Every cook needs one perfect cozy winter meal in her repertoire. It should be lavish enough for a special occasion yet easy to prepare. This menu hits all the marks. Beef tenderloin is simple to roast whole, and this one’s leek crust ensures that the meat stays moist during cooking. Potatoes Anna is equally elegant -- our version has thinly sliced potatoes baked in a skillet like an upside-down cake. A bright salad adds crunch, and a make-ahead tart closes out dinner in style.
1 week before
Shop for pantry staples and specialty ingredients, such as seeded crackers, panko breadcrumbs, frozen puff pastry, dark chocolate, pecans, and pine nuts.
2 days before
Shop for fresh and smoked salmon, crème fraîche, heavy cream, produce, and beef tenderloin. Make vinaigrette.
1 day before
Prepare salmon spread. Bake tart. Wash and dry salad greens. Toast pine nuts.
90 minutes before guests arrive
60 minutes before guests arrive
Put beef in oven; make potatoes.
Creme Fraiche Salmon Spread
Tangy creme fraiche unites poached and smoked salmon in this quick and easy spread.
Escarole Salad with Celery and Pine Nuts
Escarole, which has a bit of a bite, is a welcome contrast to the heartiness of the beef and potatoes on the menu. Here, the greens are amped up with crunchy celery, buttery pine nuts, and a zingy shallot vinaigrette.
Yukon Gold and Sweet Potatoes Anna
Our fall riff on the traditional French dish pommes Anna calls for sweet potatoes in addition to the usual Yukon Golds. A mandoline is key to getting thin, even slices -- just one of our top tips for making this sophisticated side dish.
Leek-Crusted Beef Tenderloin
Beef tenderloin always makes an impressive main dish, especially when covered in panko and roasted until crisp and golden on the outside and incredibly juicy on the inside.
Chocolate Caramel Pecan Tart
The decadent chewy filling in this tart is inspired by turtle candies. A dollop of unsweetened whipped cream will cut its intensity.
Watch Shira make the crown jewel of the meal, the leek-crusted beef tenderloin: