Steak au Poivre – The Showstopper

Steak au Poivre is one of those gorgeous meals that fills the house, is showy to make in front of guests and makes you want to curl into the couch after dinner, completely content and satisfied. Tenderloin filets are pan fried and then added to a rich, creamy pepper sauce.

Sometimes you need a showstopper.  Maybe you are trying to impress a date with your cooking skills, maybe you need to show up some food snobs at your next dinner party, or maybe you’re just having an old friend over.  Recently for us, it was the latter.  Our good friend Joel hadn’t been over in a while so we thought we’d wow him with my new favorite way to have a steak (that doesn’t require a grill).  The only condition for him was that to earn his meal, he needed to be our guest photographer.

This is another beef tenderloin recipe. You can buy a full tenderloin and cut it into steaks. You can then wrap and freeze them for later when you need a showstopper.  Nothing stops a show like beef, cognac and cream (plus, there’s fire).  The result is the most buttery, peppery steak I’ve ever tasted, and though it may look intimidating, it seriously is one of the easiest recipes ever.
Software
This is largely based on Alton Brown’s steak au poivre.  I have made a few variations, but I will go over the standard here.
Start by slicing a whole tenderloin into medallions about 1 ½ to 2 inches thick, and sprinkle them with kosher salt.
Slice
Firmly roll them in coarsely ground black pepper.
Seasoned
Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat and add olive oil.  Do not use a nonstick pan – we want these to stick.
Sizzle
Place the steaks in the pan flipping once at about five minutes and removing to foil after another five.  This will yield a medium rare to medium steak, adjust cooking time as your tastes require.
Cognac
Turn off the heat and add the cognac to the pan to deglaze.  Use a long kitchen match or something comparable to ignite the booze.
BigFlame
This will erupt in a dramatic fireball and continue to burn until most of the alcohol has evaporated.
Cream
Once the fire goes out, return to medium heat and add the cream.  Stir the sauce making sure to scrape the bottom to liberate all the tasty bits.  Continue stirring until things firm up a bit – about 3 or 4 minutes.  This would also be a good time to add any additional flavors.  I threw in some chopped parsley here, but I’ve also added some mushrooms in previous versions.
Final
When you’re satisfied with the consistency, turn off the heat and return the steaks to the pan for a bath.
in pan
Plate with additional sauce over the top.
bite
With a little practice, this will become your best bet for a quick easy show stopper that is not only a feast for the palate but one for the nose and eyes as well.  Thanks Joel.

Adapted from Alton Brown

4-6 tenderloin medallions about 1 1/2 inches thick
kosher salt
2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/3 cup cognac
1 cup heavy cream

Evenly salt the medallions and roll in black pepper. Melt butter and olive oil over medium heat and sear the steaks about 4-5 minutes per side and remove to foil. Drain off excess oil and butter then deglaze the pan with the cognac. Ignite the cognac and swirl until the flame goes out. Add the cream and heat over a medium flame until the sauce thickens. Return the steaks to the pan and flip to coat. Serve with additional sauce over the top.


Makes 4-6 servings.
Copyright © Food for My Family.
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Comments

  1. A delicious meal with the best people in the midwest.
    Thanks guys.

  2. Oh holy goodness, Batman. Must.Try.This.Recipe.

  3. Hmm, I’m thinking some finely minced shallots would be good in the sauce.

  4. Love the classic French Steak au Poivre. Thanks for reminding me that I haven’t made this in quite a long time. It’s now on my to-make-right-away list!

  5. I added mushrooms and a bit of garlic on mine to give a bit more intense flavor, thanks for this share, my folks loved it.

  6. My wife love’s steak, and she loves to watch me cook. This just went on my “Mother’s Day” menu for this year. I’ll let you know how it goes :)

  7. This sounds delicious…but, I really don’t know anything about booze. What is cognac and is that the name I look for when shopping for it? Is it wine or what?

    I live in Southern Thailand and it’s difficult to get certain ingredients here, so I’d appreciate if somebody could clarify this for me.

    Besides the cognac, the rest of the ingredients aren’t a problem to find here, naturally.

    -Jeeem-

    • cognac is a variety of brandy :)

    • Cognac is a type of brandy. Brandy will probably be easier to find, and there isn’t enough of a difference that you couldn’t substitute it for cognac. In a pinch, both brandy and cognac come from grapes, so you could probably even use a red wine if you can’t find the others.

      • I wouldn’t use red wine as a replacement for cognac in this dish, but a good quality dark rum or a medium sweet sherry in stead.

  8. My goodness that looks good. I’ve never seen something so simple that I’m sure turns out so well. Thanks!

  9. This sounds wonderful! Do you know what the nutritional information is? I know, I shouldn’t ask such a thing. Thanks, Sally

  10. When would you add the mushrooms, shallots, etc? Do they get browned in the butter and then removed, or flambeed with the cognac?

  11. What does it mean when you remove to foil? This looks great and I would like to make it for my boyfriend but I always find a way to mess things up!

    • You just remove them from the pan and put them in a foil wrapper to retain some of the heat and allow them to rest before returning them to the sauce. :) Good luck!

  12. I LOVE a pepper sauce! By far my favorite way to pre-pare and eat a steak. Thanks so much for this, can’t wait to try it.

  13. I am with Michelle. It never says when to cover with foil – and I personally don’t sear steak then put foil on it so I am really unsure what the foil reference is for. I plan to ignore that part and just follow the rest of the recipe. It looks great!

    • You remove the seared steaks to a piece of foil to let them rest while you make the sauce. Allowing steaks to rest will also let the juices absorb back into the steak. :)

  14. This is such a great recipe! I love the way you did the step-by-step! Haven’t had this for a long time, you made me hungry for it. I like the idea of taking the pan off the range to add the cognac and then lighting it. Much safer practice!

  15. Thank you for the recipe! I made it and missed a few things, but overall it turned out well. Make sure you use a good choice beef and cream, not whipping cream :) Also, I added beef bouillon to the sauce and sauteed onions. I served it over mashed potatoes and let’s just say, no one complained :)

  16. After the sauce has thickened sufficiently, stir in about 4 ounces of good quality Gorgonzola cheese (reduce slightly the amount of salt you put on the steaks). Serve with some steamed, pencil thin asparagus (steam ONLY 45 seconds).

  17. I have a question. I’ve never made anything like this and I’d like to try as an extremely late Mothers’ Day/I-Just-Wanna-Cook-For-My-Parents Day dinner. Since there’s a big flame involved, is there a specific type of pan I should use? Or is any pan okay?

    • A straight sided saute pan would be best. Non-stick is preferable, to form ‘fond’ (little bits of goodness left on the pan after cooking), which basically translates to flavor (which you are trying to capture in the sauce). A pan with an insulated handle might be better, but not really necessary. If you are worried about burning your hand, just hold it with a tea towel.

  18. Chef Babbit says:

    this looks amazing. makes my mouth to water just from looking at the photos.

  19. I have a comment on this comment, then I have a comment for the OP.

    To Amy: Removing to foil is simply a way to keep the steaks warm whilst resting (FOR 5 MINUTES AT LEAST… ALWAYYYS!). When the OP says remove to foil, he/she doesn’t mean to wrap them tightly. They mean to place them in a plate, and form a loose ‘covering’ of foil. This will simply trap some of the heat and allow it to remain warm, without trapping too much moisture.

    To the OP and to anyone else who decides to try ‘flambe':

    It is important to note:

    FIRE IS DANGEROUS

    USE EXTREME CAUTION

    When you add cognac or any other high proof liquour to a hot pan, then ignite, you are not burning the alcohol itself, per se. You are burning the fumes from the alcohol. There is usually little danger involved, but I would just like to point out a couple things that weren’t explicitly stated in the OP.

    – Never light alcohol while there is an open flame/heat source. So, turn off your burner

    – Notice how in the OP, they remove the pan from the stove and then light. This is advisable just for an added layer of safety

    – Keep a heavy lidded pan nearby, just in case things Do go awry (if you follow the first 2 tips, they won’t)

    – Always have at least an ABC rated fire extinguisher within arm’s reach

    I would like to add on a personal note, I LOVE steak au poivre.

    As far as the recipe goes, I would recommend spooning off all but a tablespoon of fat from the pan, before deglazing with the cognac. I don’t usually deglaze with cognac (I just use chicken stock instead, and then I could add cognac later). When I don’t de-fat the pan, it can leave the sauce with a slimy mouthfeel, instead of velvety and smooth.

    Also, I would like to point out that because pepper is the centerpiece in this dish, it should always be FRESHLY ground… but you all knew that though.

    • Just re-read the original post and saw that you did state that you should turn off the heat. My bad.

  20. A mouth watering recipe. Love this recipe.

  21. Your beautiful photos really show off what a delicious dish this is!

  22. As I am not yet 21 I was wondering if there was a substitute I could use for the cognac?

  23. I want to make this just for the fire….my husband would freak! I can’t believe how easy this is. Thanks so much!

  24. My mouth is watering, let’s eat!

  25. This looks amazing. Definitely going to remember this next time I have a special dinner to make.

  26. This is so easy to make! Great idea for the weekend dinner!

  27. Great idea for the weekend dinner!

  28. Charlie Harper says:

    MILK STEAK!!!!

  29. A great steak always is a showstopper.
    Don’t forget step 1 though, don’t get the ones that are on sale.
    A good steak starts at a good butchershop.
    Supermarket steaks stop the showstopper.

  30. will this set off my smoke alarm?
    :)

  31. I love french cuisine. In factI think I want to study it and then work somewhere as a french cook :) This recipe looks amazing and I cannot wait to try it. I don’t really like rare steak but Im sure my family is going to love it. I just have to cook mine longer. And this sauce looks awesome! thanks for the recipe!!

  32. Looks amazing, my mouth is watering already!

  33. The sauce was delicious but only temporarily absolved me from the feeling that life is just a slow painful march towards our death.

Trackbacks

  1. […] So, I feel like I’m always working…so I have made a short list of things I want to do this summer, some of them are really short term goals, others are bucket list type goals…here is the photo list: A.  I want to make this recipe for Steak Au Poivre […]

  2. […] Steak au Poivre – The Showstopper | Food for My Family This is another beef tenderloin recipe, so keep your eyes open, when you see it on sale for $5.88/lb, buy two and freeze one for later, when you need a showstopper. Nothing stops a show like beef, cognac and cream (plus, there’s fire). The result is the most buttery, peppery steak I’ve ever tasted, and though it may look intimidating, it seriously is one of the easiest recipes ever. Sometimes you need a showstopper. […]

  3. […] Sometimes you need a showstopper. Maybe you are trying to impress a date with your cooking skills, maybe you need to show up some food snobs at your next dinner party, or maybe you’re just having an old friend over. Recently for us, it was the latter. Steak au Poivre – The Showstopper | Food for My Family […]

  4. […] Steak au Poivre – The Showstopper | Food for My Family – StumbleUpon Steak au Poivre is one of those gorgeous meals that fills the house, is showy to make in front of guests and makes you want to curl into the couch after dinner, completely content and satisfied. Tenderloin filets are pan fried and then added to a rich, creamy pepper sauce. Sometimes you need a showstopper. Maybe you are trying to impress a date with your cooking skills, maybe you need to show up some food snobs at your next dinner party, or maybe you’re just having an old friend over. […]

  5. […] Steak au Poivre – The Showstopper | Food for My Family – StumbleUpon Sometimes you need a showstopper. Maybe you are trying to impress a date with your cooking skills, maybe you need to show up some food snobs at your next dinner party, or maybe you’re just having an old friend over. Recently for us, it was the latter. Our good friend Joel hadn’t been over in a while so we thought we’d wow him with my new favorite way to have a steak (that doesn’t require a grill). The only condition for him was that to earn his meal, he needed to be our guest photographer. This is another beef tenderloin recipe, so keep your eyes open, when you see it on sale for $5.88/lb, buy two and freeze one for later, when you need a showstopper. […]

  6. […] Steak au Poivre – The Showstopper | Food for My Family Sometimes you need a showstopper. Maybe you are trying to impress a date with your cooking skills, maybe you need to show up some food snobs at your next dinner party, or maybe you’re just having an old friend over. Recently for us, it was the latter. Our good friend Joel hadn’t been over in a while so we thought we’d wow him with my new favorite way to have a steak (that doesn’t require a grill). The only condition for him was that to earn his meal, he needed to be our guest photographer. This is another beef tenderloin recipe. […]

  7. […] Place the steaks in the pan flipping once at about five minutes and removing to foil after another five. This will yield a medium rare to medium steak, adjust cooking time as your tastes require. Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat and add olive oil. Do not use a nonstick pan – we want these to stick. Steak au Poivre – The Showstopper | Food for My Family […]

  8. […] – like two weeks ago, I discovered Steak au Poivre, through using StumbleUpon. This is the recipe I’ve adapted/changed a little bit to fit our household, but hot damn, I’d propose to […]

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