I decided to cook a Chateaubriand for an intimate birthday celebration last weekend. I headed to the nearest grocery store likely to have tenderloin roasts for sale (Andronico's, for you Bay Area readers). It had them...at $23.99/lb! Gulp! I just couldn't bring myself to pay that much. Instead I went to Costco where I discovered I would have to buy an entire tenderloin but at the much more reasonable price of $9.99/lb (choice grade). Of course, it was a bit more effort. The Judge spent about an hour carefully trimming fat and silverskin.
At the end we had two smallish (3-4 servings each) tenderloin roasts, 10 one inch thick filet mignons, and enough tenderloin "tips" for at least two meals. Not bad at all for $50.
I found a lovely recipe at epicurious.com which I'll describe here with my variations.
2 lb butt end tenderloin roast
1 chopped onion
2 chopped carrots
1 T fresh thyme (or 1 t dried)
Brown roast well on all sides in oil in an oven proof skillet. Add rest to skillet and place in 400 degree oven. Use a remote thermometer and cook til 125 for medium rare. It took my roast about 20 minutes. Transfer beef to platter and tent with foil.
1 c beef broth
1/3 c Canadian whiskey like Crown Royal
Add to skillet and cook over medium high heat til reduced to about 2/3 c. Strain out solids.
Meanwhile make a blonde roux with 1 T butter and 1 T flour. Add roux to strained juices in skillet.
At same time add 1/3 c heavy cream and 2 t coarsely crushed peppercorns. Simmer gravy over medium heat a few minutes til thickened. Salt to taste.
I served the Chateaubriand with potatoes sauteed in butter, asparagus, and glazed carrots and pearl onions. It was excellent and easy. Of course, the best part is I still have many more meals to go for the same price that one small roast would have cost me if not for Costco.
Last but not least, with the dinner we drank a lovely Ladera Howell Mountain 2001 Cabernet. If you are exploring the Silverado area of Napa Valley, definitely make a brief detour and visit this winery (with an appointment). The caves alone make the tour worthwhile...the wine tasting is an added bonus.