Chateaubriand Recipe

December 12, 2008 25 Comments

Chateaubriand Recipe

Chateaubriand Recipe For Two

Chateaubriand. The name is synonymous with luxury and haute cuisine. But, what is Chateaubriand, exactly? Contrary to popular belief Chateaubriand is not a cut of meat. Rather, it is a method of preparation, or a recipe. Apocryphally, the dish, like so many other famous dishes – Quiche Lorraine, Pavlova, Peach Melba, Crepes Suzette, was named in honor of the vicomte Francois-Ren de Chateaubriand, a politician, ambassador and the founder of Romanticism in French literature.

Chateaubriand is traditionally made from a thick center cut of beef tenderloin. The cut weighs about 12 oz, and it is generally intended to serve two. This makes it a perfect, albeit expensive, meal to share at an intimate New Year’s dinner for two. Originally, the two ends of the tenderloin were cut off the main portion and roasted in the oven along with the Chateaubriand, to protect the thicker cut from burning. The two end pieces would burn and were discarded, leaving the Chateaubriand a perfectly medium-rare. And people wonder why the peasants revolted!

As with most recipes, there are many variations on Chateaubriand preparation. When I think of Chateaubriand, I think of a lovely, thick piece of tenderloin roasted to a perfect medium rare and served with a demi-glace enriched wine sauce. You can certainly vary this to suit your taste.

When you go to your butcher, you most likely will not be able to find a Chateaubriand roast waiting for you in the display case. You will have to ask to have one cut for you. You can consider purchasing a whole, vacuum-packed tenderloin, but this is quite the investment. Tell your butcher that you want to serve Chateaubriand, and ask for a large, 1-pound thick steak (or small roast) cut from the center of the tenderloin. For your ease of preparation at home, ask him to remove the chain meat and the silver skin from the roast.

For those of you who are do-it-yourselves types, you can purchase the roast untrimmed and trim it yourself. If you have a sharp knife, the silver skin is fairly easy to remove, as is the attached chain meat. You can save the chain meat for making Beef Stroganoff or a stir-fry. You might even grind it up in a food processor and make a tasty hamburger.

Chateaubriand Recipe

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 2 servings


1 thick, center cut tenderloin steak, approximately 1 pound

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 shallot, minced

4 oz. full-bodied red wine

4 oz. demi glace

1-tablespoon butter, softened

2 teaspoons minced fresh tarragon

Whole tarragon leaves, for garnish

How To Prepare At Home

Preheat your oven to 375º F.

Liberally sprinkle salt and pepper on the steak.

Preheat an oven-safe heavy skillet or saute pan over medium-high heat. Depending on your stove, this could take 4 or 5 minutes. I set a timer to make sure I'm not rushing.

Add the butter and oil to the pan. When the butter stops foaming, sear the meat on all sides until well browned. Place the meat in the hot pan, and do not move it for at least 2 minutes. With tongs, turn the meat and continue searing. If the meat sticks to the pan, leave it for another few seconds. When the sear is complete, the meat will release on its own, so be gentle and patient. Keep an eye on the heat, you may need to adjust it up or down to maintain a good "sizzle ' without burning the meat.

Remove the meat from the pan, and place an oven-safe rack in the cooking pan. Put the meat on the rack and roast in the oven until the meat has reached an internal temperature of 125º F. Use a probe thermometer so you don't have to keep opening the oven. Alternately, check the internal temperature with an instant read thermometer after ten or twelve minutes. Remove from the oven. Put the meat on a warmed platter to rest for about 15 minutes. The temperature will continue to rise, and your meat will be a perfect medium rare.

While the meat is resting, prepare the sauce. You should have plenty of oil/butter left in the cooking pan. Place the pan over medium heat - careful, it has been in the oven. Make sure you have an oven mitt, because the handle can burn you. Add the minced shallot and saute until translucent, but not browned.

Add the red wine. Turn the heat up to medium high and reduce by half. Add the demi-glace to the pan and reduce for a couple of minutes until the mixture is somewhat syrupy. Taste for seasonings, and add salt and pepper if necessary. Stir in the minced tarragon and remove from the heat. Swirl in the softened butter right before serving. This will help to further thicken the sauce and impart a lovely sheen.

For a classic presentation, slice your Chateaubriand in half diagonally and serve on warmed plates with the sauce spooned over. Garnish with some fresh tarragon leaves. The traditional accompaniment to Chateaubriand is Chateau potatoes, but you may serve it with any side dishes you like. Steamed or sauteed vegetables make a light and colorful foil to the rich main dish.

Last modified on Tue 15 July 2014 9:54 am

Filed in: Beef Recipes

Comments (25)

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  1. Peter Hertzmann says:

    Hi RG,

    Your demi-glace recipe is too impractical to be made in modern restaurants, at least any that I’ve worked in in France. The only place I see this recipe still be done is in cooking schools. Modern demi-glace is essentially a highly reduced stock.

  2. sarah says:

    Sorry, but I think the demi glace on this page is a heck of a lot more practical than all of that chopping a chicken’s feet and all of that nonsense on your link. I don’t care if it is modern, this recipe seems much more doable to me.

  3. jan holland says:

    Peter Hertzmann’s link to the modern demi-glace “I dont think so” I will stick with RG’s thankyou

  4. Jacques says:

    What is a chateaubriand bouquetière?

    • The Reluctant Gourmet says:

      A bouquetière is a garnish of mixed fresh vegetables, in season so I’m guessing this is classic Chateaubriand with a fresh vegetable garnish.

  5. Mark says:

    If you have to tell people you’ve worked in restaurants in France, it’s not even likely you’ve ever eaten in a French restaurant.

    There’s always one in the bunch.

  6. Bo says:

    This recipe sounds exciting and reaaly good.
    What starters would compliment the dish?

  7. James says:

    Bo – I suggest Starters of Pomegranate seeds on Lambs Lettuce – it is light, understated and delicate. It cleans the palette ready for the focal Chateaubriand. Desert of champagne jelly with single cream – totally delicious and once again light and refreshing – perfect after the bulk and richness from the Chateaubriand.
    Try it and see

    Sounds interesting – RG

  8. Jim says:

    I tried this recipe, but used my own demi glace. If you have a gourmet grocery store near you, you can buy it already done. It makes it much easier. Everything else works perfect! it came out great.

    Hi Jim, you are absolutely right. It is so much easier if you can find a good commercial demi glace at your gourmet grocery store. If that is not possible, there are some good sources here for demi glace. – RG

  9. Clive says:

    well guys i don’t know what all the fuss is about, we have being doing our sauces the “old” way for 8 years in our restaurant in china. that’s why people keep coming back, quality takes time !

    Thanks Clive – RG

  10. Blaise says:

    You can purchase demi glace at William and Sonoma for $35. I have tried it and if one has to buy ready made, it is ready good.

  11. Blaise says:

    James, what is champagne jelly? How do you make it? I’m intrigued.

  12. john says:

    Concentrated demi-glace is available at Sur-La-Table for about $6. It can be mixed with beef stock to make a delicious 4 oz demi-glace stock.

  13. Michele says:

    Loved this recipe with a little bit of history :). Submitted to The Steak as featured recipe.

  14. Marcia Hess says:

    My Mother did this and put the meat in the oven and shut the door then turned off the heat . It was perfect but I don’t remember how long she left it in the oven. Any ideas?

    Hi Marcia, it really isn’t about time as much as it is about internal meat temperature. You want the meat to reach an internal temperature of about 125º F. depending on how you like your meat cooked. Please see my post called How Do You Know When The Meat Is Done? – RG

  15. home wine says:

    I relish, lead to I discovered just what I used to be looking for. You have ended my 4 day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a nice day. Bye

  16. Pat says:

    I am cooking a 4 1/2 lb tenderloin. How long and at what temperature should I cook it??

    Hi Pat, did you check out the recipe with the post? It’s all there for you. RG

  17. William Montague Tayloe says:

    I received two ten ounce tenderloins from Omaha Steaks. They are labeled “Chateaubriand” but don’t include a recipe. They look lovely, solidly frozen in their see-through vacuum sealed plastic containers. I’m hep on your oven roasting technique and will surely follow your recipe but I’m making a Bearnaise sauce best described in Pippa Middleton’s book Celebrate (Viking 2012, page 190) – Wish me luck! WmT. – Middleburg, Virginia

    • The Reluctant Gourmet says:

      Good Luck William. Interesting they call the cut Chateaubriand since it is not really a cut of meat but a way to prepare them. Saying that, you typically use the “center” cut of a beef tenderloin, the most expensive cut so maybe that’s how they market them. I have talked with many so called “meat experts” and they all have their own opinions about buying frozen steaks and I’m still not sure how much it effects the flavor of the beef. It seems common sense would say it makes a huge difference but that’s not what I hear from a few experts. They say the quality of the meat is way more important. I don’t think I have a Bearnaise sauce recipe on my site so I’ll try to get around to posting one soon. Please let me know how it all works out for you William and Happy New Year.

  18. Eileen Price says:

    How did the bearnaise sauce work?

  19. Russ Brown says:

    Vicky and I did this for our 26 anniversary last night. Not only was it excellent it was another meaningful sharing of 45 minutes from prep to enjoying. I served on hot plates that heated in the oven with the tenderloin.

  20. burnett says:

    going to give this a try with the exception that, while sticking to the searing instructions and temps and rest time, rather than scratching my poor ol’ head ( old fat southern boy here who loves to cook,) i am going to make the sauce differently. normally what i do for a good pice of beef, if i make any at all, means taking about a cup of chardonney, adding just a bit of the stock from the cooked meat if done in the oven instead of the smoker or grill, and then adding to that the juice from one orange, along with a teaspoon of honey. i put this all in a small saucepan and warm it just until it begins to go past the light simmering stage, and have it on the side for adding to the meat.

    good site by the way. b. blackmon, carrollton, ms.

  21. Sue Nash says:

    I am cooking beef (chateaubriand style)for a few guests and was wondering if it is okay to sear the meat in preparation and leave loosely covered with foil until ready for it to go into the oven?

    • The Reluctant Gourmet says:

      Sue, I guess that depends on how long you are going to leave it loosely covered on the counter. I’ve seen chefs pre-sear steaks and chops for the evening rush but I would check with a food nutritionist if you are concerned about safety issues.

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