Archive for November, 2012

November 19, 2012

Steak Au Poivre

About six years ago, I met a steak that I just couldn’t get enough of.  I’m not a huge steak person, so this was remarkable.  I only have a good steak a couple of times a year and while out to dinner on a work junket, I was treated to a nice steak dinner.  Being a fan of cracked pepper and a saucy food guy, I chose a Steak Au Poivre off the menu.  What showed up was nothing short of amazing.  The bite of a thickly crusted cut of beef with pepper corns and topped with a delicious pan sauce was nearly too much for me.  I was in heaven.  Best.  Steak.  Ever.

Years later, during the heart of my addiction to the Food Network, I ran across an Alton Brown show about Steak Au Poivre and was reminded that I REALLY needed to make myself this dish.  Au Poivre is simply a French pepper steak with a creamy pan sauce.  It sounds so simple but the flavor explosion is fantastic.

Below you will find the recipe I used for this.  I decided to truly endulge myself and served it with an equally decadent Goat Cheese Potato Gratin.



Steak Au Poivre

serves 4



4 steaks (approx.1/2 pound to a pound each)

Salt, to taste

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil, or other high smoke-point oil

3 T. black peppercorns, cracked

1/4 cup finely chopped shallots

1/4 cup cognac or other brandy

1 cup beef broth or stock

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup finely chopped parsley


Sprinkle salt and cracked peppercorns generously over both sides of the steaks and let them come to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over high heat. When the oil begins to smoke, take the pan off the heat.  Pat the steaks dry with paper towels (steaks brown better if they are patted dry first) and place in the hot pan. Return the pan to the heat and turn the heat down to medium-high. Sear, without moving the steaks, for at least 4 minutes. Try to pick up a steak with tongs, and if it comes clean, flip it and turn the heat down to medium.

Once the steak is done to your liking remove the meat from the pan and tent with aluminum foil and let the steak rest while you are preparing the sauce.

Make the sauce. Add the shallots and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the brandy and as it boils, deglaze the pan by scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to get all the browned bits. Once the brandy is almost cooked away, add the beef stock and turn the heat to high. Boil the sauce down until there’s a noticeable trail when you drag a wooden spoon through the center of it (4-5 minutes).

Pour in the heavy cream and resume boiling. Turn off the heat and add the parsley and any remaining black pepper (no more than 1 Tbsp, the rest should have already been used to pepper the steaks). Taste for salt and add if needed.

Pour the sauce over the steaks right when you serve.