Paprika-Spiked Beef Tenderloin and Eggplant

This easy to make entree gets its flavor from the paprika, cumin, star anise, ginger and coconut milk. It is made upscale by the use of filet mignon cooked medium rare. Superb with jasmine rice.

My son inspired me to cook this Puerto Rican recipe from A Return to Cooking by Eric Ripert.  This simple-to-make all-in-one entree can come to the table in under an hour even including making the rice.  Just make sure to use good quality, flavorful chicken stock since the meat is not cooked in the broth for that extra flavor and body.  The meat is cooked medium rare in a separate pan and added to the dish at the vary end.

1 eggplant, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
1/4 cup canola oil plus more if needed
1 onion, 1/4 inch dice
1 tablespoon minced ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon cumin
1 star anise, finely ground in a spice grinder
1 1/2 cups tomato, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch dice
1/3 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup coconut milk
4 cups chicken stock
2 1/2 pounds beef tenderloin, trimmed and cut into 1 inch cubes
1 lime, halved
6 basil leaves, cut into julienne
1/2 cup chopped peanuts
Coconut Jasmine Rice

Sprinkle the eggplant evenly with salt and place in a drainer over a plate to catch any of the juices.  Let drain for at least a half an hour but up to an hour to remove any bitterness.

Heat the oil in a large saute pan and add onion and ginger, season with salt and pepper; cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic and saute for 1 more minute.  Add the eggplant, paprika, cumin and star anise and cook for another 5 minutes or until eggplant is softened.  I added a few more tablespoons of oil to help the cooking process.  Add the tomato and cook until dry, about 2-3 more minutes.  Add the wine and simmer until almost evaporated.  Add the coconut milk and chicken stock, bring to a boil, reduce the heat; cook until the eggplant is softened, about 10 minutes.  Remove the eggplant and further reduce the broth until it has a sauce consistancy and the flavor is developed, a few more minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of canola oil in a large saute pan over high heat until hot.  Generously season the beef with salt and pepper.  Add the meat to the pan in batches and sear on two sides, about 2 minutes; the meat will be medium rare.

Add the meat and the eggplant back to the sauce and reheat, stirring well.

To serve, divide the rice among the bowls and top with the vegetables, meat and sauce.  Squeeze some lime juice over the dish and sprinkle with basil and peanuts.

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