Steak au poivre in French, is literally steak with pepper. Traditionally it is a filet mignon, generously coated in crushed peppercorns, seared at a high temperature to create a crust on the outside leaving the interior rare to medium rare. It is left to rest while the pan sauce is made. Typically the pan sauce includes the fond, those tasty bits scraped from the bottom of the pan, cognac, butter, shallots, Dijon mustard, and heavy cream. Despite having had steak au poivre two nights in a row, it is a rich dish, perfect for special occasions. Yesterday we enjoyed steak au poivre with steamed asparagus and fresh radish as our Easter meal. I cooked the remaining steak tonight, served with French fries, a more common side dish with steak au poivre.
Despite its fancy name, this is an easy dish to prepare and is sure to make a statement on anyone’s dinner table.
Adapted from Epicurious
- 4 (1-inch-thick) boneless beef filet mignon
- 2 Tsp kosher salt
- 2 TBS whole black peppercorns
- 1 TBS vegetable oil
- 2 chopped shallots
- ½ stick (1/4 cup) salted butter
- ½ cup Cognac or other brandy
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard (optional)
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- Preheat oven to 200°F.
- Season both sides of steaks with kosher salt.
- Coarsely crush peppercorns in a sealed plastic bag with a meat pounder rolling-pin, then press pepper evenly onto both sides of steaks.
- Heat a heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot, add oil, and sauté steaks in 2 batches, turning over once, about 6 minutes for medium-rare.
- Transfer steaks as cooked to a heatproof platter and keep warm in oven while making sauce.
- Pour excess fat from skillet leaving the browned bits on the bottom of pan. Add shallots and half of butter (2 tablespoons) to skillet and cook over moderately low heat, stirring and scraping up brown bits, until shallots are well-browned, 3 to 5 minutes.
- Remove pan from heat and add the cognac or brandy. Return pan to heat and boil, stirring, until liquid is reduced to a glaze, 2 to 3 minutes. Add cream and any meat juices accumulated on platter and boil sauce, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half, 3 to 5 minutes. Add remaining butter and Dijon mustard and cook over low heat until butter is incorporated. Serve sauce with steaks.