts of beef. Plays well with the marinade & rub method.
- 6.5-7 lb untrimmed tenderloin
- 3/4 cup worcestershire sauce
- 6 TB molasses
- 6 TB dijon mustard
- 3 TB cracked black pepper (Try not to get carpal tunnel here)
- 3 TB dry minced garlic
- 3 TB paprika
- 1 TB kosher salt
- 1 TB cayenne
- 1 TB cajun spice mix (no salt, or skip the salt if your cajun mix has salt)
- 1 cup bourbon
- 1 cup dijon mustard
- 1 cup light brown sugar
1. Trim the tenderloin – Basically, you are going to cut all the excess fat and any “silver skin” – the shiny transluscent stuff on the top of the meat – off of the meat. Then cut that baby in 1/2 so you have two pieces you can cook to different doneness.
2. Mix together the marinade.
3. Place your tenderloin in a large container and pour the marinade on top. Turn to coat. Cover and let marinate for 8 – 24 hrs in the fridge.
4. About 2 hrs before meal time, mix together all the rub ingredients in a bowl.
5. Remove tenderloin from marinade and discard. Dry off the meat with paper towels to remove any excess marinde.
6. Take each 1/2 and tuck the end under so it’s a pretty uniform thickness. Tie with cooking twine at about 2 inch intervals. Cut off any excess twine at the ends.
7. Rub the cajun spice rub all over the tenderloin. Be generous! Let the meat sit for about 20-30 min to come up to room temp.
8. Turn the oven to 450 while you are waiting.
9. Whisk together the glaze and set aside in a bowl.
10. Once tenderloin is warmed up, heat a large pan up to high and add some olive oil. Sear the tenderloin on all 4 sides and place in a rack in a roasting pan. Repeat with the other tenderloin.
11. Place roasting pan in oven and roast for 20 min for rare/30 min for medium rare. Internal temp should be 135 degrees, but I couldn’t find my meat thermometer at the time, so I just guessed.
12. During last 10 min of roasting, baste with the bourbon glaze.
13. Once done, remove from oven and let sit for 10 min to let juices redistribute.
14. Pour theremaining glaze into a pan and reduce down while waiting for meat to rest.
15. Cut the tenderloin into 1.5-2 in slices and place on plate. Serve with the reduced glaze as an awesome sauce!
*Note – Over the next few weeks, expect to see a lot of delicious BEEF recipes here at Cookie Loves Eating, sponsored by the Texas Beef Council! There will be 4 sessions total, so get ready to get BEEFY with me!! Check out the other recipes below: