Châteaubriand Recipe for Two
Delicious and surprisingly easy to prepare, Châteaubriand (complete with Sauce Béarnaise) makes a perfect special occasion dinner for two.
Made with a premium section of beef cut from the center of a whole beef tenderloin, Châteaubriand is a dish named for 19th-century French statesman and author François Châteaubriand.
Traditionally prepared for two servings and topped with Béarnaise sauce, this iconic dish is best accompanied by simple side dishes like the ones we’ve pictured here (links below).
Chateaubriand is actually just the name of a dish, not the cut of beef used to make it. This cut is exclusively taken from the center section of a whole, trimmed beef tenderloin. Filet mignon steaks can be cut from any portion of a trimmed beef tenderloin.
Chateaubriand is usually pan-seared on the outside to seal in the juices, then finished for a few minutes in a hot oven like a small roast.
The center section of the beef tenderloin used for Chateaubriand weighs about 12 ounces and is most often prepared as a small roast. It makes a lovely presentation and the perfect portion size for an elegant two-person meal.
Bearnaise sauce is one of the most popular choices to serve with Chateaubriand, but other wine-based sauces or compound butters make equally delicious accompaniments. Just keep in mind that any sauce you choose should have a delicate flavor that won’t overpower the beef.
What to Serve with Châteaubriand
To fully enjoy this delicious, tender cut of beef and the delicate flavor of the Béarnaise sauce, we recommend simple, easy to prepare side dishes:
More Beef Tenderloin Recipes
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Châteaubriand Recipe for Two
- 12 ounces beef tenderloin, see notes
- 1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Béarnaise sauce
- 1/4 cup champagne vinegar, or white wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1 tablespoon shallots, minced
- 3 tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 10 tablespoons butter, melted
- 3 large egg yolks
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Season the beef liberally on all sides with salt and pepper and set it aside to come to room temperature while you make the Béarnaise sauce.
Make the Béarnaise sauce
- Combine the vinegar, wine, shallots, tarragon leaves, peppercorns, and salt in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a rapid simmer and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, or until reduced by about 75%.
- Set aside to cool for a few minutes, then strain into a small bowl, pressing the shallot mixture with the back of a spoon to squeeze out all of the liquid. You should have about 2 tablespoons. If you're short, just add a little water to make up the difference.
- Rinse and dry the saucepan and add the butter. Melt completely over medium heat and set aside for 2 to 3 minutes. Carefully skim off most of the foam that forms with a spoon and set aside. Removing the foam helps the sauce to emulsify.
- Place 1/2 to 3/4-inch of water in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Find a heatproof bowl that will fit over the simmering water without actually touching it during cooking. A distance of about 1-1/2 inches between the water and the bottom of the bowl is ideal. We generally use a stainless mixing bowl over a 2-quart saucier.
- Place the egg yolks and strained vinegar mixture into the heatproof bowl and whisk together until blended. Set the bowl over the simmering water and whisk vigorously. As the eggs thicken and increase in volume, scrape the sides frequently to keep the mixture cooking evenly. You must whisk continually until the eggs have thickened to the point where you can see thin ribbons form when you lift the whisk. This should take about 5 minutes.
- To finish the sauce, whisk in the melted butter in a very slow drizzle. The sauce will thicken and develop a glossy sheen.
- To keep the Béarnaise warm for just a few minutes while you cook the beef, you can simply remove the pan from the stove and leave it in the bowl above the hot water. For longer storage, transfer it to a large insulated mug or thermos.
Roast the beef
- Heat the olive oil in a heavy, ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef and sear until lightly browned on all sides, turning with tongs as needed, about 3 minutes total.
- Place the skillet in the oven and roast for 10 to 12 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer registers 125° for medium rare. Tent with foil and allow to rest for 20 minutes before carving.