Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Chateaubriand with Bearnaise ... Délicieux

I've been thinking about going back to flexitarianism, but...

O. M. G.

tonight's dinner was so good that I might abandon the thought (at least for a while).

It's our anniversary. 20 years married. We were engaged by 19 and married at 21. Certainly not what was in the plan -- ours or our parents'! But we loved each other and figured why not?!? We're broke (working $5/hour jobs and paying for two college educations will do that to you) and still have grad school to get through, but that's not the toughest thing in the world, right?

The first year we were married with a culinary, um, disaster. I made pancakes that were 3 inches thick, rock hard on the outside and a gooey mess inside. Then there was the lemon poppyseed cake (who knew you couldn't substitute concentrated lemon juice for freshly squeezed?).

Because I was working a 4 a.m. - noon shift, then in classes all afternoon Jason took dinner duty. His specialty was stir fry. Our menu went something like this:

Monday - Chicken stirfry with soy sauce over white rice
Tuesday - Beef stirfry with worcestershire sauce over white rice
Wednesday - Chicken stirfry with italian dressing sauce over white rice
Thursday - ...

Well, you get the picture. We had no clue what we were doing. But we were doing it together. And we were learning.

It's funny to look back on that now. Especially on a night like tonight, when we enjoyed Chateaubriand with Bearnaise from Around the World in 450 Recipes.


  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 tbsp tarragon vinegar (we just used white vinegar and added some dried tarragon)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp dry white wine
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 lb beef fillet * (aka tenderloin)
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

* The recipe says it serves 2, but at $29.99/pound for beef fillet (aka fillet mignon) it was gonna serve all 5 of us. Hint: cut the meat into small pieces and it seems like more is on the plate.


1. Clarify the butter by melting in a saucepan over a lot heat. Do not boil. Skim off the foam and set the butter aside.

2. Put the vinegar, wine and shallot in a heavy saucepan and boil over high heat. Reduce until most of the liquid is gone. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Add the egg yolks and whisk for one minute. Continue whisking consistently until the yolk mixture begins to thicken.  Remove pan from heat.

3. Whisk in the melted butter, drop by drop until the sauce begins to thicken.

4. Season the sauce with S&P and keep warm, stirring occasionally.  Meanwhile, place the meat between two sheets of greaseproof paper or clear film and pound with the flat side of a meat pounder until 1.5 inches thick. Season with S&P

5. Heat oil in a heavy frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the meat and cook for 10-12 minutes, turning once, until done as preferred (we like medium).

6. Transfer steak to a board and carve in thin diagonal slices. Strain the sauce and serve with the steak.

We served the meal with steamed carrots, garlic mashed potatoes, french baguette and fresh blueberries.


Chef Tanya -- Like I said.... it's good enough to seriously tempt a flexitarian! (though I prefer to NOT have to think about where it comes from. Interesting tidbit: In French it is called filet de bœuf; filet mignon, when found on a menu in France, generally refers to pork rather than beef.) I also really liked the bearnaise sauce. It's sorta like sushi eel sauce. You could put it on just about anything and it would make that thing edible.

Jason - The bearnaise sauce was fine, but the star of the meal was the meat. When they say that filet mignon is buttery, they aren't kidding! It was wonderful. Carrots, potatoes, blueberries - meh. I don't have steak very often and I certainly don't have filet mignon very often. It was, by far, the best thing I've eaten in a while.

Miranda - Can I have more meat? Who has the rest of the meat? I want more!

Olivia & Hannah both cleaned their plates (well, except for the carrots. And Hannah traded her steak to Jason for more blueberries. It was a bit like a swap meet around the table tonight!)


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