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Chateaubriand Steak

François-René, Vicomte de Chateaubriand (September 4, 1768 – July 4, 1848) was, in his day, a celebrated author, however his name lives on in the tender beef dish named after him. That he was the inspiration is not in doubt, however, the history of the dish gets muddled from that point on. Was it created by his chef, Montmireil? Was it prepared by the Champeaux restaurant in honor of Chateaubriand’s celebrated 1811 work, Itinéraire de Paris à Jérusalem (Itinerary from Paris to Jerusalem). Still others claim that it derives its name from the famed Chateaubriant beef cattle, raised by the family.

Regardless, this dish, once made from a sirloin, now refers to meat from the tenderest part of a beef tenderloin (the most expensive cut in the whole cow) with a sauce made from broth, butter, shallots, wine and herbs.

Chateaubriand with Bearnaise by FotoosVanRobin from Rotterdam, Netherlands - Chateaubriand with Bearnaise Uploaded by FAEP. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Commons -
Chateaubriand with Bearnaise @ Urola, San Sebastian. 16 April 2007.

The following recipes, from The Royal Cookery Book (Jules Gouffé, 1869) give some idea of the complexity that goes into preparing this classic French dish.

"The
The basic recipe and it’s “footnote”.
Now for the sauce...
Now for the sauce…
Espagnole Sauce, one of Careme's four "Mother Sauces"
Espagnole Sauce, one of Careme’s four “Mother Sauces”
Maitre d'Hotel Butter
And finally, the Maitre d’Hotel Butter.