Châteaubriand with Bernaise Sauce

Posted on February 23, 2006


Châteaubriand with Bernaise Sauce 


Châteaubriand with Julia and Jacques


The writer and statesman Vicomte de Châteaubriand helped usher in the Romantic movement in the years following the French Revolution, but his legacy extends well beyond literature and politics and into the kitchen. It was at the Vicomte’s behest that a chef named Montmireil experimented with cooking techniques for beef tenderloin and thus hit upon the idea of cooking the meat between two thin steaks (which were subsequently discarded) for a uniformly pink and juicy result. During a recent visit to the Westport studios, chefs Julia Child and Jacques Pépin shared with Martha their recipe for Châteaubriand—cut from a six-pound tenderloin—and a rich béarnaise sauce.


Serves 8

2 2 ¼ lb pieces of beef tenderloin, cut from large end (head)
2 tablepoon extra virgin olive oil
Freshly cracked black pepper
Kosher salt 1.

Heat oven to 250°. Stand meat on its wider-cut end on a solid work surface. Fold a kitchen towel lengthwise once or twice into a wide band, and drape it loosely around the upright meat like a scarf. Gather the ends of the towel, and twist to form a tight collar that will hold meat in a round shape during pounding; grasp securely in one hand. With the other hand, pound top of meat with a meat mallet until flattened into an oval steak about 2 inches thick and 5 to 7 inches wide.

2. Heat a medium grill pan over high heat until it is very hot. Rub steak with oil, and season with salt and pepper.

3. Place steak on grill pan at an angle to ridges, and cook until ridges leave clear marks, 2 1/2 to 3 minutes. Turn, maintaining same angle and repeat on second side. Turn again, rotating so visible grill marks are perpendicular to ridges. Cook until a crisscross is clearly marked, 2 1/2 to 3 minutes. Turn once more, maintaining same angle, and grill so second side has been on grill

4. Meat will be barely springy to the touch, indicating that it is still rare. Transfer to a small shallow roasting pan, and place pan in oven for 15 minutes. Remove to a cutting board; slice thin on a bias. Place on a warm serving platter, and pour pan juices over. Serve with béarnaise sauce on the side.

Note: Can use whole tenderloin or cut loin into filet mignon steaks.





1 ¼ cup white-wine vinegar
2 shallot, minced
3 teaspoons dried tarragon
8 large egg yolks
4 tablespoons water
1cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
Coarse salt

BEARNAISE SAUCE: In a small saucepan, bring vinegar, shallot, and tarragon to a boil. Cook until liquid has reduced to 2 tablespoons, about 4 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh sieve. Rinse out saucepan, and return the strained vinegar to the pan.

Add egg yolks and the 4 tablespoons water. Cook, over low heat, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens and forms thick ribbons, 5-6 minutes.

Whisk in butter, one piece at a time: If sauce gets too hot (it starts to bubble), remove from heat and whisk in a piece of butter. Continue whisking until all the butter has been absorbed, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and immediately transfer to a bowl to stop further cooking. Season with salt. Use immediately, or keep warm over a pan of barely simmering water.


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