Usually when Debbie needs to know something about cooking she grabs Larousse Gastronomique
or Escoffier: The Complete Guide to the Art of Modern Cookery but the information found there regarding the grand tenderloin is a bit outdated and can be slightly confusing. Those true cooking geeks out there can email the farm for a detailed explanation of the cuts and their specific uses.
A lesson in vocabulary is where we should begin. What we in the United States call the tenderloin — the lower portion of the sirloin — the British call the fillet, and the French call le filet. You will usually find it either whole, cut into small round medallions or as part of the famous Porterhouse or T-bone steak divided by the t-bone from the NY Strip.
The broad end of the tenderloin yields fairly large steaks, which are generally cut thin. The French call these le bifteck, while some people in this country call them châteaubriand. In the United States, filet mignon is a well-known and well-loved term, and is used for any and all cuts regardless of where they come from within the tenderloin. At the Farm Shoppe we have always cut out medallions 1.25" thick. This helps to keep the center of the medallion nice and rosy pink.
When cooking the whole tenderloin we prefer to sear the tenderloin in butter until a good crust is formed. Then put it into a 250F oven until it reaches an internal temperature of around 115-120F and finally crank up the temperature to 500F until the desired internal temperature is reached. ALWAYS tent the tenderloin and let it sit for at least 15 minutes to set.
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