Sunday suppers are a staple in most families around the world. In my family growing up, we would spend Sunday dinners either at my Grandfather’s (my mom’s dad) or at my Grandma’s (my dad’s mom).
Sunday’s at my Dziadzia’s (Polish for Grandfather, pronounced “jah-jah”) consisted of buttery chicken legs with crispy skin, smashed boiled potatoes with salt and pepper, and his famous cucumber and sour cream salad. For dessert we had mini Hershey’s chocolate bars andSalernobutter cookies with a small Mott’s apple juice in a can. To the outsider looking in, it may not seem like much. But, as you can probably gather from some of the stories I have told about me and my brothers, we were loud and sometimes unruly troublemakers. However, sitting around my Dziadzia’s dinner table, we were all silent. We all loved his cooking and held it in such high regard that we wouldn’t dare take the attention away from the delicious product of his labor of love.
Sundays with my Grandma were usually spent out at a Greek or family style restaurant. My brothers and I would order either the beef and mashed potatoes or the roast turkey and mashed potatoes. Both plates were smothered in gravy and had some frozen medley of vegetables that we argued about eating. The gravy on the turkey platter was lovingly referred to as toxic waste, because it had an orange/yellow hue which does not belong in any gravy. (Looking back now, I still have no idea what was in that gravy!) Despite the color, it was good! We finished off our meals with a small scoop of butter pecan ice cream in an ice cold metal bowl. We then raced to the front counter to collect either a free Dum-Dum or a mint. (Funnily enough, most of our family dinners these days still end in the race for an after dinner mint.)
As you get older and move out on your own it is harder and harder to uphold a Sunday supper tradition. Real life sometimes gets in the way of your best laid intentions and it isn’t always possible to make the trek home for a good old fashioned family sit down.
Right now, I would give anything to go back to the Sundays of my childhood, or even better… I wish there was an old Italian grandmother living with me and my husband, who slaved away in the kitchen all day Sunday making homemade spaghetti noodles and her special slow-cooked Sunday ragu.
But, alas, it is just me and my husband here right now and since we know he isn’t going to have an out-of-body experience and suddenly transform into a wooden spoon wielding Italian granny, I guess I better get to work!
1, 2lb Trimmed Beef Tenderloin
1 Teaspoon of Balsamic Vinegar
1 Teaspoon of Salt
½ Teaspoon of Pepper
3 Garlic Cloves, grated
2 Tablespoons of Fresh Oregano, finely chopped
1 Small Shallot, finely chopped
1 Cup of Feta Cheese
1 Cup of Fresh Spinach, finely chopped
1 Small Portabella Mushroom, finely diced
2 Tablespoons of Butter
1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil
2/3 Cup of Red Wine
Trim any excess fat or silver skin off of the tenderloin. Slice the meat length-wise about 2/3 of the way through the meat. You want to form a sort of book (Mmm…meatbook…).
Lay the tenderloin out flat. Season the tenderloin with half of the salt and pepper. Rub about 2 cloves worth of grated garlic into the open-faced tenderloin.
Place ¾ of the oregano (reserve some oregano for later), shallot, and feta onto the interior of the tenderloin.
Next top the tenderloin with the spinach and then the mushrooms. Keep them more in the center of the beef.
Roll the beef, starting with the thinner end. Use either metal pins or heavy-duty string to keep the tenderloin in place.
Mix the butter with the remaining salt, pepper, oregano, and garlic together in a small bowl. Using your fingers, spread the butter mixture all along the top of the closed tenderloin.
Coat the bottom of an oven-safe casserole dish with olive oil. Place the tenderloin in the dish and cover with tin foil.
Cook the tenderloin in the oven at 500 degrees for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes remove the tinfoil, add the red wine to the bottom of the dish. Return the tenderloin to the oven and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
Remove the tenderloin from the oven and cover with a tin foil tent. Let the meat rest for 15 minutes before slicing.
Pour the liquid from the bottom of the pan through a strainer and use as a pan sauce or gravy for the meat.
Serve the beautiful tenderloin on top of a bed of garlic mashed potatoes and covered in a spoonful of the red wine pan sauce.
Whether you are headed to your parent’s house for dinner or cooking for two, enjoy your Sunday suppers everybody!