Beef/ Dinner

beef tenderloin with apricot and olives

Do you have dinner plans tonight?

I think you really should make this beef tenderloin with apricot and olives.



I normally would save this kind of recipe for a Monday or a Tuesday, but I just made it myself and can’t help but share. It’s just that good. It’s my mom’s recipe and, well, she knows her stuff. The beef is sauteed and then tossed in a mouth watering tangy sauce made from apricot preserves, kalamata olives and vinegar, and then finished off with baby spinach and fluffy jasmine rice. I’m guessing mom adapted this from an old Bon Appetit or Gourmet recipe, and it really just hits the spot.

Plus, it comes together in only about twenty minutes, making it the perfect Saturday evening meal.

Are you sold yet?

When it comes to BEEF, I don’t mess around.

I rarely eat it, so when I do, I go big or go home. I buy grass-fed organic and always opt for the best quality possible. While you could make this dish with chicken (mom has before), it’s just not as good. For some reason, the apricot sauce just really works best with beef. So beef it is!

Here you have about a pound of diced sirloin. To begin, I’m going to brown the beef in one tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat.

This takes about six minutes. You just want the beef to be cooked about medium/rare. Don’t go overboard or else it’ll dry out!

Then, remove the beef with a spatula, sprinkle with salt and pepper and place it on a clean plate while you make the sauce.

Now it’s time to get saucy!  Add three cloves of chopped garlic to the same pan you cooked the beef in.

It’s going to smell really, really, really good. Get ready!

Once that’s cooked for a few minutes, add three tablespoons of red wine vinegar to deglaze the pan.

And then a whole cup of apricot preserves. I really never even LIKED apricot preserves until I had this dish.

Yummy. As the sauce cooks, it thickens and gets an almost caramelized note to it. I mean, just look at that color!

Add a cup of roughly chopped olives…

Also add the beef back in and a bag of spinach!

Cook for a few minutes so that the beef heats through and the spinach wilts. Then ladle this deliciousness right onto a pile of jasmine rice and consume.

It doesn’t really have to be “jasmine” rice, I suppose…but I’m doing what my mom says to do.

A good lesson in life, no?

And that, my friends, is a darn good dinner. Make it for a crowd or make it for yourself. Why? Because you’re worth it.

Beef Tenderloin with Apricot and Olives

serves 4

1 1/4 lbs beef tenderloin, chopped into large cubes

1 cup kalamata olives, roughly chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

3 T red wine vinegar

1 cup apricot preserves

1 6-oz bag baby spinach

1 T olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

jasmine rice to serve

Brown the beef in the olive oil over medium high heat. When it’s medium rare, remove from pan, set on a plate and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Add the minced garlic to the same pan you cooked the beef in. Cook for about three minutes and then add the vinegar to deglaze the pan, stirring well to scrape up any brown bits. Add the apricot preserves and cook for four minutes, until the sauce bubbles and thickens. Add the olives, beef and spinach and heat through, cooking for a few minutes so that the spinach wilts and the beef finishes cooking.

Serve over jasmine rice.

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  • Jessica @ How Sweet It Is
    November 20, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    My husband decided he wanted chicken fried steak for our Sunday dinner (apparently he forgets it’s Thanksgiving week) but after seeing this, I’m changing our plans!

    • jenna
      November 20, 2010 at 1:17 pm

      can you believe I’ve never made chicken fried steak before? It might take my relationship with my boyfriend to a whole new level.

      • Alexia @ DimpleSnatcher
        November 20, 2010 at 4:44 pm

        i’ve never even heard of chicken fried steak!

        • Alexia @ DimpleSnatcher
          November 20, 2010 at 4:46 pm

          oh! just googled it and it’s totally not the greediness i was envisioning 🙂

          • Emily G.
            November 21, 2010 at 8:25 pm

            Chicken fried chicken is MUCH better!! 🙂 Served with mac and cheese and creamed potatoes!! 🙂

  • Jen
    November 20, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    This looks absolutely delish! I’ll have to make this for the husband soon…I think he might love red meat more than he loves me 😮 (and I love that it’s a quick recipe to throw together, so it’s all good!)

  • Hannah @ Hannah Lives
    November 20, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    I was en route to make Fennel and Onion soup gratinee, but I’m thinking about pulling my sirloin steaks out of the freezer for this. Beef sounds really good right now. It’s cold, and Im starving.

    • jenna
      November 20, 2010 at 1:16 pm

      it’s freezing here, too…that’s what spurred this beefy decision today. You won’t regret it.

  • Rocky Slaughter
    November 20, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    Please cook this for Almanzo every night until I come back. Also throw in bacon, chocolate, and butter. Sincerely, Rocky.

    • Jasmine @ Eat Move Write
      November 20, 2010 at 6:28 pm

      Does Rocky mean to actually throw in chocolate, butter, AND bacon into that dish? Because if you manage to do that, I would be so incredibly impressed I’d read your blog everyday.

      Oh… wait…

  • Natalia - a side of simple
    November 20, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    I can always go for a meat dish every now and then. I think the jasmine rice is the perfect masculine touch, too. 😉

  • Carrie (Love Healthy Living)
    November 20, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    I’m vegan but I KNOW this dish must smell and taste amazing.

  • Jess
    November 20, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    That looks amazing! I might just have to go to the grocery store on the way home to get some ingredients…

  • Jen
    November 20, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    Does your mom love to cook as much as you do? And, do you have a preference between cooking and baking?!

    • jenna
      November 20, 2010 at 1:29 pm

      my mom LOVES to cook, and while I do to, I much more enjoy baking…which is what I got my culinary arts degree in.

      • Jen
        November 20, 2010 at 4:45 pm

        Guest post from your Ma! 🙂

  • laine
    November 20, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    Since my freezer is full of grass fed beef, I want to make this. But none of it is sirloin. I have shank, a soup bone with meat on it, flank, a rib eye, an eye of round. Which one would be best? The shank and soup bone?

    • jenna
      November 20, 2010 at 1:37 pm

      If I were you, I’d go with the flank. Just cube it up!

  • Bethany @ More Fruit Please
    November 20, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    When it comes to mothers’ directions (especially on recipes) it’s definitely good to follow them exactly! This looks delicious!

  • Liz @ Blog is the New Black
    November 20, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    This looks really great! i don’t eat olive, though- do you think it would be ok without them?!

    • jenna
      November 20, 2010 at 1:43 pm

      it would just be different…olives are kind of a key ingredient in this dish, but if you don’t eat them just try it without them?

  • Anne @ Your Kind of Salad
    November 20, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    YUM! I love apricot preserves in cooking! My sister makes a dish similar (kind of) to this one except with chicken, whole apricots, Spanish green olives, Kalamata olives AND (wait for it), prunes. It sounds gross; but somehow the fruit and olives just work magically together!

  • Tab - Just Weighing In
    November 20, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    That looks amazing and I don’t even eat beef! 🙂

  • Jil @ Big City, Lil Kitchen
    November 20, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    This looks fantastic – love the use of jam!

  • Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun
    November 20, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    I love how simple this is even though the tastes all sound like they combine to a pretty gourmet feeling meal. I crave beef while pregnant so this sounds REALLY good to me right now. We’re getting beef from a half cow share we went in on, so when that comes in this will have to be on the menu.

  • Jenny
    November 20, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    WOW! This looks yummy, apricot is a genius idea.

  • Jenna
    November 20, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    I wish I liked beef because then I would be all over this like white on rice! Maybe I should attempt it with chicken 🙂 yummmy.

  • Stephanie Doesn't Have a Blog
    November 20, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    I never comment on these things but I saw this and think I should make it! I’m starting to like your blog more than some others because you eat more like a normal person with a heavy emphasis on eating for flavor and not just nutrients. I get a little exhausted by how orthorexic a lot of bloggers in this community come across as. You are refreshing so thank you:)

  • Suzanne de Cornelia
    November 20, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    I eat beef about once every 2 years & this has everything I like~spinach, wine, jasmine rice, Kalamatas & the apricot jam sounds perfect. Will fix this, thx!

    Bouquets for the #7 win!!

  • Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga)
    November 20, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    I love that you can post meat on your blog. God, it’s great to have that freedom!!

    My blog is vegan and I am vegan but my hubs is not and I am cooking meat for him this week, on Thanksgiving (the one day per year that i do it) and mentioned it on my blog….and got crucified.

    Rock on w/ the beef tenderloin sista! I lovvvvvve apricots!


  • Anon
    November 20, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    What about for those of us who do not have access to organic or grass-fed forms of beef or flank? What should we look for on a label?

    • jenna
      November 20, 2010 at 5:13 pm

      just any regular ol’ beef will do! 🙂

  • Shannon
    November 20, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    I rarely comment, but this looks delicious. I like recipes with meat 🙂 Thanks for sharing (and thank you, Mama ELR)!

  • Desi@ThePalatePeacemaker
    November 20, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    I don’t eat beef very often either, so I’m the same way as you! When I get it, I go all out! These photos are absolutely gorgeous, and I bet they STILL don’t even do justice to the taste. I’m very excited to try this recipe. Have a feeling my boyfriend is going to love it too! Thanks so much!! 🙂

  • Felicia (a taste of health with balance)
    November 20, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    First time commenting, love your blog! And Wow, this looks really easy and tasty. I feel the same way about beef, and I have a feeling the men in my life would love this dish! Thank you for sharing 🙂

  • Estela @ Weekly Bite
    November 20, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    We’re big meat eaters in our house and LOVE tenderloin! I’m adding this to my recipe rotation 🙂

  • Kasey
    November 20, 2010 at 5:22 pm

    My husband would love this! I need to feed him beef at least once a week to keep him happy 🙂

  • Heather @ Get Healthy With Heather
    November 20, 2010 at 6:51 pm

    What a nice way to use up apricot preserves. It usually takes me a while to get through them. Your mom’s got some good taste 🙂

  • A Teenage Gourmet (Sami)
    November 20, 2010 at 7:17 pm

    Looks fantastic! I could be wrong, but I think “mom” should be “Mom.” I’m only mentioning this because my English teacher made me capitalize on Friday! Do you know which one is correct?

    • Kaley
      November 22, 2010 at 3:47 am

      If you say my/her/his/their before mom, then it’s not capitalized. If you just say, “Remember, Mom always said don’t play ball in the house,” then it is. It’s like a proper name.

  • salah@myhealthiestlifestyle
    November 20, 2010 at 8:25 pm

    I’m not a big fan of beef but this looks amazing!!!

  • Jen J.
    November 20, 2010 at 9:30 pm

    Jenna, just discovered your site and am REALLY enjoying reading through recent posts — your enthusiasm for food and cooking jumps off the page! Seriously, I don’t eat much beef either, but I am trying this recipe ASAP. These posts give me hope that I can be a good cook, not just an enthused lover of food. Thanks!

  • Shannon riva
    November 20, 2010 at 10:40 pm

    This looks good and easy- will definitely make it soon. Also wanted to tell you that I am in sonoma count vacationing from tampa and ate an amazing meal at Cyrus today!

  • Sharon
    November 21, 2010 at 3:01 am

    Anything with olives in it can buy me very easily…

  • Linda
    November 21, 2010 at 6:53 am

    I’ve never tried the meat with apricots, I don’t like meat, then I cook it for my dad.

  • Krystina (Basil & Wine)
    November 21, 2010 at 7:06 am

    I like the combination of apricot and olives. It must taste interesting.

  • Pam (Holistic Health Coach)
    November 21, 2010 at 8:06 am

    Wow, looks so good!
    I’m heading to the store so I can make this tonight.

  • Erin
    November 21, 2010 at 6:24 pm

    Just made this after seeing your post. It was AWESOME!!! My husband loved it and it was sooo easy! Thanks for sharing this. It’s definitely a keeper!

  • amanda
    December 3, 2010 at 9:04 pm

    yum, made this for dinner tonight and the boyfriend was thrilled. thanks!

  • amanda
    December 3, 2010 at 9:04 pm

    yum, made this for dinner tonight and the boyfriend was thrilled. thanks!

  • Erin
    December 13, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    Jenna, you have pretty much turned into my cookbook. Actually, I strayed and I had a torte failure. Fortunately, I made cake balls with it and the ganache.
    I also made this dish on Friday and it was SO. GOOD. Even better than I imagined. The olives are so perfect. And it was so fast. My boyfriend was so shocked that we had a delicious, and quick meal. Our kitchen exploits generally take hours.
    And on that note, I’m off to make your linguine with clams for dinner, again.
    I really sound like I have a problem.

  • Katy @ Look What Katydid
    February 1, 2011 at 7:19 am

    Oh my stars. I made this last night and it took every ounce of willpower not to eat the entire pan in one sitting. So delicious. I still can’t get over how well the tangy melds with the salty melds with the sweet. Kinda reminded me of chinese food, but not quite. Regardless it was bangin. Adding this one to my regular dinner rotation…

  • Elyse Ubalde
    June 1, 2012 at 2:28 am

    Friend and I had a dinner date tonight-and we prepared this together. We loved it!! Thanks!