I really love the idea of that restaurant dinner of "Chateaubriand for Two". It has a sexy and romantic quality to it. And just look at that Bearnaise sauce on top of the beef. Looking elegant Mr. Steak!
Beef tenderloin, a good quality tenderloin is very expensive. So in true fashion of Cooking On A Budget I'm making the "poor mans" version of the dish by substituting out the tenderloin for an on sale steak. You can use any cut of steak that is affordable for you. A good thick sirloin would work - just try and get one with some marbling in it and don't forget to cut it across the grain for more tender steak.
You can make the Bearnaise sauce over a double boiler, or use a blender. This method worked well for making hollandaise and it came out great for the Bearnaise sauce too!
- salt and pepper for the steak
- 1 tbsp. butter and 1/2 tbsp. olive oil (for searing the steak)
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
- 1 tbsp. shallot or onion - finely chopped
- 2 tbsp. fresh tarragon or 1 tbsp. dried tarragon
- salt to taste
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- juice from 1/2 lemon or approximately 2 tbsp. bottled lemon juice*
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 stick butter - melted
- Preheat the oven to 400°.
- Season both sides of the steak with salt and pepper and let it rest for a a short while.
- While you are making the sauce get an oven proof skillet large enough to hold your steak and place it on the stove top over high heat. Let the pan come up to temperature and add in the butter and olive oil.
- Sear the steaks over high heat for 3-5 minutes per side and pop the pan in the oven while you are making the sauce. Test for doneness between 10 to 20 minutes (mine was an addition 6-8 minutes in the oven as the steaks were not that thick) with an instant read thermometer or press the top of the steak with tongs to check for spring action. The stiffer the steak the more well done it is.
- Take the steak out and remove to a platter and tent with foil.
- In a sauce pot combine the wine, vinegar, shallot, tarragon and pepper. Bring to a boil over medium high heat and reduce by two thirds.
- Transfer the sauce to a heat proof bowl and stir in the lemon juice and let cool.
- In another small bowl crack the eggs and reserve only the yolks. (Save the whites if you may want to use them in a baking project or for an egg-white omelet.)
- Melt the stick of butter in a small sauce pot.
- In a blender pour in the reduced wine mixture that has cooled off. Add in the egg yolks and whiz until it begins to thicken.
- Take the center piece out of the top of the blender lid and while the blender is running, drizzle in the butter until it emulsifies into a sauce.
- If the sauce is too cool, put it back in the sauce pot you melted the butter in and warm through over medium low heat and stir occasionally.
The steak we chose was on sale rib eye which was still a tad expensive, two per the package. It could feed 4 medium portions at $5.27 per portion. However I priced this dinner at getting a cut of steak at $3.99 per pound (based on a London broil or sirloin cut)and that worked out to $2.89 per portion. Only you can decide what your budget allows.
In doing some research I discovered that Chateaubriand was made by Chef Montimireil for Francois Rene de Chateaubriand who was a diplomat under Napoleon. The Bearnaise sauce credit for its' creation goes to chef Collinet of the region of Bearn in Southwestern France.