If you are looking for a cut of beef to serve at your next dinner party, opt for a chateau cut. The chateau cut is a thick, boneless piece of meat that comes from the center portion of the tenderloin. It's big -- it typically weighs up to 1.5 pounds -- and can serve 2 to 4 people comfortably.
The chateau is a prime cut of the tenderloin, housed within the porterhouse section of the beef loin. It is the larger piece situated next to the filet. Like the filet, the chateau is very lean. A chateau cut can be expensive on account of its leanness and size. In butcher terminology, the chateau is referred to as the whole head filet or stub tender. At the grocery store, you may see this cut labeled as chateaubriand.
Chateaubriand is actually the name of a recipe in which the chateau cut was traditionally used, not a type of beef. The dish was first cooked in Paris and named for the author and statesman Francois Rene, vicomte de Chateaubriand. In the original recipe, the beef was stuffed with marrow, chopped shallots, parsley, and tarragon, and grilled over an open flame. More current versions of chateaubriand are served with a white wine, butter and herb sauce accompaniment instead of being stuffed.
Cooking Your Cut
A chateau cut is typically grilled or pan-seared and roasted. When grilling, cook the meat for 8 to 10 minutes for medium rare, longer for medium. If you roast a chateau cut, place it in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 to 12 minutes. No matter which method you choose, be careful not to cook the meat for too long, as it dries out quickly because of its lack of fat. (Check the internal temperature with an instant-read thermometer to make sure the meat is done; according to the USDA, beef should be cooked to at least 145 F; medium rare meat may not reach that temperature.) Allow the meat to rest for several minutes before cutting into it so that all of its juices redistribute.
This cut of meat works well with rich, heavy condiments. Add a traditional Bearnaise sauce or serve the meat with a sauce made from anchovies or bone marrow. Next to it, add a side of aptly named chateau potatoes, which are oval-shaped spuds that have been par-boiled, then fried in butter. Their crispy edges work well for soaking up any extra sauce. Pair it with a full-bodied red wine like a barolo or cabernet sauvignon.
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