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Honey Ducks’ Grilled Tenderloin with Sweet Potato Mashers and Balsamic Redution Sauce

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    I’ve always used terms of endearment to refer to the people I love. This sounds goofy coming from a man, but actually both men and women do this regulary. If you look up the top 5 affectionate names that we assign to our friends, partners and spouses, they all have sort of sweet ingredient, baked good, or cute animal somewhere within them.  I mention this because of the name I’ve given this simple to make recipe.  I call it, Honey Ducks’ Grilled Beef Tenderloin with Sweet Potato Mashers and a Balsamic Reduction Sauce.  I don’t want you to mis-understand the recipe since it does not include any honey and certainly there is no duck involved. Honey Duck was my affectionate name for the person I loved and cared about the most and this was her favorite meal. We cooked this plate together on a New Year’s Eve. I hope it brings as much joy and happiness for you as it did for me and I hope to be able to make it for her sometime in the future. Please enjoy with a glass of Cabernet or a nice Merlot. N’oublie pas de boucher le vin. – Tpum

Mise en Place:

 I geared this recipe toward a romantic meal at home. If you want to prepare it for a larger amount of guests, you will be better off asking your butcher to sell you whole Tenderloin. This is a more economical way to feed several people, but not everyone is willing to remove the silver-skin and trim it properly. If you want to have a go at being a boucherie, watch my video.

≽       2, 6-8 oz cuts of Beef Tenderloin or ask your butcher to sell you a whole loin. He will be willing to trim and cut it for you if you compliment him beforehand.

≽       2 Sweet Potatoes or Yams. (Please use fresh and not canned). Peeled and cut in half and then in quarters.

≽       1 cup High Grade Balsamic Vinegar. The best you can find originates from Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy. Trader Joes has a great selection. All of them offered at different price points. Please don’t even think of buying “balsamic” produced in the US. Balsamic Vinegar isn’t really vinegar in the usual sense. The original traditional product (Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale), was made from a reduction of cooked white Trebbiano grape juice and not a vinegar.

≽       Kosher Salt

≽       Cracked Triple Colored peppercorn

Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena DOP - I...

Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena DOP - Italia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

≽       Light oil

≽       Unsalted Butter


Equipment needed:

  •  BBQ or outdoor grill. If neither is available, use a trusty cast iron skillet
  •  Long handled tongs
  •  Vegetable steamer or microwave cooking bags
  •  Potato masher
  •  Medium sauce pan
  •  Pepper grinder
  •  Spoon
  •  Potato Peeler

Let’s begin:

  This recipe is super simple and does not take many steps to complete unless you plan to filet the tenderloin yourself.

  Place your tenderloin filets on a plate and sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Cold meat takes longer to cook and I find it is perfectly ok to let sit out for no more than 30 minutes. It always gives me better results. Coat the meat with a very small amount of oil.

  To make the balsamic reduction sauce, simply pour the balsamic vinegar into a heavy bottomed sauce pan over medium heat. This is not a time to multitask as it requires constant attention. Whisk the balsamic regularly. As with any type of reduction, the larger the surface of the sauce pan, the faster a liquid will reduce. You will notice that as the “vinegar” reduces, it becomes thicker and thicker. This is due to the natural sugars in the balsamic. You will know when to stop the reduction by testing it with a spoon. You want the spoon to show a coating without any drips. Remove from heat and mount the sauce with a small amount of cold butter. This will give the sauce a nice sheen. 

  While you wait for the meat to raise a few degrees, take the peeled sweet potatoes and steam in a vegetable steamer until a fork inserts easily. I use a microwave cooking bag because it’s incredibly fast and the results are the same. Follow the times printed on the bag. About 5-7 minutes.

  Place into a bowl and mash like any potatoes. You may add a little butter if you wish, but Honey Duck and I found that they tasted great without any additions. Cover and keep warm until serving.

  Over medium-high heat on your BBQ or gas grill, place the pieces cut or flat side down, not on the rounded side. Grill using the following chart for your preferred level of doneness. I prefer medium to medium well. A point to remember is that tenderloin is just that, tender. However, it does not have much flavor on its own and that’s due to a fact that it has very little, if any, marbling of fat. (Fat = Flavor). For this reason, you will always find it served with a flavorful sauce to compensate for the lack of flavor.

Cut Size of Cut Rare ( 125˚ ) Medium (140˚) Well ( 170˚ )
Filet 1 inch 6-7 min 7-9 min 9-12 min
Filet 1 ½ inch 10-12 min 12-15 min 15-19 min
File 2 inch 15-17 min 17-19 min 19-22 min
Whole Loin 5-5 lbs. 50 min 1 1/4 BAD IDEA

**For searing, allow 2 minutes for 1-inch-thick steaks and 4 minutes for 1½ – 2-inch-thick steaks. Turn steaks and move to a cooler medium heat to finish grilling, turning once halfway through remaining grilling time. The cooking times in the chart include searing. Use a meat thermometer to check your temps. 

 * NOTE* Eating undercooked meats can have serious health implications*

Once you’ve arrived at your preferred temperature, remove from the grill and place on a platter to rest for 5-7 minutes.

To present this dish well, take a scoop of the sweet potato mashers and drop a dollop in the center of the plate. You can serve the tenderloin sliced as I have done in the picture or if you prefer, leave it whole and lightly set it atop the potatoes. Don’t mash it down. With a spoon, ribbon the reduction sauce over your plate and on top of the filet and potatoes. Add an amount you want. if you’re feeling  really fancy, sprinkle some chopped herbs around the rim of the plates. This meal works well with sautéed asparagus or summer squash and will pair well with a Cabernet, Merlot or Syrah. Feel free to name it after someone you love too. 

Best Wishes Honey Duck!

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