Steak au Poivre

Posted by    |  January 27, 2010  |  Filed under: Recipes

I spent a few years looking for a great recipe for Steak au Poivre.  It is my husband’s very favorite dish, and is sort of the quintessential man-food.  This dish is great as special weeknight fare because it is so easy, but is also sophisticated enough for a dinner party for up to eight (You can only cook 2 steaks at a time in a pan, so it would be very hard to scale beyond eight and still enjoy your guests).

If you find a mink jacket on sale that you simply can’t pass up this spring, light some candles, serve that sweet man this dish and he won’t be able to think about anything other than how much you deserve it.

4 (3/4” thick) boneless top loin steaks (NY Strip) or rib eye steaks
1T grapeseed oil
2T black peppercorns, coarsely crushed with a mortar and pestle, or with a heavy object such as a cast iron pan or meat mallet (if doing latter, recommend putting peppercorns in heavy zip-top bag)
2T unsalted butter
¼ C minced shallots
½ C cognac
2/3 C heavy cream

Cook Steaks

  1. Pat steaks dry.  Allow to come to room temperature on countertop, about 1 hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 200-degrees.
  3. Season steaks with salt and let stand for about 5 minutes.  Heat oil in a cast iron skillet over high heat until very hot but shy of smoking.  Add 2 steaks taking care not to crowd them.  You do not want to move them once you lay them down or you will inhibit the Maillard reaction that gives them so much flavor.  Also, lay the side that is closes to you down first, dropping the far side last.  This will keep any oil splatter away from you- a lesson I learned the hard way when I got grease burns on my neck and chest making this dish a few months ago.
  4. When steaks are have a nice sear (you can see cooked meat about 1/3 of the way up the edge of the meat) flip them over and cook them to desired degree of doneness, using the touch test to evaluate doneness.
  5. With a slotted spatula, transfer steaks to a rimmed baking sheet and keep warm in oven.
  6. Allow pan to return to high heat, about 90 seconds.  Add more oil, if necessary.  Take care not to burn any fond that may be in the pan.  If its threatening to burn, throw a steak on it and start cooking the next two steaks (the steak will cool that spot in the pan enough to prevent burning).
  7. Add second batch of steaks to first set in oven.

Prepare Sauce

  1. Reduce heat in pan to medium.
  2. Pour off any excess fat left in the skillet, then add the shallots, crushed peppercorns and 2T butter and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until shallots are softened, 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add cognac, bring to a boil, and boil until reduced to a glaze, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add cream and any meat juices accumulated on the baking sheet, bring to a boil, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is slightly thickened and reduced to about ¾ C, about 3 minutes.
  5. Season with salt.


  1. Serve steaks with sauce, garnished with herbs, if desired.

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