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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sugaring Time: Maple-Maple Beef Tenderloin with Confetti Eggplant


It's been a busy weekend, visiting sugar houses in Windsor and Rutland counties.  I tried countless samples of maple syrup of all grades, and I can honestly say I loved them all.  As well as the homemade doughnuts, maple sugar on snow, maple sugar candy, and a few other things I shouldn't have eaten, but did.

And, I am now the owner of two half-gallons and another quart of different syrups from different places.  No problem, I'll find something to do with it.  

Like this tenderloin, brought back from a sugarhouse today, along with a half gallon of syrup.  I also picked up a bottle of Vermont Spirits Gold Maple Vodka, to put in a glaze, and some interesting vegetables:  tiny purple potatoes, asparagus, and small confetti eggplants from Holland.  

Maple-Maple Beef Tenderloin with Confetti Eggplant

In Preparation:
Heat the oven to 450F.
Spread 1 T olive oil on a baking sheet
prepare a small roasting pan with rack

2.5 pound beef tenderloin roast
4 small confetti eggplant
Olive oil
Salt, pepper
  • 1/3 cup Grade B maple syrup
  • 2 T Vermont Spirits Gold Maple Vodka
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 tsp thyme leaves

1. Split the eggplant lengthwise and place face down on the oiled baking sheet.  Put in the oven for 30 minutes or until quite tender.
2. Make the glaze:  Combine all glaze ingredients in small saucepan and bring to a boil; reduce for 10 minutes.  Set aside and allow to cool.
3. The roast:  Brush liberally with the glaze, put in the oven.  Total roasting time is 30 minutes for rare. (learned this about tenderloin years ago from watching Julia Child, and it is still correct, as long as the piece is not from the very heavy end of a big tenderloin).
During roasting, brush twice more with the glaze, which should be crusted by the end of roasting.
4. Serve sliced, with the roasted eggplant scooped from its shell.  Drizzle a bit more glaze on the meat, and lemon/butter on the eggplant.

More about this sugarhouse:

Today's destination was Smith Maple Crest Farm, in Shrewsbury, VT.  Eight generations of Smiths have farmed 400 acres in this beautiful, hilly town.  Willard "Jeff" Smith showed us the very modern, gleaming equipment, and told me about the improvements he's made to the operation.  Mary Barnhart described the Holstein/Devon beef, which have replaced dairy cows on the farm (lucky for us tonight).

Per Jeff:
It's a continuous line operation: sap comes in from a storage tank and has much moisture removed  through a reverse osmosis process. The concentrated sap is then boiled in the evaporator and flows down through the system to the open air tanks. When it reaches a temperature of 220F, it's drawn off as syrup. 

The first sap of the run produces the Grade A Fancy syrup. As the run continues, its chemistry changes and glucose replaces the sucrose, slowly altering the syrup produced from Light to  Medium and then Dark Amber grades. At the end of the season, the most highly flavored and darkest syrup - Grade B - is produced. 

Many thanks to Jeff, and to Mary Barnhart, for this great experience.

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