Recipe: Colombian style marinated beef tenderloin with confit quail eggs
Recipe by Dan Hernandez – Personal Chef
With origins from South America, Dan Hernandez earned his formal qualifications in cookery right here in Brisbane. From the get go, Dan’s attention to finer details in cooking were recognised and he quickly earned his place working in some of Brisbane’s finest established restaurants.
This dish is often served as part of an “Asado” – a Colombian open fire barbecue which uses all the parts of the animal, cooked in different ways served with a variety of sides and sauces. For that reason portions are intended around 200g each, which serves 10-12 people.
This recipe was inspired by the marinating techniques used to tenderise various cuts of meat throughout the many regions in Colombia. Dan has taken cooking inspiration from “Bistec a Caballo” – a beef dish often prepared with flank or skirt steak, and served a fried egg on top. The traditional Bistec a Caballo is often part of a feast enjoyed with family and friends.
- Whole quality beef tenderloin (sizes vary but 2-3kg is ideal)
- 1L beer (I like to use dark beer, but any beer can be used) to cover the entire tenderloin
- ½ bunch of spring onions
- ¼ cup of fresh garlic
- Sea salt to season
- Freshly ground black pepper
Confit Quail Eggs
- 10 organic quail eggs
- 1L of rice bran oil (or enough to cover your egg yolks in your chosen dish)
Preparing your beef
Trim the fat and silverskin from the tenderloin, or kindly ask your local butcher to do it when you purchase the meat. Place in a large mixing bowl to the side, ready to combine with the marinating ingredients.
Trim the roots off the spring onion. Roughly chop the remaining white and green parts of the spring onion into small 3mm chunks. Place with the tenderloin in your bowl.
Roughly chop the fresh garlic into small (3mm) parts and place into the bowl with your spring onion and tenderloin.
Add sea salt and freshly ground pepper to the mix.
Using your hands massage the freshly chopped garlic and spring onions into the meat, making sure to cover all parts of the meat and rub it into any crevasses.
After massaging the meat for about a minute, pour in the beer to completely cover the tenderloin.
Cover your bowl completely with plastic wrap, or before pouring in the beer, transfer to an appropriately sized container with a lid.
Pop the bowl into the fridge to let marinate for at least 24 hours.
Confit quail eggs
Ideally, using a sous vide, begin heating the oil to 65oC.
Once your oil has reached 65oC you can begin preparing the yolks.
To separate your egg yolks you will need a small bowl ready.
Using clean hands, crack each egg into your hand over the first bowl. Allow the white of the egg to run through your fingers, and allow the yolk to remain in your hand. Transfer to a spoon and carefully lower into your preheated oil.
Repeat this with all egg yolks.
Allow egg yolks to cook at a constant 65°C in the oil bath for 50 minutes, while you prepare the steak.
Cooking the tenderloin
Cooking this dish on a coal grill is ideal, and better replicates the techniques used in Colombia. However, a gas barbecue is also fine to use.
Remove your tenderloin from the fridge 1 hour prior to cooking, to allow it to come to room temperature. This will help with cooking the meat.
Heat your barbecue 10 on full heat 10 minutes prior to cooking.
Cook the whole tenderloin on an open, preheated grill for 35 minutes for a medium rare steak. Leave the remaining marinating mixture in the bowl. At approximately 5-10 minute intervals, turn the meat and splash over with the beer mix, using a spoon. Ensure the meat has been grilled on all sides by the 35 minute mark.
At 35 minutes, remove your meat from the grill, and place on a chopping board, or rack to rest for 5 minutes. Set a timer, or ideally, use a thermometer to measure the inside temperature of the meat. 52-58°C is the ideal temperature.
After resting, slice your tenderloin into pieces approximately 1cm in width.
To serve, lift the whole tenderloin onto a wooden serving board and, using your hands, spread across the whole length of the board.
Lift the confit quail eggs from the oil using a small spoon and place directly on top of the splayed meat pieces.
Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
This dish is best served with traditional South American sauces including aji (a garlic and herb sauce) and chimichurri.
You can also serve it with salty boiled potatoes, freshly made guacamole and a garden salad for the true authentic Colombian meal.