Pecan-Crusted Beef Tenderloin with Horseradish-Pecan Sauce

A classic holiday crowd-pleaser uses pecans two ways for added texture and flavor

Photo: Leigh-Ann Beverley

In the South, pecans most often wind up in pies and pralines and other sweet treats, but the versatile nut can be a secret weapon in savory dishes, too. “The Italians readily use walnuts and hazelnuts in savory applications; cashews often play the creamy foil in spicy Southeast Asian dishes; the French use chestnuts like a root vegetable and almonds with fish,” says Jenni Lata, a Charleston, South Carolina-based recipe developer who created this nutty tenderloin dish for Schermer Pecans in Glennville, Georgia. “For some reason, we have pigeon-holed pecans into the baking aisle, but they are a wonderful ingredient that really belongs in the produce section.” In this recipe, Lata uses pecans two ways: To crust the garlic-slathered meat and to enhance the chilled horseradish sauce served alongside the tenderloin. 


  • Pecan-Crusted Beef Tenderloin with Horseradish-Pecan Sauce

    • 2 cups toasted pecan halves or pieces (Lata recommends Schermer Pecans)

    • 2 tsp. finely chopped rosemary

    • ¾ cup sour cream

    • 3 tbsp. prepared horseradish

    • Coarse kosher salt

    • Freshly ground black pepper

    • 1 head garlic

    • 1½ tbsp. olive oil, divided

    • ¼ cup mayonnaise

    • ¼ tsp. smoked paprika

    • 1 (4 to 5-lb.) trimmed beef tenderloin roast

    • 6 shallots, peeled, stems trimmed but left intact, halved if large

    • ¼ cup red wine, divided

    • 2 cups unsalted beef broth


  1. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse pecans until finely chopped. Remove all but ¼ cup of the pecans to a bowl and stir in rosemary; reserve. Add sour cream and horseradish to the food processor with the remaining ¼ cup pecans and process until smooth. Season with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Refrigerate until ready to serve. 

  2. Preheat oven to 375°F. Cut the top ½-inch off the head of garlic, exposing the cloves. Drizzle with ½ tablespoon of olive oil and wrap tightly in a foil packet. Bake for 45 minutes, or until cloves are golden and tender. When cool enough to handle, squeeze the roasted garlic cloves out into a bowl and mash with a fork. Stir in mayonnaise and smoked paprika; reserve. 

  3. Season tenderloin generously on all sides with salt and pepper. In a roasting pan or large ovenproof skillet, heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high. Add tenderloin and sear until well-browned on all sides, about 8 minutes total. Transfer to a plate or baking sheet to cool. Add trimmed shallots and 2 tablespoons of the red wine to the pan and stir to deglaze for 1-2 minutes, then remove from heat.

  4. When tenderloin is cool enough to handle, smear on all sides with the roasted garlic mayonnaise. Press chopped pecans and rosemary firmly onto all sides to form a crust. Place pecan-crusted tenderloin on top of the bed of shallots in the pan. Transfer to the 375° oven and roast until meat reaches an internal temperature of 120-125°F for medium rare, about 45 minutes. 

  5. While the meat cooks, combine remaining 2 tablespoons red wine with 2 cups beef broth in a small pot and simmer over medium heat until reduced by half, about 15-20 minutes. 

  6. Once cooked, transfer beef to a serving platter and let rest for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, make the pan sauce: place the roasting pan on the stovetop over medium heat and whisk in reduced beef broth. Let simmer for 5-7 minutes until slightly thickened. Taste and season with salt and pepper. 

  7. Slice tenderloin and serve warm with roasted shallot pan sauce and chilled horseradish-pecan sauce.