Hawksmoor at Home’s cured beef tenderloin.

Cured Beef with Watercress Salad from Hawksmoor at Home

I’m not sure what it was that made me think making salt-cured beef in the fridge was a perfect idea for a chilly January weekend, but all I do know is that when I took out our copy of Hawksmoor at Home one Thursday morning before breakfast and I flipped open to that page, my stomach growled. Audibly. It also seemed so simple and the flavors so perfect to this time of year, since you grate up quite a bit of celery root and throw in some rosemary springs to meld with the salt and brown sugar–I mean, it was practically begging me to give it a try. Michael was sold on it pretty quickly, so over lunch I went out in search of ingredients and was able to place a lovely, just-over-one-pound piece of tenderloin into the cure and then into the fridge and I could feel very pleased that half of my Saturday dinner prep was well underway.

What’s so marvelous about this recipe is that the beef you get at the end of the two days is kind of like a happy medium between beef carpaccio and bresaola. While it’s no longer raw, it doesn’t have the tougher texture that bresaola can take on (as that gets dried for a much longer time) and so you don’t have to slice it extremely thinly if you don’t want to, so it feels more substantial on the plate.

I have some ideas on how to use this beef preparation in the future, and particularly in the summer so we can minimize the usage of stoves if at all possible. I’d like to try thinner slices and pound it into the circular shape Alton Brown recommends for beef carpaccio from his classic episode “Tender is the Loin II,” but I’d also like to chop it up into steak tartare in order to revisit a delicious meal we had at Paco Meralgo in Barcelona back last fall. In order to make this a slightly less expensive endeavor, however, I think we’re going to get a PSMO tenderloin at Costco so we can keep several one-pound pieces at the ready in the freezer.

Cured Beef with Watercress Salad from Hawksmoor at Home

Cured Beef

adapted from Hakwsmoor at Home

  • 1 lb beef tenderloin, or as close as you can get to that (mine was a little over)
  • 1 large or two medium–sized celery roots, peeled and grated
  • 300g kosher salt
  • 300g light brown sugar
  • Zest from one orange
  • 20 sprigs rosemary (I used a combination of rosemary and thyme)
  • 2 tablespoons (approximately) black peppercorns, roughly crushed once curing is finished

Mix the salt, sugar, grated celery root, and orange zest well in a large bowl, and then fold in the herb sprigs. Place the beef into the middle of the bowl and coat well on all sides with the salt/sugar/herb mixture, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let sit in the fridge for 2 days.

Remove beef, rinse well with water, pat dry with a paper towel and then coat the surface of the beef with the pepper; wrap tightly in more plastic wrap until ready to serve. Slice to desired thinness and serve with a light salad of watercress, arugula, shallot, and lemon.

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17 comments
  1. Wow! Sooo want to make this but mot seeing opportujity to eat it this week. However going to costco in about an hour anyway…

    Cant believe its only 2days for a hunk that big, but i suppose its not the same as prosciutto.

    • That’s what the freezer is for! The piece is not nearly as big as you think it might be as I was also expecting to get quite a large pice, but it was essentially a very thick steak.

  2. biz319 said:

    My husband would have been all over this – not sure I could get Hannah to eat it, but I think her fiance would! I lucked out over Christmas scoring been tenderloin at only $7.99 a pound! I am kicking myself for not stocking up!

    • If you can, get to a club store and you can usually find the PSMO at that price point per pound. (I remember BJ’s would have it for about $50 all told, but that was a few years ago.)

  3. Darya said:

    This sounds fantastic. I have seen home-cured duck breasts and pork loin, so why not beef? The recipe sounds great! Now I have to get myself to dare…

  4. This is so neat!!
    I’ve never seen it done at home, only at the restaurants so bravo beautiful!
    I agree with you on it being the thing to eat come summer time 👍👍

    • Nothing like letting the fridge do all the work for you!

  5. Love this idea! I’m going to bookmark this sucker to try when the weather warms up!

    • How nice would a plate of this be with some salad and a glass of rose?

  6. shannon said:

    I sort of have zero words for this: that sounds amazing; intriguing, and smart, and like stunningly delicious. And, might i add, EXACTLY what i would want to do on a chilly January day.

    I have a strong urge to do this; one of those overwhelming urges. it’s so…just it’s so. mouth = watering.

  7. lyn said:

    Hi! We have decided to give this a go for Christmas, and have just mixed it all up and put it in the fridge although the overall mixture was very wet, and we are not sure that we’ve done it right! Can’t find any other guidance online, so thought we would ask you!

    • It’s going to get wet as a result of the salt taking out the moisture from the beef, so I think that’s OK. Was it wet when you brought it all together, or was it a result of it sitting in the fridge?

      • sohshine said:

        Hi, thanks for replying! It was wet before we put the beef in it! The celeriac was quite wet but the recipe didn’t say to wring it out? I hope we haven’t ruined it!

      • sohshine said:

        Hi again, panic over. Beef is out of mixture and taste tested! Lovely stuff.. Can’t wait till Christmas now! Thanks again and happy holidays to you!

        • So glad to hear it! Have a wonderful holiday!

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