Easy roast beef recipe for Christmas dinner

Roast tenderloin of beef with a horseradish creme fraiche.
Roast tenderloin of beef with a horseradish creme fraiche.
(Bryan Chan / Los Angeles Times)

A roast tenderloin of beef is an instant showstopper at dinner parties. And there’s no better time to bring a platter of sliced, perfectly roasted meat to the table than Christmas dinner.

If you’ve been searching through hundreds of recipes with different cooking techniques and temperatures and times, we’re here to help. Food editor Russ Parsons has an easy recipe for roast tenderloin of beef that will be juicy and tender every time. And he’s pairing it with a recipe for a tangy horseradish creme fraiche.




  • 1 (3- to 4-pound) beef tenderloin
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Oil
  • 1 (7 1/2 -ounce) container creme fraiche (about 1 cup)
  • 3 to 5 teaspoons cream-style prepared horseradish
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced chives

Salt the tenderloin liberally all over and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

About 30 minutes before cooking time, remove the meat from the refrigerator. Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Pat the tenderloin completely dry with paper towels. Season generously with black pepper.

When ready to cook, heat a large roasting pan over medium-high heat and add just enough oil to film the bottom of the pan, about 3 tablespoons. When the oil is almost smoking, add the tenderloin. Sear the tenderloin on one side, 3 to 4 minutes, and then repeat until the entire surface is well-browned.

Place the pan in the oven and roast, turning the meat occasionally, until the interior temperature is 130 degrees for rare, about 30 minutes, or 140 degrees for medium rare, about 35 minutes. Remove the tenderloin from the oven and transfer it to a carving board. Tent lightly with aluminum foil and let rest at least 20 minutes before carving into one-fourth-inch slices.

Make the sauce by whipping the creme fraiche with a whisk until it lightens, then whisking in the horseradish to taste, dry mustard, lemon juice and minced chives. Taste and adjust seasoning for lemon and salt. (Sauce can be prepared up to 8 hours ahead and refrigerated in a tightly covered container.)

Each serving: 276 calories; 28 grams protein; 1 gram carbohydrate; 0 fiber; 17 grams fat; 7 grams saturated fat; 91 mg. cholesterol; 80 mg. sodium.

Want more recipes? Follow me on Twitter: @Jenn_Harris_


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