Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Chateaubriand pour deux

     Classic Chateaubriand
     Chateaubriand was originally created in the late 1700's by François-René de Chateaubriand's personal chef, Montmireil.  Chateaubriand is the roasted filet mignon section of beef tenderloin and it is usually presented extravagantly.  In modern times, Chateaubriand is a special entrée for romantic occasions like Valentine's Day and New Year's Eve.
     A combination of events led to the name of this entrée.  The French town of Chateaubriant was well known for high quality beef in the 1700's.  Chateaubriant is an alternate spelling of Chateaubriand.  More than likely, part of the reason this entree is named Chateaubriand is because Chef Montmireil wanted to pay tribute to François-René's home town, which was famous for beef and not merely because Chateaubriand was part of François-René's title.
     There is a controversy concerning the actual cut of beef in the original recipe.  Some say that the narrow Medaillon section of the tenderloin was used to make the original Chateaubriand and not the thicker Filet Mignon section.  This was because the original Chateaubriand was described as being a uniform round cut of beef that was relatively thin.  This makes sense, because the first Chateaubriand was served to only one guest.
     On the other hand, beef that was used to make Chateaubriand in the 1700's did not come from cattle that were corn fed, fattened up or given growth hormones.  Therefore, a tenderloin section would have been smaller than tenderloin sections in today's modern age.  It is possible that the entire tenderloin section was smaller than today's standards.
     By modern standards, the original Chateaubriand recipe was very costly to make.  The original Chateaubriand recipe involved surrounding the featured filet mignon section of beef with three more tenderloin sections and then trussing all four tenderloin sections together with butcher's string.  The the three outer tenderloin sections were roasted until they were charred black.  The outside tenderloin pieces were removed and discarded.  The featured Chateaubriand tenderloin in the center was protected from direct contact with open flames and as a result, it was cooked in its entirety to a perfect medium rare finish temperature and the color was glistening dark red.
     I have seen the original Chateaubriand cooking method performed one time during my chef career.  While working as a garde mange chef in a Northern Italian restaurant back in the 1980's, an Italian chef and I made the original Chateaubriand for a very important dinner guest.
     The cost of burning up 3 tenderloin sections to protect 1 perfect medium rare filet mignon section in the center, will cost well over $450 by today's fine dining restaurant menu pricing standards!  That is a high price to pay, but the result is one perfect medium rare whole Chateaubriand tenderloin section that is not touched by flame.  Many gourmands agree that Chateaubriand that is prepared with Chef Montmireil's original method is well worth the price!
     Sauce Chateaubriand was also created by Chef Montrimeil for this entrée.  I always serve Sauce Chateaubriand with a Chateaubriand platter out of respect.  Béarnaise Sauce became a classic accompaniment for Chateaubriand many years later.  The two sauces have similar flavors, because tarragon and shallots are used to make both sauces.  The two sauces are compatible when served together.
     Chateau Potatoes were the original Chateaubriand accompaniment.  Chateau Potatoes are buttered petite round olive shaped potatoes.  They were also known as Parisienne Potatoes and this name is used in modern times.  Chateau Potato now refers to a large French precision tourné shape.
     Duchesse Potatoes became a popular Chateaubriand accompaniment sometime in the 1800's.  I like the way that Duchesse Potatoes look on a Chateaubriand presentation.  This style of potato is also considered to be a classic choice.
     Chateaubriand For Two is always presented elegantly.  The presentation of the items must be tastefully placed on the serving platter.  Once the Chateaubriand is presented to the guest, the wait staff captain or maitre d' carves the Chateaubriand into slices, then serves portions with each accompanying item to the guests on individual plates.  The individual serving plates of Chateaubriand also have to be tastefully presented and sauced as well.  This table service etiquette began as formal Russian table service, which was adapted and modified by the French over 100 years ago.  The French-Russian formal table service style is the modern standard at fine restaurants and estates.

     Modern Chateaubriand
     The modern technique for cooking Chateaubriand is simpler and less costly than Chef Montrimeil's original Chateaubriand technique.  A Modern Chateaubriand is not surrounded by three tenderloin sections that will be discarded after charring, so the menu price is far less costly.  Even so, a good Chateaubriand pour deux will command over $100 on a fine dining restaurant menu.
     Modern Chateaubriand is briefly seared, then roasted at a moderate temperature, so a minimal amount of browning and charring occurs.  It is not necessary to truss the Chateaubriand with butchers string, if the filet mignon section is perfectly round.  Excessive trussing will cause the meat to become too dense and the juices will quickly seep out of the meat as it roasts.
     Romaine leaves can be draped over the tenderloin when roasting, if the cut of tenderloin is thicker than average.  The object of protecting the Chateaubriand with large romaine leaves is to prevent excessive browning or charring.  Charring causes an undesirable bitter flavor.  Chef Montrimeil's original goal of the Chateaubriand being medium rare in its entirety cannot be duplicated with the modern cooking method, but a goal of minimizing charring can be achieved with modern methods.  

     Glace Viandé:
     Follow the link to the recipe in this website.
     • Glacé Viande
     Beef Stock:
     This recipe yields about 2 1/2 quarts of rich beef stock.
     Step 1:  Place 4 pounds of veal bones, beef bones and meat scraps in a roasting pan.
     Add 1/4 cup of tomato paste.
     Add a rustic un-peeled mirepoix of:
     - 3 ounces of carrot
     - 3 ounces of celery 
     - 6 ounces of onion  
     Roast the mixture in a 350º oven till the bones and vegetables caramelize to a deep brown color.  Toss and stir the ingredients occasionally. 
     Step 2:  Place the roasted bones and mirepoix in a stock pot. 
     Deglaze the roasting pan with water and add the jus to the stock pot. 
     Cover the bones with about 2" of extra water.
     Add 1 bouquet garni sachet of leek, bay leaf, chervil, celery and thyme. 
     Add 8 parsley stalks.
     Add 1/2 to 3/4 cup of mushroom peelings.
     Add 2 chopped shallots. 
     Add 1 tablespoon of black peppercorns. 
     Add sea salt to taste.  
     Step 3:  Bring the liquid to a brief gentle boil over medium high heat. 
     Immediately reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Simmer for 4 hours. 
     Skim the grease off of the top of the simmering stock.
     Add water occasionally to cover the bones.
     After 4 hours, the meat stock should be a rich brown color.
     Step 4:  Use long tongs or a long handle fryer net to remove and discard the bones.
     Pour the stock through a fine mesh strainer into a container.
     Cool the stock to room temperature.
     Step 5:  Chill the stock overnight in a refrigerator.
     The fat will solidify on top of the stock after it is cooled.  Scrape the solid fat off of the stock.  
     Fine sediment will settle to the bottom of the container, so when the stock is used, try not to scrape the bottom of the container.   
     Beef Stock can be portioned and frozen for later use or refrigerated for 7 days.
     Sauce Espagnole:  
     This recipe yields about 2 cups.
     Any extra Sauce Espagnole can be refrigerated for 7 days or frozen for later use.  
     Step 1:  Heat a sauce pot over medium heat.
     Add 3 cups of beef stock.
     Add 2 ounces of Madiera Wine or Dry Sherry.
     Bring the liquid to a gentle boil.
     Step 2:  Heat a sauce pot over medium heat.
     Make a brown roux with 2 ounces of unsalted butter and and equal amount of flour while constantly stirring over medium/medium high heat.  
     *Do not stop stirring or the roux will scorch!  
     Keep stirring till the roux turns a rich brown color. 
     Remove the pot from the heat.
      Step 3:  Only add enough of the brown roux to the meat stock pot to thicken the beef stock to a very thin sauce consistency.  Whisk until the roux is combined.  (Any extra roux can be saved for another recipe.)
     Step 4:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Simmer and reduce the Sauce Espagnole, till it is a thin sauce consistency that can glaze the back of a spoon. 
     Pour the sauce through a fine mesh strainer into a container and set it aside.

     Demi Glacé:
     About 1/2 cup of demi glace will be needed for the Chateaubriand sauce recipe.
     Place 3/4 cup of sauce espagnole and 3/4 cup of thin glace viande in a sauce pot.
     Heat the sauce pot over medium low heat.
     Simmer and reduce, till the the demi glace becomes a thin sauce consistency that can coat a spoon.
     Set the demi glace aside.

     Cut two 3/8" thick slices of French bread and cut them into medallion or oval shapes that are half as wide as the filet mignon section.
     Trim off the crust.
     Brush the bread with melted unsalted butter.
     Place the croutons on a baking pan.
     Bake in a 350ºF oven, till the croutons become crisp and a light golden brown color.
     Set the croutons aside.

     Duchesse Potato:
     Step 1:  Boil 1 peeled large (about 8 oz) russet potato, till it becomes soft.
     Drain off the water.
     Thoroughly mash the potato.
     Step 2:  Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
     Add sea salt and white pepper.
     Add 1 egg yolk while whisking.
     Step 3:  Place the dutchess potato mixture into a star tipped pastry bag.
     Pipe 4 small duchess potato swirled portions on a parchment paper lined baking pan.
     Step 4:  Place the pan in a 350ºF degree oven.
     Bake till golden brown highlights appear on the potatoes.
     Set the Duchesse Potatoes aside.
     *Place the pan back in the oven to reheat the potatoes just before serving.

     Sauce Chateaubriand:  
     This recipe yields about 3/4 cup.
     Step 1:  Heat a small sauce pot over medium low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 3 1/2 tablespoons of finely chopped shallot.
     Sauté and sweat the shallots, till they turn clear and become sweet.
     Step 2:  Add 1 cup of dry white wine.
     Add 1/2 cup of demi glace.
     Add 2 pinches of tarragon.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Simmer and reduce the sauce, till it becomes a thin sauce consistency.
     Step 3:  Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.
     Keep the sauce warm on a stove top.
     *Reheat the sauce and add 1 pat of unsalted butter, while stirring, just before serving.

     Classic Hollandaise Sauce:  
     This recipe yields about 1 1/4 cups.
     • The clarified butter should be cooked to a golden color, so it has a hint of noisette aroma.   
     • Add about a 1/2 teaspoon of warm water per egg yolk.  The water acts as a buffer.  This will make the eggs easy to control while whisking.   The small amount of water will keep the eggs from congealing.  Too much water added to the yolks in the beginning, will later cause the whisking process to take way too much time.  
     • Do not add lemon juice at the start or the lemon flavor will be too strong.  
     • The proportion of butter to egg yolk is 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 ounces of butter per 1 egg yolk for a rich full bodied hollandaise.  A hollandaise that is too thick is much easier to adjust than a hollandaise that is too thin.   
     Step 1:  Melt 5 ounces of unsalted butter in a small sauce pot over medium/medium low heat.
     Cook the butter, till the milk fats evaporate.
     Continue cooking the butter, till it becomes a golden yellow in color and till the butter first emits a light hazelnut aroma.
     Take the pan off of the heat.
     Pour the clarified butter through a fine mesh strainer into a heat proof container.
     Allow the butter to cool to a little bit less than 125ºF.
     Keep the clarified butter warm on a stove top.
     Step 2:  Place 2 egg yolks (large eggs) in a small mixing bowl.
     Add 1 teaspoon of warm water to the egg yolks while stirring.
     Place the mixing bowl on a double boiler over medium low/low heat.
     Constantly whisk, non stop, till the egg yolks become a pale yellow color and soft ribbon peaks can be seen.
     Step 3:  Add the warm clarified butter 1 teaspoon at a time, while constantly whisking, till the mixture starts to emulsify.
     Slowly add a thin stream of the remaining butter to the eggs while whisking constantly, till all of the butter is combined.
     Step 4:  Remove the mixing bowl from the double boiler.
     Add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Add 1 pinch of white pepper.
     Add 1 pinch of cayenne pepper.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt.
     Whisk till blended.
     *The sauce should be rich and it should have a medium thin consistency that easily coats a spoon.  If the Hollandaise is too thick, add a few drops of warm water while whisking.      
     Step 5:  Place the Hollandaise in a ceramic ramekin.
     Set the ramekin in a 120ºF bain marie to keep it warm.  Stir the sauce occasionally.
     *The Hollandaise should be served within 45 minutes, so pathogen threats do not occur.
     Sauce Béarnaise:
     Step 1:  Heat a small sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 cup of dry white wine.
     Add 2 ounces of white wine vinegar.
     Add 3 tablespoons of minced shallot.
     Add 1 tablespoon of crumbled dried tarragon leaves.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of minced fresh chervil.
     Add 1 pinch of black pepper.
     Gently simmer and reduce, till all of the liquid has evaporated and the mixture becomes dry.
     Step 2:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Place the béarnaise reduction in a container and let it cool to room temperature.
     Step 3:  Add the béarnaise reduction into 1 cup to 1 1/4 cups of Classic Hollandaise Sauce while stirring.
     Step 4:  Place the Béarnaise Sauce in a ceramic ramekin.
     Keep the sauce warm in a 120ºF bain marie.
     *The sauce must be served within 45 minutes, so pathogen threats do not occur.  

     Baked Tomato:
     This recipe yields 2 baked crown cut tomato halves.
     Step 1:  Trim the bottom of 1 medium size tomato, so it is stable when standing on a plate.
     Use a paring knife to crown cut the tomato in half.  (Dent de Loup)
     Step 2:  Brush a small roasting pan with unsalted butter.
     Place the tomato halves on the pan with the crown side facing up.
     Drizzle about 1/2 teaspoon of melted unsalted butter over each tomato half.
     Season with sea salt and black pepper.
     Sprinkle 1 pinch of marjoram over the tomato halves.
     Step 3:  Bake in a 350ºF oven till the tomato halves are hot and till they start to become tender.
     *This only takes a few minutes.  Overcooking will result in mushy baked tomatoes.
     Keep the baked tomato halves warm on a stove top.
     Use 2 portions of any nice vegetables of your choice.  The vegetables must be cut to the same length.  Tourné cut vegetables are best for Chateaubriand.
     • Blanch the vegetables ahead of time.
     • Gently reheat them in a sauté pan with a few pats of unsalted butter just before serving.  Lightly season with sea salt and white pepper.
     *Green beans, tourné carrots and tourné zucchini were used for the Chateaubriand platter in the photos. 

     There are four sections of a beef tenderloin.  The tips, medaillons, filet mignon (chateaubriand) and tornados in that order from the small end to the widest end.  A 14 to 16 ounce filet mignon section is used to make a Chateaubriand For Two.  I used a 14 ounce filet mignon section for the Chateaubriand in the pictures.  The beef was USDA Choice Grade.  USDA Prime Grade is the best, but the price may be double.
     Step 1:  Trim any silver floss, fat or chine off of a 14 to 16 ounce filet mignon section.
     Season with sea salt and black pepper.
     Heat a sauté pan over medium/medium high heat.
     Add 2 tablespoons of clarified unsalted butter.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
     Sear the filet on all sides, till brown highlights start to appear.
     Step 2:  Remove the filet from the pan.
     Place the filet mignon section on a roasting rack that is set on a roasting pan.
     Roast the filet in a 450ºF oven, till the center temperature reaches the state of doneness of your choice.      
     *If charring or excessive browning starts to occur, drape large leaves of romaine lettuce over the beef.  Medium Rare to Medium is best finish temperature for Chateaubriand.  
     Step 3:  Place the Chateaubriand on a wire screen roasting rack over a drip pan.
     Let the Chateaubriand rest for 2 to 3 minutes before serving.

     Chateaubriand pour deux presentation: 
     Step 1:  Reheat the baked Duchesse Potatoes and all of the vegetables.
     Step 2:  Place a large serving platter on a counter top.
     Place the 2 croutons on the center of the platter.
     Place the roasted Chateaubriand on the croutons.
     Step 3:  Evenly space the Duchesse Potato portions and the baked tomato halves on the border of the platter.
     Arrange the other vegetables between the duchesse potatoes and the baked tomatoes.
     Step 4:  Place the Béarnaise Sauce in a sauce boat or ramekin.
     Place the sauce Chateaubriand Sauce in a sauce boat or ramekin.
     Present the Chateaubriand Platter to the guests.
     Serve the accompanying sauces on the side.
     Step 3:  After presenting the Chateaubriand, place the filet on a cutting board and cut it into slices.
     Arrange the sliced filet, potatoes and vegetables on two individual serving plates.
     Chateaubriand pour deux!  Bon Appetite!

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