The History of

I chose the music Spring from The Four Seasons by Vivaldi because this recipe reminds me of early Spring. Imagine sitting on your deck with candles all around, a white table cloth, your finest silverware and plates, a bottle of French Merlot and some classical music playing in the background. That may not ever happen, but the thought is nice. Good luck.

History Of Chateaubriand

Food historians generally agree on two points when it comes to the history of Chateaubriand: the recipe was named for the Vicomte de Chateaubriand and it first appeared in print during the mid-19th century. Primary evidence confirms the period. It also confirms several recipe variations. On the other hand? Most recipes are not inventions, but evolutions. Good cuts of beef served with maitre d'hotel butter were served in England before this particular recipe was featured in fancy French dinner menus. Thick steaks filled with oysters (aka Carpetbag steak) were also popular at that time.

"Chateaubriand...This French version of English beef-steak was probably dedicated to the Vicomte de Chateaubriannd (1768-1848) by his chef, Montmireil: at that time, the steak was cut from the sirloin and served with a reduced sauce made from white wine and shallots moistened with demi-glace and mixed with butter, tarragon and lemon juice. An alternative spelling is chateaubriant and some maintain that the term refers to the quality of the cattle bred around the town of Chateaubriand in the Loire-Atlantique. Pellaprat, probably wrongly, specifies: The dish was created at the Champeax restaurant; it was shortly after publication of Chateaubriand's book L'Itineraire de Paris a Jerusalem (1811) that this grilled steak, comprising a thick slice from the heart of the beef filet, made its first appearance ; its cooking is a delicate process on account of the thickness, for if it is sealed too much, a hard shell is formed on either side and the centre remains uncooked; it must be cooked more slowly than a piece of ordinary thickness."

"A chateaubriand is a thick steak cut from a beef fillet. It was named after the French writer and statesman Francois Rene, Vicomte de Chateaubraind. The original application of the term appears to have been to a particular method of preparing steak-grilled and served with bearnaise sauce-which was invented by the chef Montmirail in 1822, when the Vicomte de Chateaubriand was French ambassador in London; but by the 1870s, when it was introduced into English, it had been transferred to the steak itself: The steak which had formerly been served...under the name filet de boeuf was now always announced as Chateaubrand,' E.S. Dallas, Kettner's Book of the Table (1877).

"Chateaubriand is the name given to a large piece of fillet steak, either much thicker that usual or big enough to serve at least two people, or both. There is some disagreement, e.g. between French and American butchers, over the exact size and nature of this cut. A tedious accretion of tales about the origin of the name was robustly hacked out of the way by Dallas (1877) in Kettner's Book of the Table, indeed, the author of this would have gone further and banished the term altogether, as hd the members of a certain London club (so he tells us) when a fancy chef sought to install it on their menu.

Here is the original passage from Kettner's Book of the Table (1877), quoted in full:

"Take another example of mystification, and it must be added, of exceeding folly--to use no stronger epithet. It is connected with the illustrious name of Chateaubriand. One of the foremost clubs in London one day changed its cook; and its members were astonished to find that the steak which had foremly been served to them under the name file de boeuf was now always announced as a Chateaubriand. The cook was called to account. What was the meaning of the new name? Why should plain Englishmen be puzzled with a new name--the slang of the kitchen? Why should they not, as of old, get the fillet were accustomed? The cook had really nothing to say. He could only tell that a Chateaubriand was the fashionable name in Paris for a steak cut from the ordinary fillet-steaks--nearly two inches. The members of the club were not satsified with this explanation; and to the great disgust of the chef, who felt the sumblimity of the name of Chateaubriand, the order was given that henceforth a steak from the fillet should be announced as before on other bills under the time-honoured name of filet de boeuf.


"Fillet steaks a la Chateaubriand.
Cut a fillet of beef crosswise, in 1 3/4-inch steaks; trim them; sprinkle them with salt and pepper, and oil them slightly; broil the steaks over the fire, --six minutes each side; put them on a dish; and garnish with potatoes sautees, and cut to an olive shape; pour some Chateaubriand Sauce

Reduce 2 gills of French white wine, and 1 oz. of Meat Glaze; add 1 quart of Espagnole Sauce; continue reducing; then strain, through a tammy cloth, into a bain-marie pan; Before serving, boil up the sauce, and thicken it with 1/4 lb.

"Chateaubriand Steak.
This is considered the acme of steaks. It should be cut from the fillet, quite two inches thick, and put into a marinade of the purest olive oil, with a little pepper, for a few hours. Some cooks add a few drops of French vinegar. The steak is best grilled; to ensure perfection, a double gridiron, well oiled, is recommended, and some authorities insist upon the envelopment of the steak in two thin slices of beef (any lean part; it can be put in the stock pot afterwards), to protect the exterior, as it should not be allowed to harden. Without this precaution, great care is needed to cook thoroughly, without hardening, owing to the thickness of the meat. After eighteen to twenty minutes' grilling, lay the meat before the fire on a hot dish, and finish off in either of the following ways: (1) Put a pat of maitre d'hotel butter under the steak, and a little gravy round; this can be made by mixing a grill of stock No. 16 with the same measure of brown sauce No. 2. (2) Put a pat of maitre d'hotel butter in a gill of brown sauce, first heated with a glass of white wine and a teaspoonful of lemon juice. (2) Mix chopped parsley and lemon juice, a teaspoonful of each, with a gill and a half of stock No. 16, thickened with a small quantitiy of roux and glaze, to the consistency of good cream. Serve fried potatoes, chips or ribbons with this steak. Cost, variable."

"Chateaubriand of Beef.
Cut the desired number of thick slices from a tenderloin of beef, and slit each one nearly in halves; place a teaspoonful of beef marrow seasoned with salt and cayenne and a few strips of onion in this cavity, pressing the sides together, and brush over with warm butter or oil; place on a warm gridiron over a clear fire for ten minutes. Remove, dish and squeeze a litte lemon juice over them, serving as hot as possible. Care should be take to prevent the marrow from oozing out during the process of cooking."

"2294. Chateaubriand.
Chateaubriands are obtained from the centre of the trimmed fillet of beef, cut two or three times the thickness of an ordinary fillet of steak. However, when it is to be cooked by grilling the Chateaubriand should not be more than 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) in weight as, if larger than this, the outside tends to become too dry and hard before the inside is properly cooked. Many strange ideas have been put forward concerning the proper accompaniements for Chateaubraind; correctly speaking it should be Sauce Colbert or a similar sauce and small potatoes cooked in butter. In modern practice though, Chateaubriands are served with any of the sauces and garnishes suitable for Tournedos and fillet steaks."

"Chateaubriand steak.
The Chateaubriand steak is an aristocrat, and is listed on most all a la carte bills. It is a double tenderloin served for two, three, or four. In price it ranges from $2.50 to $5.00, depending upon the size and garnish. Only one Chateaubriand is listed, as a rule, and is named after the house, as "Chateaubriand, Tip Top Inn," $3.50; "Chateaubriand, Blackstone," $4.00. The above quoted bills list but one Chateaubriand steak and the service is for four. The garnish varies with the different establishments, and generally consists of a rich sauce, fresh mushrooms, and fancy vegetables. Some places list two or three sizes with varying prices and garnishes, such as "Marchand du vin," "Bernaise," or "fresh mushrooms." In cutting the Chateaubriand for two it should be cut to weigh one and a half pounds; for three, two and a quarter pounds; for four, three pounds; and to be at its best is should be take from the "heart" or center of the tenderloin strip."

Chateaubriand with Béarnaise

2/3 cup butter, cut into pieces
1-1/2 Tbsp tarragon vinegar
1-1/2 Tbsp dry white wine
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 egg yolks
1 pound beef fillet, about 5 to 6 inches long, cut from the thickest part of the fillet
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
freshly ground black pepper
sautéed potatoes, to accompany

Clarify the butter by melting it gently in a saucepan; do not boil. Skim off any foam and set aside.

Put the vinegar, wine and shallot in a small heavy saucepan over high heat and boil to reduce until the liquid has almost all evaporated. Remove from the heat and cool slightly. Add the egg yolks and whisk for 1 minute. Place the saucepan over very low heat and whisk constantly until the yolk mixture begins to thicken and the whisk begins to leave tracks on the base of the pan, then remove the pan from the heat.

Whisk in the melted butter, drop by drop until the sauce begins to thicken, then pour in the butter a little more quickly, leaving behind the milky solids at the bottom of the pan. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm, stirring occasionally.

Place the meat between two sheets of wax paper or plastic wrap and pound with the flat side of a meat pounder or roll with a rolling pin to flatten to about 1-1/2 inches thick. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat the oil in a heavy frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the meat and cook for about 10 to 12 minutes, turning once, until done as preferred (medium-rare meat will be slightly soft when pressed, medium will be springy and well-done firm).

Transfer the steak to a board and carve in thin diagonal slices. Strain the sauce, if you prefer, and serve with the steak, accompanied by sautéed potatoes.


Yields about 1-1-2 cups.

To make béarnaise sauce, you use the same technique as for hollandaise, replacing the lemon juice with a reduction of wine, vinegar, shallots, and tarragon.

For the reduction:

2 medium shallots, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup white-wine vinegar
10 crushed black peppercorns
4 large sprigs fresh tarragon
Salt to taste

For the sauce:
10 oz. (2-1-2 sticks) good-quality unsalted butter
3 large egg yolks
3 Tbs. water

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

To make the reduction: Combine the shallots, wine, vinegar, peppercorns, and tarragon in a heavy-based saucepan and simmer over medium high until 2 Tbs. of liquid remains. Strain and discard the solids.

To make the sauce: In a heavy-based saucepan, melt the butter. Simmer it rapidly for at least 10 min.; the water will evaporate and the milk solids will coagulate on the bottom and sides of the pan. Let the melted butter sit for a few minutes so the solids will fall to the bottom. Skim off the foam on top and then either decant the golden liquid, leaving the solids behind, or pour the melted butter through a cheesecloth-lined strainer. Whisk the eggs and clarified butter (see Making the sabayon and adding the butter).

To finish the sauce is done, whisk in 1 Tbs. of the reduction (or more to taste). Season with salt and pepper. Stir in finely chopped tarragon, if you like.

You may serve the sauce over the C, or, to the side. Enjoy.

Good luck!!!!



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