Steak au Poivre
Steak au Poivre is one of the most classic steak recipes on any restaurant menu. The coarse pepper crust and sauce have such a great flavor. It has somewhat fallen out of favor but still shows up in many good establishments. There are many versions, but we prefer one closer to the original with only minor changes. One is that we like to flatten our steaks thinner, which you find in some French bistros. They cook faster, and reminds us of our favorite French restaurant. We, like some restaurants, will also use Top Sirloin steak, which when pierced to tenderize, provide an excellent, flavorful steak.
Using rehydrated dried shallots in place of fresh shallots work well when you don’t have fresh. The sauce should be made from Cognac, but we’ve used a cream sherry when we don’t have any Cognac in our pantry. The flavor is quite good.
4 (¾- to 1-inch-thick) boneless beef strip steaks, about 8 oz each.
1 tablespoon kosher sea salt
2 tablespoons cracked or coarse ground black peppercorns
1 tablespoon canola or olive oil
⅓ cup finely chopped shallots (we use rehydrated dried shallots if we don’t have fresh on hand)
½ stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
½ cup Cognac, brandy, or even a sherry
¾ cup heavy cream
Preheat oven to 175°F 200°F. Pat dry the steaks, season both sides with the salt and pepper. Press the seasoning into the steaks.
Heat a large cast-iron skillet (or other heavy skillet) over medium high heat until hot, about 2-3 minutes. Add oil and swirl around the skillet. Cook the steaks about 6 minutes batch for medium-rare, or about 8 minutes for medium to medium well. Turn over once during cooking.
Transfer the steaks when cooked to an oven proof plate. Cover and place in the oven to keep them warm while you are making the sauce.
Pour off any fat from skillet. Add shallots and half the butter to skillet. Cook about 4-5 minutes over medium low heat. Stir while scraping any brown bits from the pan while browning the shallots all over.
Carefully add Cognac to the pan. Use caution since it may ignite. Bring to a boil and stir about 3-4 minutes, until the liquid is reduced to a thick glaze. Add heavy cream and any steak juices on the plate in the oven. Bring to a boil again, stirring about 3 to 5 minutes, until reduced by half. Add the other 2 tablespoons of butter. Reduce heat to low and cook over low heat. Stir until butter is blended into the sauce. Serve the sauce with the steaks.