Any leftovers make delicious sandwiches, especially when you serve them with the accompanying Mango Ketchup (see related recipe).
Make Ahead: The beef needs 6 to 8 hours' curing time. It should be served within 1 day after the curing is complete.
Yield: Makes 24 thin slices
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 cups kosher salt
- 8 cracked black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon crushed dried jalapeño powder or other hot chili powder
- 1 star anise, crumbled
- 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1/2 cup citrus-flavored vodka, such as Absolut Mandarin or Citron
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 2-inch piece ginger root, minced (2 tablespoons)
- 16 large mint leaves
- 1 pound center-cut beef tenderloin roast
Have ready a loaf pan in which the tenderloin will fit snugly; the meat must be buried in the sugar-salt mixture to cure properly. Line the pan with plastic wrap, allowing for enough wrap to hang over all sides of the pan.
Combine the sugar, salt, peppercorns, chili powder and star anise in a medium bowl; mix well. Add the orange juice, vodka, oil, soy sauce, ginger and mint leaves; mix well. Pour into the lined loaf pan.
Place the beef tenderloin in the loaf pan. Turn it over several times, rubbing the curing mixture all over the meat. Close the plastic wrap tightly over the top, then use a 28-ounce can or clean brick to weight the meat. Refrigerate for 10 hours.
Remove the beef from the pan, brushing off the curing mixture. Use paper towels to pat the meat dry. Use fresh plastic wrap to tightly wrap the meat, then place it in the freezer for 30 to 40 minutes or until it is partially frozen. (That will make the meat easier to slice.) Discard the sugar-salt mixture.
About 30 minutes before you are ready to serve, cut the meat crosswise into very thin slices, using a mandoline if possible. Arrange the slices on a platter and let stand for 20 minutes or until the beef is at approximately room temperature. Serve with Mango Ketchup on the side.
Adapted from "Aquavit and the New Scandinavian Cuisine," by Marcus Samuelsson (Houghton Mifflin, 2003).
Tested by Jane Black.
Email questions to the Food Section at email@example.com.