Memories and healthy recipes for your dinner table.

Chateaubriand, The Language of Romance


Chateaubriand is a French dish created by chef, Montmireil for Vicomte Francois Chateaubriand. Francois was a 19th century author and statesman to Napoleon and was considered to be the father of Romanticism in French Literature.

It is said that Montmireil chose the thickest, less flavorful part of the tenderloin. He placed the meat in between two pieces of flavorful beef, brushed it with lard, seasoned with pepper and salt, then burnt the outside to a crisp. He threw away the burnt layers and was left with a rare interior. The Chateaubriand was topped with a reduced white wine sauce (made with shallots, demi-glace, butter and lemon juice) and served alongside chateau potatoes (peeled potatoes cut into the shape of olives then sautéed until browned)

Today there is a never ending dispute over the thickness of the steak (1 1/4 inches a typical tenderloin steak to 2 inches) and the use of a Bearnaise Sauce versus the standard white wine sauce. However, the French do agree on one thing, Chateaubriand is considered the recipe for romance. It is a meal that serves only two and is often prepared on special occasions for loved ones.

I am smitten with this version of Chateaubriand. The recipe calls for a wonderful combination of herbs known as Herb De Provence in a shallot sauce. The lavender in the Herb De Provence adds sophistication and romance to the Chateaubriand. It is sort of like lacy white gloves on an antique wooden bureau decorated with a delicate crocheted doily topped with a ceramic vase filled with wild flowers and an old black and white photo of a young couple forever in love.

Source: French Kitchen In America
2 pound trimmed beef tenderloin
2-3 large cloves garlic, slivered
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
4 medium shallots, minced
2 cups beef broth
Splash of cognac or Peach juice
2 tbsp grainy Dijon mustard
1 tbsp dried herbs de Provence
2 tbsp unsalted butter
freshly-ground pepper
Vegetables such as green beans, pearl onions, quartered yellow onions, asparagus, artichokes, potatoes, carrots, leeks, ect.

Preheat oven to 450.

Cut 3/4-inch deep slits in the underside of the tenderloin. Fill these with slivered garlic. Brush tenderloin with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Heat the third tablespoon along with one tablespoon butter in a heavy skillet over medium-high to high heat. 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. 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 herbs de Provence. Whisk into butter. Season with pepper.

Shallot Sauce

Serve sauce over steak with vegetables.