Don’t be fooled. Just because a dish has an exotic sounding name, doesn’t mean it can’t be easily cooked, especially on a weeknight.
Steak Au Poivre is Easier Than You May Think
Steak au Poivre, translated pepper steak, is a French culinary classic, is exactly one of those dishes.
Most often seen on the menus of high-end steak houses or French cafes, this dish is often considered unapproachable by the home cook.
But don’t believe that nonsense for a moment.
It’s widely believed that steak au poivre originated in the bistros of Normandy in the 19th century.
It was the late night supper choice for men and their ladies believing that the evening would end on a happy note given the aphrodisiac properties of pepper.
Black Pepper: More Than Just a Tasty Crust
While it may contain some aphrodisiac properties, black pepper, also known as the “king of spices” is certainly good for your body.
It’s high in anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties just to name a couple.
And it’s tasty, which is its most important property in this recipe.
With its woody, piney flavor and hot, biting taste, it provides the perfect crunchy and pungent crust to a mild tasting but wildly tender piece of beef tenderloin.
And it’s the perfect embodiment of the culinary philosophy of using a few but high-quality ingredients to create something extraordinary.
Traditionally it’s made with a filet mignon cut, but other tender cuts can also be used, like NY strip or sirloin.
Top 3 Tips For Cooking Steak Au Poivre
- Use freshly crushed peppercorns. Freshly crushed peppercorns release more essential oils and aromatic compounds compared to pre-ground pepper. These oils are responsible for the pepper’s pungency and fragrance, which are at their peak just after crushing. This results in a more intense and fresher pepper flavor in the dish.
- Sear the steak. Sear the steak in a hot pan with butter and oil. The butter provides some richness, the oil helps ensure the butter doesn’t burn. The goal is to achieve a rich, crispy crust without burning the peppercorns. You’ll finish the steak in a 450˚ F oven.
- Rest the meat. Resting the meat for 5-10 minutes after cooking allows time for the juices to redistribute, ensuring a moist and tender steak.
While the steaks rest, use the same pan that you seared them in to create a stunningly simple brandy cream sauce.
Within minutes dinner is done.
Steak au poivre is a luxurious blend of simplicity and elegance.
Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a home cook looking to impress, this dish offers a delightful foray into the world of French cuisine.
Give it a try today!
Steak au Poivre is a delicious pepper-coated steak that is elegant and comes together in a snap. Serve it with a brandy cream sauce.
- 2 6-oz beef tenderloin filets
- 3 tablespoons black peppercorns, crushed, 1/2 tablespoon reserved
- kosher salt
- olive oil
Brandy Cream Sauce
- 1 tablespoon shallot, minced
- 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/4 cup Brandy
- 1/4 cup stock, chicken or beef
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
- kosher salt
- reserved peppercorns
- Heat oven to 450˚ F.
- Season steaks with kosher salt.
- Spread cracked peppercorns in a single layer on a sheet tray or a plate.
- Firmly press each side of the filet into the peppercorns to form a crust.
- Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until smoking.
- Add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the skillet. Give the skillet a swirl to evenly distribute.
- Add the pepper-coated filets to the pan.
- Sear the steak for 3 minutes on one side.
- Once seared, gently flip the filet to the other side, and place the cast iron skillet in the pre-heated oven.
- Check the temp after 3 minutes to determine doneness.
- Cook until desired temp is reached.
- Remove the filets from the oven and place on a sheet tray to rest.
- Return the cast iron to the stove top.
- Add butter (if needed) to the skillet to provide fat to sauté the shallots.
- Add the shallots and sauté for a minute or two until translucent.
- Add the garlic, sauté until fragrant.
- Add the brandy to deglaze the pan.
- Add the stock and reduce by half.
- Add the cream and cook until thickened.
- Add the fresh thyme.
- Add the reserved peppercorns, if desired.
- Taste and season with kosher salt.