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Course: Mains
Keyword: Beef, French, Gluten-Free, Meats, Steak au Poivre

Steak au Poivre

ACTIVE TIME: 25 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 55 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
Meaty beef tenderloin gets a quick sear before being doused in a rich and tasty sauce of pepper, Cognac, cream.
In my opinion, nothing rivals the sauté dish known far and wide as steak au poivre. Not only does it taste great, it's also a fine example of two basic culinary skills: sautéing meat and assembling a pan sauce.
I also like the dish personally because it features plenty of pepper.
This recipe first appeared in Season 9 of Good Eats.
Photo by Lynne Calamia
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Specialized Hardware

10-inch carbon steel pan
Stick lighter
ACTIVE TIME: 25 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 55 minutes
Yield: 4 servings


  • Remove the steaks from the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour prior to cooking. Sprinkle all sides with salt.
  • Coarsely crush the peppercorns with a mortar and pestle, the bottom of a cast iron skillet, or a mallet and pie pan. Spread the peppercorns evenly onto a plate. Press the fillets, on both sides, into the pepper until it coats the surface. Set aside.
  • Melt the butter and olive oil in a 10-inch carbon-steel pan over medium heat. As soon as the butter and oil begin to turn golden and smoke, gently place the steaks in the pan. For medium-rare, cook for 4 minutes on each side. Once done, remove the steaks to a plate, tent with foil and set aside. Pour off the excess fat, but do not wipe or scrape the pan clean.
  • Off of the heat, add 1/3 cup Cognac to the pan and carefully ignite the alcohol with a long match or firestick. Gently shake pan until the flames die. Return the pan to medium heat and add the cream. Bring the mixture to a boil and whisk until the sauce coats the back of a spoon, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the remaining teaspoon of Cognac and season to taste with salt. Add the steaks back to the pan, spoon the sauce over, and serve.
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