Steak au Poivre

pepper steak


There are hundreds of versions of this French classic- here are just a couple –

Cook your steaks in a pan using the method below and using ground peppercorn as your rub. Press pepper firmly into steaks before cooking.

Simply place steaks in hot pan – grilling until browned on one side – 2-3 minutes. Lower heat and cover, cook 6-7 minutes for medium.

Based on one inch thick steaks – adjust times accordingly. Less time for thinner steaks.

Now for the au Poivre part!

Version 1

My personal favorite- I got this recipe from a French restaurant in the Poconos years ago.

2-3 Tablespoons Brandy

2 Tablespoons Worcestershire

Touch Lemon Juice

Place steaks on a warm plate and lightly cover with foil.

Deglaze the pan with the cognac scraping up any brown bits.

Now flambé it – you need to pour the cognac in the pan, let it get hot, then tip the pan up slightly – away from you, and put a flame near the alcohol, with care !…wait for the flame to stop by itself, it just takes a few seconds for such a small amount to burn off. I’m a chicken, so I use those long-long matchsticks or a long candle lighter.

– Add the Worcestershire and lemon juice to the pan and mix everything together ; top the steaks with the sauce.

Does not make enough to drown the steak! Just a light drizzle.

Version 2- non- flaming

1 cup red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Noir)

4 to 6 Tbs. butter, sliced

With a spoon, remove any fat from the skillet.

Put the skillet back on the burner and heat to medium high.

Add the wine and cook until it’s reduced to 1/4 cup, about 7 min., scraping up the browned bits with a wooden spoon.

Whisk in the butter a slice at a time, whisking until completely melted.

Taste and adjust the seasonings (fresh ground black pepper),  drizzle the sauce over the steaks, and serve immediately with more sauce on the side.

I take no responsibility for kitchen fires. Use the other version if you are nervous about flaming.

A note about flaming –

The reason you flame is to burn off the alcohol. You can reduce the alcohol by ½ and add it at the same time you add the next liquid ingredient and just let it cook away. Will not affect the flavor that much.



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