I was a teenager the first time I watched by father prepare Chateaubriand for two. He explained that it was a very romantic dish so of course, I paid a good deal of attention to its preparation, imagining that some day I would make it for someone I loved.
What fascinated me was that there were really no prescribed vegetables to surround this very tasty tenderloin. My father told me it was a good opportunity to serve seasonal vegetables. If I recall correctly, his was made with small potatoes, onions, carrots and green beans. I have made this with broccoli and Brussels sprouts and would like some day to try it with root vegetables.
I now prepare it at least once a year for my husband. My father's recipe was in his head. Here is mine, adapted from one I found online somewhere years ago.
Chateaubriand Chez Moi
2 pound trimmed tenderloin
2-3 large cloves garlic, slivered
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
4 medium shallots, minced
2 cups beef broth
2 tablespoons grainy Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon dried herbs de Provence
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Bearnaise sauce or one package Bearnaise sauce mix
Preheat oven to 450.
Cut 3/4-inch deep slits in the underside of the tenderloin. Fill these with minced garlic. Brush tenderloin with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Heat the third tablespoon along with one tablespoon butter in a heavy skillet. Brown meat on all four sides, using tongs to turn it over so that it browns evenly. This process takes about 4-5 minutes.
Once meat is browned, set it on the top rack of roasting pan (I use the one that came with my oven, for best results.) Surround it with the vegetables you are using and bake for about 30 minutes for medium rare meat.
While the meat is in the oven, place one tablespoon of butter and shallots in the skillet. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add broth, which will deglaze the pan. Turn up the heat and reduce the liquid by half before adding the Cognac, mustard and herbes de Provence. Whisk into butter. Season with pepper.
Prepare Bearnaise sauce from scratch or according to package directions. I use skim milk and Smart Balance.
Once the Bearnaise sauce is ready, add it to the shallot-Cognac sauce in the skillet and blend, whisking. As the sauce cools it will thicken.
Serve the tenderloin on an oval platter surrounded by vegetables. Cover the entire dish with sauce.
Note It's a good idea to check the vegetables and the meat, every 5 minutes or so, especially if you are including brocolli. Sunday I used pearl onions, Yukon gold potatoes, young green beans, baby carrots and button mushrooms. We like to pair this with Cabernet Sauvignon, something a little oak-y.
I try not to add salt to my Chateaubriad, especially when I used a canned beef broth, which I do when I am pressed for time. I used a Bearnaise mix today. Come and get me, food blog police.
Our Valentine's Day celebration was a bit delayed, but we celebrated twice. Saturday night we enjoyed pomegranate martinis, beef risotto with sage, lobster bisque with saffron and curry, tenderloin with cherry sauce and whipped parsnips, and a heart-shaped flourless chocolate cake with vanilla-raspberry sauce and another bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon at our favorite restaurant.
A much simpler diet awaits us starting tomorrow.