• Côte de Bœuf (cote de boeuf) recipe, Montmartre, Paris, France. Copyright 2014 Terence Carter / Grantourismo. All Rights Reserved.

A Cote de Boeuf Recipe Courtesy of Chef Pierre Gagnaire

A Cote de Boeuf recipe – or more correctly, Côte de Bœuf recipe – from superstar French Chef Pierre Gagnaire became one of our most memorable souvenirs of our stay in Paris but when we posted it to our site we could never have known it would become one of our most read stories.

This cote de boeuf recipe was almost a couscous recipe too! Back in the spring of 2010 in Paris, about a quarter of the way through our 12 month global grand tour, we asked the legendary French chef Pierre Gagnaire his opinion as to what the quintessentially Parisian dish was that I should learn to cook in Paris for our series The Dish.

We could never have expected that, firstly, the chef would say ‘couscous’, and secondly, when we urged Pierre to choose something more traditionally French (as we’d just come from Morocco), that his Côte de Bœuf or cote de boeuf recipe would become one of our most-read posts.

A Cote de Boeuf Recipe Courtesy of Chef Pierre Gagnaire

“Think of a dish that you would tell someone they had to have if they came to Paris,” I prompted. After what seemed like an eternity, Chef Gagnaire, who had his head bowed, elbow on knee and chin in hand, raised his head, eyes sparkling, and pronounced: “Couscous!”

“Couscous?!” Lara and I both exclaimed. While it wasn’t the suggestion we were hoping for, the chef had a point.

Old-school Paris may be struggling with issues of cultural and national identity, and some Parisians were indeed struggling with the city’s increasing cosmopolitanism, as Lara had discovered on a walk with an academic that explored the Paris’ multiculturalism.

However, Parisians had firmly embraced the food of the Maghreb and couscous was a common dish found in many bistros, cafés, and take-away food joints across the city.

Having just travelled from Marrakech and Essaouira, where I made lamb tajine, we couldn’t possibly settle on couscous, regardless of how multicultural Paris is these days. Once I explained this, without hesitation Pierre declared “Côte de bœuf!” Perfect. I had secretly hoped he’d say this.

The previous year we had the privilege of being flies on the wall for a night in Pierre Gagnaire’s Dubai kitchen when he made one of his regular visits to his restaurant Reflets. That night, as Pierre’s head chef Olivier Biles fired orders of côte de bœuf so colossal, so fragrant, and so delicious, I had trouble focussing on anything else going on.

Olivier would send out the cote de boeuf in a cast iron pot to show the customers the meat they would be getting before it hit the oven to complete the cooking. The huge chunks of beef had been seared and were surrounded by thyme sprigs burning like incense. The aroma of the dish was amazing.

So, after a long and very enjoyable lunch at Pierre’s Paris restaurant, we strolled across to the chef’s office so we could get his opinion on what to make in the hope that he would share his cote de boeuf recipe and some tips on how to cook this great hunk of burning beef.

Five minutes a side on the grill, ten minutes in the oven, and ten minutes rest, he said. Simple as that.

I asked Pierre about the thyme that I had noticed being used in Dubai and he smiled, as he knew how tantalising the perfume of those little twigs made the dish. He said that the thyme could go either in the pan or in the oven with the meat. He also said he liked to use a little butter, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a touch of vinegar at the end.

The chef’s cote de boeuf recipe and cooking tips were the first of many welcome pieces of advice I’d receive over the next days. Every time I mentioned it, there were words of wisdom and some very strong opinions on how to make this quintessentially French dish. There was “serve it with pommes frites”, “cook it bleu (rare)”, but the most common response was just “Ooohh, côte de bœuf! Oh la la!”

Pierre said he preferred to eat his with pomme noisettes (potatoes carved into a hazelnut-shape) pepper, sauce béarnaise, and a fresh salad, or perhaps with potato Dauphinoise (layered slices of potato baked in milk and/or cream and a little cheese).

What was most critical, the chef said, was that we used meat from a good butcher as Parisians liked to eat it rare and the quality was important. His favourite butcher is Hugo Desnoyer – the go-to guy in Paris for quality cuts of meat. The cut used for côte de bœuf is actually a bone-in ribeye steak, but cut very thick through the ribs.

In the end, in keeping with the theme of our trip, I settled for a local butcher who had been recommended to me, some 200 metres from the apartment. The butcher first asked me how many people the beef was for and suggested a ‘double cut’, which is normal for a côte de bœuf for two – generally you can only order it for two. This was around 1.2kgs of meat and bone.

The butcher then asked whether it was for the barbecue or the pan. As it was for the pan, he trimmed the bone off and expertly trimmed some of the excess fat that runs through the cut and tied the meat up with string, placing the fat back on the outside of the cut. Beautiful.

But before we left, the butcher issued a stern warning: “Deux minutes!”, he said, while indicating with his hands in true French mime style that I should cook each side for two minutes before placing it in the oven. “Dix minutes,” he continued, miming the resting of the beef by placing his hands flat. He was insistent, and that’s what I love about the passion of someone who loves their ingredients.

Before we get back to the cote de boeuf recipe, it must be noted I made a couple of adjustments to the side dishes. Instead of pomme noisettes or potato Dauphinoise on the side, I went with a rustic mash fortified with mustard and a drizzle of red wine sauce (I’d had a similar side dish at Le Comptoir and loved it), and for a vegetable side I couldn’t resist using some of the fresh spring asparagus that was just hitting the markets. I made a sauce béarnaise for dipping both the beef and the asparagus into.

The bone-in ribeye steak is a delicious cut of meat but it is also an expensive cut, so if you’re unsure about oven temperatures or how to judge the doneness of the meat, use a meat thermometer. You don’t want to get this wrong!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Côte de Bœuf (cote de boeuf)
The cut used for côte de bœuf is a bone-in ribeye steak, cut very thick through the ribs. This cut is quite expensive and needs to be cooked no further than medium rare.
Author:
Cuisine: French
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 2
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
  • 1kg (2.2 pounds) trimmed côte de bœuf (bone-in ribeye) at room temperature
  • 2 small bunches of thyme, tied with kitchen string
  • 100g (3.5oz) salted butter
  • Splash of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Make sure that your meat is at room temperature.
  2. Heat an oven-proof sauté pan to high on the stove and set the temperature of the oven to 200˚C (395˚F).
  3. Do not season the meat unless you want to steam it (and trust me, you don’t).
  4. Add the butter and a dash of olive oil to the pan.
  5. Pat dry the meat before placing it carefully in the hot pan. Add a bunch of thyme to the pan.
  6. You want a good dark crusty exterior for the meat, so don’t move or turn it until you get it; this should take around 3 minutes per side, or 5 if you have a crappy electric stovetop.
  7. Once both sides are cooked, I like to set the other bunch of thyme on fire, get it really smoking, add it to the pan, and partially cover the pan. This should take a couple of minutes to get a decent aroma through the meat.
  8. Place the meat in the oven; it should be around 10 minutes to get to rare to medium-rare.
  9. Remove the meat from the oven and rest covered in a warm place.
  10. Traditionally, côte de bœuf is sliced at the table, seasoned and served.
  11. The next day if you haven’t finished the beef, you’re going to have the best beef and mustard sandwiches of your life!
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 Calories: 2272 Fat: 207.5g Saturated fat: 91.7g Unsaturated fat: 115.8g Trans fat: 0g Carbohydrates: 0.8g Sugar: 0g Sodium: 613mg Fiber: 0.5g Protein: 90.5g Cholesterol: 508mg

 

End of Article

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2018-11-25T19:10:59+00:00By |

About the Author:

Professional travel/food editorial/commercial photographer and food and travel writer based in Asia. His photography and writing assignments has seen him visit over 70 countries. Has authored some 40 guidebooks for Lonely Planet, DK, Footprint, Rough Guides, Thomas Cook, and AA Guides. Photography has appeared in Conde Nast Traveler, Australian Gourmet Traveller, Feast, Delicious, National Geographic Traveller, Wanderlust, Get Lost, Travel+Leisure Asia, DestinAsian, Four Seasons Magazine, Fah Thai, Sawasdee and many more.

24 Comments

  1. Lisa Bergren April 28, 2010 at 7:16 am

    What’s in your “red wine sauce” drizzle? Nom, nom…

  2. Terence Carter April 28, 2010 at 7:41 am

    Plenty of wine to deglaze the pan, shallots, some thyme and then more wine!
    Reduce to a tiny amount and then mount with some butter just before serving to give it body and gloss.
    It’s really about just not wasting the pan juices, it’s not one that uses a beef stock…
    😉

  3. Katja April 28, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    Oh. Oh my …!

    I recently had bistecka fiorentina in Florence (funnily enough), which I’m guessing is done pretty much the same way. A-MA-ZING. Coming (as I do) from a beef farming family, I’m a big appreciator of a quality piece of rare meat. Yum …

  4. Terence Carter April 28, 2010 at 11:25 pm

    Hi Katja, that’s interesting!
    Bistecca alla Fiorentina is the Porterhouse cut though, from near the rump, while côte de bœuf is bone-in ribeye – different flavours – and the Bistecca uses a specific beef, Chianina, while I couldn’t find a specific breed used for côte de bœuf.
    They can be cooked the same way but what they really have in common is they should be done rare and to share 😉

    Cheers

  5. Katja April 29, 2010 at 3:59 am

    Ah, OK. That’s good to know. I didn’t know the details of the cut. Interesting that the Fiorentina even specifies the breed – that’s taking pickiness to a whole new level!

  6. Sara April 29, 2010 at 5:16 am

    Wow! Love the Cote de Bouf recipe!!! You are Amazing!!! Love your website!

  7. Terence Carter April 29, 2010 at 8:27 am

    You are too kind! More cooking coming up soon.

  8. Michael Chommie December 10, 2010 at 11:47 am

    This has become my “go to” cote de boeuf recipe — the “flaming thyme” fills the kitchen with yummy aromas. Simple but brilliant! Merci Terrance and Co. !

    Michael

    Chevry, FRANCE

  9. Terence Carter December 10, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    Wow. Thanks so much! It’s one of our highest ranking stories of the year on GranTourismo.
    You can thank Pierre too – being in his kitchen and smelling those aromas had me dreaming of it until we went to Paris.
    These kind of comments really make our trip!
    T

  10. chef zadi June 14, 2011 at 10:27 am

    charolais beef. by the way, i enjoyed gagnaire’s couscous comment very much.

  11. Mike December 6, 2011 at 11:25 pm

    Sounds delicious!

    I’m guessing that serves 2? How would you do it for 4, with a bigger cut for longer and brown the sides too? Or cook 2 separate joints?

    Mike

  12. Terence Carter December 7, 2011 at 8:45 am

    Greetings Mike,
    Yes, that serves two (I’ve now added that to the post – thanks). For four, cook two separate joints in separate pans because even if they both fit in one pan you’ll lose too much heat trying to cook two at once.
    Cheers,
    T

  13. Mike December 7, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    Hey Terence, thanks for the response. Fortunately I’ve got two ovens, so I can probably cook one in each! Lid on or off when in the oven?

  14. Terence Carter December 8, 2011 at 9:48 am

    Lid off Mike, otherwise you’ll start to stew it and you don’t want to do that to a premium cut of beef 😉

    Cheers,

    T

  15. Leigh April 23, 2012 at 7:49 am

    Terence,
    Just made this tonight, my husband and I ooohed & aaahed about its fabulousness…thanks to you I’m not afraid of beef anymore, I’ve alway seemed to overlook, buy NO MORE – Yay! Served with asparagus as you had done, also perfectly done, along with new potatoes in butter and fresh parsley. I think the cooking Gods were with me tonight!! Topped off with strawberry and rhubarb tartlets (and a dollop of ice cream) Truly a memorable dinner, thank you for your website and great advice!! LA

  16. Terence Carter April 25, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    Sounds good. Glad you enjoyed it!
    Cheers,
    T

  17. Paolo February 27, 2013 at 9:11 am

    Your recipe sounds absolutely delicious. Does it work with a heavier cut, such as one that weighs 1.75 kilos? If so, how much longer should it roast in the oven?

  18. Terence Carter February 28, 2013 at 12:29 am

    Thanks, you should use a meat thermometer if you’re not comfortable with checking by testing doneness by hand. If you want to do if for four people just get two pieces the same size and pan roast separately.
    Cheers,
    T

  19. Steve February 28, 2017 at 8:41 pm

    Just tried this for the first time. Great recipe, thanks!

  20. Terence Carter March 1, 2017 at 10:27 am

    Fantastic, thanks!

  21. Lis June 21, 2018 at 3:24 pm

    It’s not clear to me when exactly to add the salt and pepper. Or should salt and pepper just be on the table? I’m so used to marinating beef with salt first…

  22. Terence Carter June 21, 2018 at 4:33 pm

    Greetings Lis,
    The beef is not seasoned first. I like to sprinkle the salt and pepper over the slices when serving and leave extra on the table.
    Hope that helps!
    T

  23. Rahel July 29, 2018 at 12:29 pm

    Hi there, I followed your recipe closely and have a few questions: After transferring the meat to the oven at 200C it took a long time (maybe an hour or more) to reach a core temperature of 62C (we don’t like it too rare). It was smoking quite a bit and we had building security on our door to check if there was a fire in our apartment! I used a creuset.. any thoughts? My cote de boeuf was also around 1kg but might have been a bit thicker. Thanks!

  24. Terence Carter July 29, 2018 at 4:26 pm

    Greetings Rahel,
    Thanks for trying our recipe! A couple of things to look out for. Make sure you’ve really seared the beef off just like in the photo before transferring as the interior should have started to cook. Another thing, was the beef really at room temperature? Pierre’s chefs would take the beef out of the fridge when the table’s order came in and it wasn’t hitting the pan for perhaps an hour and a half after that in a hot kitchen. Every professional kitchen I’ve been in do the same as they don’t want to steam the protein as it hits the pan because it’s still cold. Incidentally, they’re not worried about bacteria as it would only have time to form on the exterior of the meat and it’s getting really seared so bacteria is not a problem. Another thing to look out for is that yes, it might be the thickness of the cote de boeuf that increased the cooking time. However my guess is that the cote de boeuf wasn’t really at room temp combined with it being a thicker cut that made it take so long…
    Hope the end result was worth it though!

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