The Great Eyewitness News Holiday Cook-off: Ken Rosato’s holiday chateaubriand and sides

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) — For Italians and most Italian-Americans, Christmas Eve is a huge celebration. It’s when we celebrate the Feast of the Seven Fishes. It’s an evening during which food is served for hours, and gifts often are exchanged and opened, before or after midnight mass. As a result, Christmas Day is often treated as an afterthought – a day of rest, or when we visit more-distant relatives or friends. And a Christmas Day meal is usually whatever you nosh on as you make your way from house to house.

My Aunt Ines decided to keep the feast going on Christmas Day, and many years during my youth were spent eating a more traditional “American” Christmas meal at her house.

We would have roast chicken, roast turkey, roast pork, and one year, a tenderloin roast. It was life-changing. I had never eaten beef that was more tender in my life.

As the years passed, the Christmas Day feast ended but the memory of that tenderloin roast lived on in my mind.

In recent years, I discovered and fell in love with a cooking technique called “sous vide” (French for “under vacuum”). It is a method in which a food product – usually a protein of some sort – is placed in a sealed, plastic bag. That, in turn, is placed into a water bath along with the “sous vide” tool – a cylinder-shaped water circulator that holds the water bath at a specific temperature. The benefit to cooking sous vide style is it is difficult to overcook your food, as the middle will never get warmer than the temperature to which you set the sous vide.

You can always oven-roast this tenderloin, but if you want to spend a few bucks to purchase a sous vide, I believe it’s well worth the investment. Plus, you’re pretty much guaranteed you won’t overcook a very expensive piece of meat!.

The very center of a tenderloin is called the chateaubriand. It is even in thickness throughout, so you won’t overcook the thinner part. Ask your butcher to trim and truss it for you. It could run you over $100, so this is definitely a “special occasion” purchase but it will surely be a crowd-pleaser.

Holiday Chateaubriand

What you’ll need

1 room temperature center-cut “chateaubriand” tenderloin of beef – trimmed and trussed (remove from fridge 1 hour before roasting)

Olive oil for cooking

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Herbes de Provence

1 bunch of fresh rosemary branches

Garlic powder to taste

1 fresh garlic clove, cut into 4 pieces

Special equipment

Sous vide

How to make holiday chateaubriand

1. Lightly oil the chateaubriand and generously coat it in salt, pepper, garlic powder, and herbes de Provence.

2. In a hot, oiled pan, sear meat on all sides to form a crust.

3. Place in a plastic zip-type bag with an ounce of olive oil, chunks of fresh garlic, and two or three rosemary branches. Carefully remove air from the bag, seal it shut and immerse it in a water bath.

4. Run your sous vide, according to instructions, at 131 for 2.5 hours.

5. Remove the bag from the water bath, remove the meat from the bag and carefully dry off moisture using paper towels. Coat it in olive oil once again and either pan-sear or broil each side once again to add a fresh crust.

6. Rest for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

If you’d like to roast this the old-fashioned way instead, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Oil, season, and pan-sear the room-temperature meat on all sides as described above, and roast in a preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 130 for rare to medium-rare. Allow to remain in the oven longer for more doneness. Remove meat from the oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes before slicing.

Smashed potatoes

What you’ll need

8 to 10 medium potatoes

2 tablespoons kosher salt

1 to 2 of teaspoons fine salt

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons olive oil

Small bunch of washed and dried, chopped flat-leaf parsley

1 cup of sour cream

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

How to make smashed potatoes

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Fill a small pot with cold water and add kosher salt. Toss in your potatoes and heat water to a boil.

3. Reduce water to a simmer and allow potatoes to cook for 20 to 25 minutes.

4. Take the pot off the heat and drain the potatoes. Allow them to cool for about 10 minutes.

5. Use a potato masher or the bottom of a mug or drinking glass to gently smash each potato to about half an inch in thickness.

6. Sprinkle with butter, olive oil, fine salt, and pepper.

7. Bake as-is on one side for 45 to 55 minutes until they are deep golden and the edges are crispy.

8. While potatoes are baking combine sour cream, paprika, and a quarter teaspoon of salt to create a schmear. Add water until preferred consistency is achieved.

9. When potatoes are done allow them to rest for 5 minutes before sprinkling with chopped parsley. Serve with sour cream schmear.

Glazed rainbow carrots

What you’ll need

1 bunch of rainbow (or any color) carrots

3 tablespoons brown sugar

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons kosher salt

Pinch of fine salt

How to make glazed rainbow carrots

1. Chop carrots into 1-inch pieces and toss them into a pot of cold water with kosher salt.

2. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer and cook carrots for 8-10 minutes. They should still be mostly firm.

3. Drain the water and add butter, brown sugar, and pinch of salt. Saute for 5 to 10 minutes until the sugar has melted and the carrots have started to soften.

Asparagus spears

What you’ll need

1 bunch of asparagus, thinner stalks are better for sauteeing

1/2 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

A pinch of red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon herbes de Provence

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 clove chopped garlic

How to make asparagus spears

1. Chop off about an inch from the bottom of the asparagus and discard.

2. Add asparagus to saute pan over medium heat.

3. Add all other ingredients and saute until the asparagus just begins to get softer but maintains most of its firmness.

Watch the Great Eyewitness News Holiday Cook-off to see Ken Rosato and Shirleen Allicot go head-to-head in the kitchen for the coveted title of best newsroom chef!

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