Chateaubriand Recipe For Two
Chateaubriand is a classic French dish that is named after the French diplomat, writer, and chef, François-René de Chateaubriand. This dish is typically made with a thick cut of beef tenderloin that is seared on the outside and cooked to medium rare on the inside. It is served with a variety of accompaniments, including a rich and flavorful sauce made from wine, stock, and butter.
The name is synonymous with luxury and haute cuisine. But what is Chateaubriand, exactly?
Not a Cut of Meat
Contrary to popular belief, Chateaubriand is not a cut of meat. Instead, it is a method of preparation or a recipe.
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 size cut makes it a perfect, albeit expensive, meal to share at an intimate New Year's dinner for two.
One of the key components of Chateaubriand is the sauce that is served with it. This sauce is typically made with a reduction of red wine and beef stock, along with butter and a variety of aromatic ingredients such as shallots, garlic, and herbs. The sauce is thickened with a small amount of flour and is seasoned to taste with salt and pepper.
To prepare Chateaubriand, the chef begins by selecting a high-quality cut of beef tenderloin. The tenderloin is then trimmed and cut into thick, 2-inch slices.
The slices are seasoned with salt and pepper and seared in a hot pan or on a grill until they are browned on the outside.
After searing, the Chateaubriand is placed in the oven to roast until it reaches the desired level of doneness. It is typically cooked to medium rare, which results in a juicy and tender piece of meat.
The roast is then allowed to rest for a few minutes before it is sliced and served.
What to Serve with Chateaubriand
In addition to the sauce, Chateaubriand is often served with a variety of accompaniments. These can include roasted vegetables, potatoes, or a salad.
Some variations of the dish also include a side of béarnaise sauce, which is a classic French sauce made with butter, egg yolks, and white wine vinegar.
A Little History
The origins of Chateaubriand can be traced back to the early 19th century. It is believed that the dish was created by the chef of Chateaubriand, Montmireil, as a way to impress the diplomat and satisfy his love for tender and juicy meat. The dish quickly gained popularity and became a staple of French haute cuisine.
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.
Initially, 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 be 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. However, you can undoubtedly vary this to suit your taste.
Chateaubriand is a luxurious and indulgent dish that is perfect for special occasions and fancy dinners. It is a testament to the richness and complexity of French cuisine, and it is sure to impress even the most discerning foodies.
Whether you are a seasoned chef or a novice cook, Chateaubriand is a classic dish that is well worth the effort to prepare. So why not give it a try and see for yourself just how delicious this French delicacy can be?
Buying the Steaks
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. Instead, 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 ease of preparation at home, ask him to remove the chain meat and the silver skin from the roast.
For those who are do-it-yourselves types, you can purchase the roast untrimmed and trim it yourself. The silver skin is relatively easy to remove if you have a sharp knife, 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.
- 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. Then, 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. It would help if you had plenty of oil/butter left in the cooking pan.
- Place the pan over medium heat - carefully, 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 it 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 thicken the sauce further 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.