Fancy dinners – beef tenderloin with Champagne risotto


These holidays have been so busy, but I love to take a little time for a romantic, private dinner with Z. This year, we did our own separate “Christmas,” where we exchanged stockings and included a fancy, and very expensive, dinner. This would work well for a New Year’s Eve, or New Year’s Day kind of feast as well.

First, I have to confess how I always make a fool of myself whenever I go to the butchers. I am completely useless at knowing anything about cuts of meat, or what it is going to cost me! Luckily, the guys at Second to None Butchers on 4th St., in Mission, are ever patient with me.

I decided I wanted to make a beef tenderloin recipe for the main. I thought this recipe was one of my father’s; however, I realize now I have no idea where the whole thing came from. It certainly is delicious, though, and will be repeated. Only on special occasions, though, and I will certainly not be sharing with the kids. The recipe called for 3 to 5 lbs of beef tenderloin. I split the difference and asked for 4 lbs. The butcher immediately responded with: “That will be about 200, 210. Do you still want to go with that?” (Bless him, by the way).

I don’t know whether it’s the pregnancy, or my ignorance in all things meat-related, but I couldn’t process this through my foggy head. After a long beat, I responded with “Come again?”

Beef tenderloin costs how much?!!?!


Luckily the butcher sense my unease (horror) and asked me how many people I was cooking for. Since it was only for two people, he quickly let me know that I really only needed about a lb, or a little more for leftovers. Still, more than $50 for one course of a meal had my heart standing still. Z better enjoy what I’m making him!


The recipe itself is very simple, making the most of the tasty quality meat I’ve just shed tears over:

Beef Tenderloin:

3-5 centre-cut tenderloin, roast tied (obviously, this will serve more than two people and will set you back)

2 tsp granulated beef bouillon

2 tsp salt

3/4 tsp each of oregano, cornstarch, garlic powder, paprika


Place rack in middle of oven. Preheat to 475F.

Pat tenderlion dry. Stir together rub.

Pour oil over tenderloin, rub with spices. Put on roasting pan and roast for 10 minutes.

Reduce oven temp to 425F and cook until meat thermometre reads 130C. Let beef stand on rack 10-20 minutes. Cut beef in 1/4-inch thick slices and serve with horseradish.

I like the drama of this photo!

I like the drama of this photo!

To complement the dish, I went with a decadent family favourite dish of mine, Risotto allo Champagne.

2 1/2 cups of short grained rice, like Arborio

Bottle of dry, sparkling wine

Chicken broth

1/2 cup butter

1/2 small onion, finely chopped

1 cup fresh grated Parmasan cheese


Melt half the butter and saute onion until golden. Wet it down with half a cup of wine and cook over med-high heat until evaporated. Add rice and cook, stirring constantly, until grains turn translucent (3-5 minutes). Add wine a ladle at a time, stirring until nearly evaporated, letting it cook into the rice. When wine is finished, continue with  chicken broth.


When rice is just shy of al dente stage, stir in remaining butter and cheese. Mix in well, then serve hot. This recipe is to-die-for delicious, largely due to the over-the-top ingredients going in. Just go with it. I served this with a tomato salad and the whole thing was great and fairly simple to throw together, but dressed up enough for a “grown-up” dinner.


Word of the day:

Gormless: (often pronounced gaumless, chiefly British informal): lacking in vitality or intelligence; stupid, dull or clumsy


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