Steak au Poivre

May  4, 2018
6 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

This steak au poivre, served a perfect medium rare with a creamy, pepper-infused pan sauce, will always hold a place in my heart. True to my Anglican roots, I have a fondness for sherry and cream, which make up nearly half the ingredient list of a proper au poivre. To me, this is about as good as a pan sauce gets: a silky reduction of stock with a swirl of spirits and fat to soften the sting of the pepper and shallots.

There are a few ways I recommend playing around with this dish: try a similar approach, and substitute sautéed mushrooms for the green peppercorns and toss in a fistful of thyme leaves; or lean into the booze and use half stock and half red wine for your sauce, leaving out or reducing the cream by half. Or keep things simple and call your sauce done once the stock has reduced to a syrupy consistency, forgoing the pepper and cream.

This recipe was developed in partnership with Le Cordon Bleu.Merrill Stubbs

What You'll Need
  • 4 strip steaks, 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick
  • Kosher or fine sea salt
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 medium shallots
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons black peppercorns, crushed
  • 1 ounce Cognac
  • 1 1/2 cups beef or veal stock (homemade or low sodium)
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons green peppercorns
  1. Season the steaks generously on all sides with salt and let them sit at room temperature for 45 minutes to an hour.
  2. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F° and place a wire rack inside a rimmed baking sheet.
  3. Set a heavy pan large enough to hold all four steaks over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the oil. When it starts to smoke, lay the steaks in the pan and don’t touch them for 2 minutes. Peek underneath one of the steaks, and if it’s nice and brown, flip the steaks over; if it’s not, leave the steaks for another minute or so and check again. Cook the steaks on the second side for another 2 minutes, then transfer them to the wire rack.
  4. Put the steaks in the oven. Start checking the temperature after about 8 minutes (for medium rare, a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the steak should read 130 degrees F°). When they’re cooked to your liking, transfer the steaks to a cutting board and let them rest for at least 5 minutes.
  5. While the steaks are in the oven, make the sauce. Set the pan you used to cook the steaks over medium heat and add the shallots and the crushed black peppercorns. Cook, stirring every once in a while, until the shallots soften and gently caramelize. Pour in the Cognac and cook until the liquid has mostly evaporated. Add the stock, turn up the heat and boil until the sauce becomes thick and slightly syrupy (it should reduce by about 80%). Add the cream and bring to a boil, then quickly remove the sauce from the heat. Strain it through a fine mesh sieve into a small pot to remove the crushed peppercorns, then stir in the green peppercorns, cover the pot and keep the sauce warm until you’re ready to eat.
  6. To serve, spoon a generous amount of sauce over the top of each steak.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Josef Lamberti
    Josef Lamberti
  • Mike Sidman
    Mike Sidman
  • mwarner8900

3 Reviews

mwarner8900 June 16, 2020
I would avoid this recipe. Tried it twice and both times the sauce came out a soupy mess (that's even after reducing the liquid and increasing the cooking time the second time).
Josef L. June 5, 2019
Superb! I made the mistake of letting the oil get a bit too hot- as soon as the heated oil sizzles when you flick water in the pan, drop the steaks in! Timeless recipe!
Mike S. May 7, 2018
This recipe looks amazing! Just wondering about one thing -- you mention in your comments your love for sherry and cream...but the recipe calls for cognac. Are they related? Would this be great with sherry instead of cognac?