Juniper grows wild in the high deserts of the western side of the continent. It’s been included for thousands of years in the recipes of many Native American communities.
Honoring that tradition, this recipe takes a well-known American dish—grilled steak, or filet mignon—and pairs it with the tart, piney, slightly citrus flavor of juniper. I generally reach for dried juniper, but if you’re using fresh berries, you’ll need to adjust for their more intense flavor. A more traditional pairing would feature bison, which you can substitute here, or any other cut or preparation of beef.
Grilled Beef Tenderloin with Juniper Sauce
For the Beef Tenderloin
- 1/2 cup (65 g) chopped shallot
- 1 clove garlic, peeled
- 1/4 cup (13 g) fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus 1 tablespoon chopped parsley, for garnish
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups (360 ml) canola oil
- 6 (8-ounce/225 g) beef tenderloin
- Juniper Sauce, recipe follows
For the Juniper Sauce (Makes approximately 4 cups (960 ml))
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 small onion, peeled and diced
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 2 teaspoons ground juniper berries
- 1 cup (240 ml) dry white wine, optional
- 4 cups (960 ml) beef stock
- Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
Make the Beef Tenderloin
- Prepare and preheat an outdoor grill to high heat.
- In a blender, add the shallot, 1 clove garlic, 1/4 cup (13 g) parsley, salt, and pepper and puree. With the blender running, slowly drizzle in 11/2 cups (360 ml) oil, until smooth. In a medium bowl, add the puree, then add the beef tenderloins, coating each one. Allow to marinate for at least 1 hour. Arrange the seasoned tenderloins on the grill. Grill on each side for 3 to 4 minutes for medium-rare. Remove from the heat and tent the grilled tenderloins with aluminum foil. Allow to rest for 5 to 6 minutes before serving with a side of juniper sauce and a sprinkling of chopped parsley.
Make the Juniper Sauce
- In a medium saucepot over low heat, add 2 tablespoons oil. When the oil is hot, add the rosemary, onion, 1 clove chopped garlic, thyme, and juniper berries and stir well to combine. Sauté, stirring often, until the onions are soft; do not burn the garlic. Increase the heat to medium. Add the wine (if using) and reduce until dry. Add the stock, season with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and transfer the contents to a blender (caution: liquid will be hot). Puree for 5 to 7 minutes, or until smooth. Reserve ¼ cup (60 ml) of the puree and pour the rest back into the pot. In a small bowl, combine the reserved puree with the arrowroot. Stir well to make a slurry and add to the pot. Stir well to combine and thicken the sauce.
- Adjust the seasoning if necessary and serve.