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The "chateaubriand steak" was created by Montmireil, the pesonal chef to François-René, Vicomte de Chateaubriand, the founder of French literary Romanticism. Originally the thick steak was cut from the sirloin (but is now cut from the tenderloin filet) and served with chateaubriand sauce ("crapaudine sauce"), prepared in a series of reductions with white wine and shallots moistened with demi-glace, mixed with mushrooms, tarragon, thyme, bay leaf, onions, cayenne pepper, salt, peppercorn, brown veal stock, lemon juice, and beurre maître d'hôtel (sweet butter infused with parsley). All of the ingreients (except the veal stock, butter, and tarragon) were cooked together until the sauce was reduced by 2/3, then the veal was added (in proportions equal to the amount of wine), reduced again by half, strained, and topped with chopped tarragon and butter. An alternative spelling of the vicomte's surname was Châteaubriant; a town by that name in the Loire-Atlantique was famed for high-quality beef cattle. Descended from an old aristocratic Breton family, he fled from the French Revolution in 1791 and traveled in North America, spending time with various native tribes from the Niagara Falls to Louisiana and Florida. His travels were recalled in his "Voyage en Amérique" (1826) but also served as the basis for his novels "Les Natchez" (written between 1793 and 1799 but published only in 1826), "Atala" (1801), and "René" (1802), which deeply impressed Lord Byron. Victor Hugo vowed "To be Chateaubriand or nothing." After returning to France he joined the royalist army but was seriously wounded at the siege of Thionville, and went into temporary exile in England. He made a sparse living as a translator in London and became deeply influenced by English literature, especially the works of John Milton. Back in France, he pursued a checjered diplomatic career puntuated by exile again and further travels in Asia Minor and North Africa before beiefly serving as foreign minister in the 1820s.
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