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Pepper-Encrusted Beef Tenderloin with Watercress Cream

(recipe, Ashley Griffin Gartland)


This recipe, by Mary Edwards, was a finalist in the Independent Grocers' Association Hometown Holiday contest. The brands specified in the recipe were required as part of the contest rules.


    1. 1 (2½ to 3 pounds) trimmed center-cut beef tenderloin
    2. ½ tsp. kosher salt
    3. ½ tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
    4. 1 Tbsp. Bertolli olive oil
    1. ¼ cup Smuckers Simply Fruit seedless black-raspberry jelly
    2. 2 tsp. Grey Poupon Country Dijon mustard
    3. 1 Tbsp. freshly cracked black pepper
    Watercress Cream
    1. ½ cup Knudsen sour cream
    2. 3 Tbsp. Hellmann's/Best Foods mayonnaise
    3. 1 tablespoon, or to taste, prepared wasabi sauce (or prepared horseradish if unavailable)
    4. ½ tsp. garlic salt, or to taste
    5. 1 cup fresh watercress
    1. Additional sprigs of watercress
    2. Cherry or teardrop tomatoes as desired


    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
    2. Rub the tenderloin with the salt and pepper.
    3. Place the olive oil in a sauté pan large enough to hold the meat. Over high heat, heat the oil until it is very hot, almost smoking. Sear the meat on all sides, about 4 to 5 minutes total. Remove the meat from the heat and allow it to rest for about 5 minutes. (For advance preparation, the meat can now be refrigerated and brought back to room temperature before continuing.)
    4. Mix the jelly, mustard, and pepper in a small bowl. Line a shallow baking pan, fitted with a rack, with aluminum foil. Place the meat on the rack and brush it generously on all sides with the jelly mixture. Roast the tenderloin for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 130 degrees (for rare). Remove the meat to a platter, loosely cover it with aluminum foil, and allow it to rest for 15 to 20 minutes before slicing.
    5. Place the sour cream, mayonnaise, wasabi sauce, and garlic salt in a blender or small food processor and add the watercress, ¼ cup at a time, using the pulse function and scraping down the sides as needed, until very well blended. (The watercress cream can also be prepared ahead of time, covered tightly, refrigerated, and brought back to room temperature before serving.)
    6. To serve, slice the meat thinly (about ½-inch thick), garnish with the watercress sprigs and tomatoes, and serve with the watercress cream.


    This dish is equally good served at room temperature. For a buffet setting, allow the meat to come to room temperature before slicing it very thinly and serving it with thin slices of crusty bread. Read more in Ashley Griffin's article about competitive cooking.