Steak au Poivre

The most perfect steak I have ever made...
I have begun to challenge myself by cooking french food. This was the first recipe I tried. Basically it is a simple peppered steak that is so easy to make once you get the hang of it. I make it for dinner at least a few times a year.

This recipe is from Julia Child and Jacques Pepin with a few alterations (I am NOT comfortable as of yet setting my food on fire despite this blog's name). Also I have to make this on a budget so white onions usually replace the shallots for me and I use red wine. The most expensive thing will be the steak on this menu, but many cuts can work so long as it is 1 to 1/2 inch thick.

Cooks Note: Because all of these things cook at a fairly quick rate with a HOT pan, you should do ALL the prep work in advanced so are ready and not wasting time. Also the more quickly you move the less likely you are to burn the oil or butter.


1 steak (t-bone, NY strip, Tenderloin, etc...) well marbled, 1 to 1 1/2 inch thick.
Fresh ground black pepper
1 -2 tbls kosher Salt
2 tsp vegetable oil
2 tsp butter

For Pan Sauce
2 tbls minced shallots (or white onions)
2 tbls cognac (or bourbon or red wine)
1/2 cup dark flavorful stock (beef is usually preferred)
1 tbls butter at room temperature

  1. Trim the steak of most of the fat if there is a lot on your cut. Depending on the steak you get you may need to cut into two pieces. Since I usually have T-Bone steaks the entirety of this step is unnecessary.
  2. Grind black pepper over each side of the steaks with as much or as little as you want (we use a lot.)
  3. Sprinkle salt over each side as well. Be careful with the salt, it can get really salty if you add too much.
  4. Heat the oil and the butter in a heavy saute or frying pan over HIGH heat. When the pan is really hot, lay the peppered steaks in, be careful to not over crowd. 
  5. Fry for 1 1/2 to 2 min until the underside is nicely seared. 
  6. Repeat
  7. To check the doneness press a finger to test for the slight springiness that indicates rare. I cook mine on each side a minute or two longer just because that is what my family likes. 
  8. Remove steaks to a warm platter and let rest.

For Sauce:
  1. Add shallots or onions to the pan and saute briefly, stirring frequently to get all the drippings. 
  2. Pour the cognac (or bourbon) in to the pan. If you are particularly experienced then you can tilt the pan edge over the flame to Flambe. I have never done this.
  3. Let the alcohol cook down  for a few moments.
  4. Add the Stock
  5. Bring the liquid back to a boil and cook for 1 min or so to thicken.
  6. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  7. Add the soft butter and stir gently till combined.
  8. Spoon sauce over the steaks and serve.

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