18 February 2007

Chateaubriand with Herbes de Provence and Cognac-Dijon Mustard Sauce

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 for Two

  • 2 pounds 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
  • freshly-ground pepper
  • Béarnaise sauce or one package Béarnaise 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 Béarnaise sauce from scratch or according to package directions. I use skim milk and Smart Balance.

Once the Béarnaise 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. There will be leftovers.

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. It changes every time I make it, as I try to keep the vegetables seasonal. 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 Béarnaise Sauce mix today, but if you have time it's nice to make your own. Here's Michael Ruhlman's recipe.

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.

27 comments:

Lydia said...

Very romantic indeed!

Mimi said...

Too bad I had to go to work after we ate!

cityfarmer said...

If only I could snap my fingers tonight and voila...chateaubr.........

Mimi said...

I'm telling you, this recipe is as easy as snapping your fingers.

I did not use the best cut of meat this time, but it was still good.

Fiona said...

We kiwis are very fond of roast meat and vegetables, but this is a little different with the added flavourings and sauce. Very nice Mimi. I could almost smell it while looking at the photo.

Mimi said...

It did smell good. And there are leftovers!

Glenna said...

Beautiful! I used to watch them cook it in a hotel I worked for long ago, but I never paid enough attention to be able to recreate it. Thanks for the recipe! Gene will love it. He'd walk through glass on his knees for an excellent cut of beef. So some night when I'm trying to soften him up for something....I'll let you know how that works out.

Mimi said...

I've made thia a half dozen times and yesterday's was by far the best.

Patricia Scarpin said...

I love recipes that come with emotional memories - always a plus.

Mimi said...

I agree.

And then, you can always make your own, too! Memories, I mean.

Toni said...

This looks gorgeous! I hope someday to have someone to make this romantic meal for!

I agree with Patricia, that it's great to share recipes that come with memories. I did that today on my blog. (Is it the rain that brings this out?)

Mimi said...

Yes, rain or snow or sun or gloom of night. Really.

I like looking back. I see it all so clearly. Wish I knew then what I know now. . .

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Woo, pomegranate martinis, my husband would love. I'd love the whipped parsnips.
Chateaubriand was one of the first anniversary dinners my husband took us out for, it was plenty romantic. That will always be my association with this meal. Memories are so strong with food.

Mimi said...

Let me tell you, Tanna, those martinis really packed a punch!

I'm still patting myself on the back for this effort (the Chateaubriand) — it was my best yet. I give all the credit to blogging and fellow bloggers who keep me on my toes in the kitchen.

Charles said...

Ahhh, Mimi. What a wonderful gift! I'm going to have to make this for my Lovely Charming Bride. Thank you so much for sharing this.

Mimi said...

It is truly a romantic dish, Charles, or at least that is the reputation it has acquired.

Kristen said...

That looks fantastic. Very nicely done, Mimi!

Mimi said...

Thanks, Kristen. I hope to be back in full blogging gear in a day or so.

Terri said...

Oh wow! This looks exquisite!
Did you say you were opening a restaurant soon?
May I book NOW please?

Mimi said...

Ha! I would love to have a restaurant.

You could have your own table, Terri. You and Laura Florand could start your own Algonquin Round Table.

Charles said...

Made this this evening, Mimi, -- and it was a hit. I didn't use the cognac-dijon sauce, just a basic bearnaise with the shallots & stock, but even the teenagers loved it.

Betty C. said...

Congratulations on the meal! It looks fabulous...do you know what sort of meat en français would be used for this? Meat translations are always a challenge, and some of the cuts are not the same...

Mimi said...

Glad to hear it, Charles! We really enjoyed ours and there was enough left over the my husband on Monday.

BC, I have a link that shows the cut — I will find it this afternoon and send it to you.

Lisa said...

Wow, that looks so delicious. I've tagged it for future reference, maybe not too far in the future because I've been thinking and talking about doing a Chateaubriand for my husband, who has never had it. I've been meaning to ask "my meat guy" if he can get me that cut. It's a little strange getting meats from a farmer in the sense that there's not a lot (any?) of control over the butchering or the cuts you get. But I may be able to request this.

Mimi said...

I settled for a cheaper cut this year and was very disappointed. Next time I will ask, instead of relying on the meat case, or go elsewhere. I prefer to shop locally, but when I can't get what I want...

Rob said...

Gee, life can be a bitch sometimes can't it? I love this recipe and its "bits", thanks a bunch. BTW I'm an Aussie male trying to impress my wife of (now) 13 years.....damn I love that gal !!

Carole said...

Just lovely, Mimi. Thanks for bringing this sauciness over. Cheers