April 13, 2021

Beef Tenderloin with Caramelized Onion-Red Wine Sauce

Found on page 124 of my Ranch Raised Cookbook!
Photography by Charity Burggraaf

Beef tenderloin is our favorite special-occasion dinner. It is known as the king of cuts, the most tender muscle on a steer, so we save this super-premium meat for a big family holiday gathering or a milestone celebration. When tenderloin is cut into steaks, it becomes filet mignon. For roasting, seek out a center cut since the diameter is more consistent throughout the entire roast. Also, make sure the tenderloin is trimmed of fat and silver skin or extra membrane prior to cooking. It’s remarkably easy to roast this beautiful piece of meat to perfection (just don’t over-cook it!), and it looks stunning sliced on a platter with the rich and savory sauce over the top. It is equally as delicious served with chimichurri sauce or Italian salsa verde.

Makes 6 servings.



  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon M5 spice rub or 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 3-pound center-cut beef tenderloin roast, trimmed of silver skin


  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 2 large yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups full-bodied red wine
  • 1 cup low-sodium beef stock
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons packed light brown sugar


In a small bowl, stir together the olive oil, garlic, spice rub, and thyme. Place the tenderloin on a baking sheet and rub the herb mixture all over. Using kitchen string, tie the roast about every 1 1/2 inches (this will help it hold its shape while roasting). Cover and set aside at room temperature for 1 hour or refrigerate up to overnight; if refrigerated, let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before cooking.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place a wire rack in a shallow roasting pan just large enough to hold the tenderloin. Roast until deeply browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the roast registers about 125 degrees F for medium-rare, about 45 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and transfer the tenderloin to a cutting board. Tent loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 15 to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the sauce. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the onions and a big pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden and caramelized, 15 to 20 minutes (reduce the heat slightly if they start to brown too quickly). Add the wine, stock, and thyme, and increase the heat to medium-high. Boil the mixture until the liquid reduces by half, about 10 minutes (reduce the heat to medium if the mixture is cooking too rapidly). Stir in the balsamic and sugar and continue to cook for about 1 minute longer. Cover and set aside to keep warm.

When ready to serve, remove the thyme sprigs from the sauce. Reheat over medium-low, then whisk in the remaining 4 tablespoons butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, until emulsified. Remove from the heat, stir in any juices from the cutting board, and season with salt and pepper.

Cut the tenderloin across the grain into thick slices, top with the warm sauce, and serve at once.

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