Chateaubriand with Bearnaise Sauce

This recipe may look a bit complicated but it’s well worth the effort. Even better, this is a dish that actually benefits from being prepared the day before you plan to serve it. The perfect stand-by for a dinner party!


Serves 6

  • 11⁄2 lb thick end of a whole fillet (called the chateaubriand) 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1⁄2 tsp sea salt
  • 1⁄4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

For the Béarnaise sauce:

  • 9oz unsalted butter
  • 2tbsp dry white wine
  • 2tbsp tarragon vinegar
  • 2tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1shallot, finely chopped
  • 1⁄2tsp ground white pepper
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1⁄2 lemon, pips removed
  • 1tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • fresh watercress sprigs, to garnish
  • chips, to serve


    1. Preheat the oven to 475°F. Allow the chateau briand to come to room temperature then rub all over with the olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper.
    2. Heat a heavy-based oven proof frying pan. Seal the chateau briand over a high heat for about 6 minutes until golden brown on all sides, turning regularly.
    3. Transfer the pan to the oven and roast the steak for about 12 minutes for medium-rare, or to your liking. Remove from the oven and allow to rest in a warm place for 10 minutes.
    4. Meanwhile, prepare the Béarnaisesauce. Melt the butter in a small pan or in the microwave.
    5. Combine the white wine, vinegar, one table spoon of the tarragon, the shallot and white pepper in a pan. Bring to a simmer and reduce until about one tablespoon of liquid remains.
    6. Strain in to a liquidizer or miniblender, pushing down the tarragon leaves to extract the liquid.
    7. Add one tablespoon of warm water to the liquidizer together with the egg yolks and turn on the machine. Pour the hot butter into a jug and start to pour the butter very slowly on to the egg yolks. As the sauce emulsifies, increase the butter flow to a thin, steady stream.
    8. As the Béarnaise sauce thickens, you will notice a change in the sound of the machine. If the sauce is too thick, add a little more warm water or lemon juice to taste.
    9. Add the remaining tarragon leaves, the parsley and cayenne pepper and blend briefly. Season with salt. Keep the sauce warm until you need it in a bowl or jug set in a pan of hot but not boiling water.
    10. Carve the chateaubriand into 12-16 slices, divide between warmed plates, garnish with watercress and serve with Béarnaise sauce on the side and a big bowl of chips.