Sunday Dinner

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Roasted Shrimp Cocktail
(without the garlic)

Roasted Beef Tenderloin
Béarnaise Sauce
Pomme Frites
Green Salad with Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette

Crème Anglaise

I am a little picky when it comes to the classic French sauce, béarnaise. I find that restaurant versions I have ordered are either too buttery, too herby, too eggy, or something completely wrong.  I like mine to have a good balance of butter and egg flavor with a consistency akin to that of thinned out mayonnaise.  This may help explain my unconventional recipe below.  

A cousin to hollandaise, which uses an egg, butter and lemon juice combination, béarnaise uses water in lieu of the lemon, as well as a reduction of white wine, vinegar, and shallot.  In my recipe, I use more egg yolk, less butter, and a mixture of herbs.  Tarragon is the traditional herb used in béarnaise sauce.  This is a good flavor when the sauce is paired with fish or chicken. However, when I serve it with beef, I like to use a combination of parsley and chives.  Non-traditional, but very good. And perfect for dragging a fork full of steak and frites through ☺.

Sunday Dinner one year ago
Sunday Dinner two years ago

Béarnaise Sauce
makes about 1 cup

3 Tablespoons dry white wine
3 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 medium shallot, minced
4 extra large egg yolks
1 1/2 teaspoons water, plus more to thin the final sauce
6 Tablespoons (3-ounces) melted butter
1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh herbs, like parsley, chives, and/or tarragon
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the white wine, vinegar, and shallots.  Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until reduced by two-thirds. Set aside.

In the top of a double boiler or a heat proof bowl, whisk together the yolks and water.  Place the boiler on top of a pot of simmering water and whisk until the eggs are thickened (about 2-4 minutes), being careful not to let the eggs get too hot.  Remove the pan or bowl from the water and whisk to slightly cool the mixture.  Whisking constantly, slowly add the melted butter.  Add the reduced wine mixture.  

Return the pan or bowl to the water and whisk until warmed through. The mixture will be thick.  Remove the pan or bowl from the water and thin the sauce with water a few drops at a time to desired consistency.  Stir in the herbs of choice and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Serve immediately. Enjoy!

Source: Adapted from The Joy of Cooking, 1997


  1. Hello Nicole! I am a fellow blogger over at Brittany's Pantry. I love that you are still using The Joy Of Cooking in your kitchen! I love my well used copy as well!

  2. I love bernaise and I do find that when I have had it served in a restaurant it is usually with beef, and tarragon is not my first choice of herb with beef! Very well done . . thanks for sharing.

  3. Thank you for the Bernaise receipe. First time I've made it, and I'm wondering now why I waited so long. Appreciate the clear and straightforward directions.


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