Wednesday, November 16, 2011

steak au poivre

What is it?
Very simply put - it's a steak, with a crust of salt and peppercorns accompanied by a rich, luscious sauce. That's about it. I guarantee you've seen it on a hundred different menus. Sometimes simply called 'steak with peppercorn sauce' or 'black peppered steak' or several other names, but this traditional French favorite is technically called 'steak au poivre' (yes - pronounce the V) For us, it was the sauce that put this dish into the "favorite dinner requests" list.  
Much simpler than I anticipated with tremendous flavor. I highly recommend you try to make this at home. 

This dish usually calls for filet mignon. Given the price of that cut of beef I needed to find something a little more within my budget. Rib-eye is apparently also acceptable but I went with sirloin. Delicious. Whichever cut you choose I'm sure will be wonderful. Just be sure to not over-cook the meat.

Also, I was only cooking for two people since my daughter - at six years old - has decided she will not eat meat. And my husband loves his au jus so this recipe has a bit more sauce than most recipes call for.
I made four different sauces the other night and an extra the next morning just to make sure I had one we loved. The one I am posting here was definitely the favorite and includes a little brown mustard and then honey for balance (in addition to the brandy - never would I skip adding the booze!) I added the additional ingredients to the sauce because the sauces with only cream added to the pan gave me nothing but cream flavor - was not happy with this. Therefore some experimenting needed to be done. Hope you give this a go.


2 steaks 
about a 1/4 cup fresh, whole black peppercorns - crushed using a mortar and pestle or a cast iron skillet - then spread out onto a plate
little olive oil
2 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup brandy or cognac plus 2 tablespoons for later
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon brown mustard
almost 2 tablespoons honey


oven to 400

prepare a baking/casserole dish so you can finish the steaks in the oven.
set aside.

rinse and pat dry the steaks.
generously salt one side.
place the salted side onto the plate with the crushed peppercorns.

salt the top side then flip the steaks to cover this side in pepper.

press down a little bit to ensure good coverage of pepper.

add butter and couple tablespoons of olive oil to a large skillet.
warm on medium heat.
when the butter is just starting to brown, carefully add the steaks.  
cook 4 or 5 minutes each side.
keep an eye on this because you do not want to completely burn the crust - just blacken it a bit.
once both sides are done I used a pair of large tongs to hold the steaks and cook a little around the edges
(sorry - no photo)
place into the prepared baking dish.
cover with foil.

my husband does not like his steaks 'mooing' so I cooked them in the oven about 10 minutes.
most often this dish is served rare
cook how you prefer.

while the steaks are in the oven make your sauce.

drain the excess fat and oil out of the pan but keep as much of the fond and pepper and beef bits as possible.
turn the stove OFF.
add the brandy.
IF you are daring - CAREFULLY light this with the longest fire starter you have.
i do recommend you light it and let all the alcohol burn off - giving the pan a few swishes to make sure the flames reach all sides.
it does make a difference in the flavor.
But if you do not light the pan (and do not nearly burn the house down like I did) skip adding the 2 tablespoons of brandy at the end.

once the flames have subsided and you are breathing normally again - turn the stove back on to a medium high heat.
add cream.  
cook for a couple minutes.
add mustard and honey and salt.
cook five more minutes.
add 2 tablespoons of brandy (or cognac - whichever you have)
cook until sauce thickens - whisking continuously.
salt to taste.
maybe just a few turns of the pepper grinder as well.

keep warm until ready to serve.

steaks should be done by now.

serve each individual or slice each steak.

husband likes the slice method so that there is more surface area for sauce.

I served this with steamed vegetables and mashed red potatoes.

Great dinner.

1 comment:

  1. You cooked in perfectly well and that pinkish part of the steak looks really tender and yummy. My husband would love this specially if it's filled with gourmet hot chili sauce.