Steak au Poivre

Steak au poivre is a classic preparation for sauteed steak. Here Julia Child and Jacques Pépin update the steak by using a mixture of black, green, white and Jamaican peppercorns, which is really allspice. A saute of mushrooms and a full-bodied red wine are a fine match.–Julia Child and Jacques Pépin

Steak au Poivre Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 20 M
  • 20 M
  • Makes two 6 to 7 ounce steaks


  • For the steak
  • One 1-pound thick-cut, well-marbled strip steak
  • 2 tablespoons mixed whole peppercorns, including black, white, green, Szechuan and Jamaican (whole allspice)
  • Salt
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • For the pan sauce
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 2 tablespoons cognac (or bourbon or red wine)
  • 1/2 cup flavorful dark stock
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • For the garnish
  • Chopped parsley
  • Watercress


  • Sear the steak
  • 1. Trim the steak of all the surrounding fat and cartilage. Cut the meat into 2 pieces and crush the peppercorns using the bottom of a heavy skillet.
  • 2. Sprinkle salt to taste on the top and bottom of the steaks; then press each side into the cracked peppercorns, encrusting the steaks lightly or heavily, as you prefer.
  • 3. Heat the oil and the butter in a heavy saute or frying pan over high heat. When the pan is quite hot, lay the peppered steaks in. Fry for about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, until the undersides are well seared. Turn the meat and cook the second side for about a minute. Press with a finger to test for the slight springiness that indicates rare. Cook to desired doneness and remove to a warm platter.
  • Make the pan sauce
  • 4. Add the shallots to the pan and saute briefly, stirring with a spoon to scrape up the drippings. Lean away from the stove (averting your face) and pour the cognac into the pan; tilt the edge of the pan slightly, over the burner flame, to ignite the alcohol. The cognac will flame for a few seconds as the alcohol burns off; cook for a few moments more and then add the stock. Bring the liquid back to the boil, and cook about 1 minute to thicken the sauce, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasoning. Finally, add the soft butter, swirling the pan until it melts and incorporates with the juices.
  • 5. When blended, pour the poivre sauce over the steaks. Sprinkle liberally with chopped parsley and garnish each plate with sprigs of parsley or watercress.
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  1. Raven says:

    I was wondering at what point would I add mushrooms? Or should I do it completely seperately and add it at the end?

  2. David Leite says:

    Hi Raven, the mushrooms are a serving suggestions, so make them separately and add them to the plate just before serving.

  3. Kristiina says:

    I love your website!!! I was wondering what recipe for dark stock would you recommend?


    • David Leite says:

      Hi, Kristiina. Thanks for the kind words. Any good stock recipe is fine. The most important thing when making the stock is to roast the bones in order to make it dark and rich.

  4. Matt says:

    Love this recipe. Originally I tried a variation using cream. In doing so I fried the steaks, then I added the beef stock and reduced it down a bit first, BEFORE adding the cognac and cream. Does adding cognac and igniting/burning the alcohol off before adding/reducing the stock make a significant difference when making a reduction sauce?

    • Beth Price, LC Director of Recipe Testing says:

      Hi Matt, igniting (or reducing) the alcohol deepens the complexity of the flavors. In this particular recipe, a deep stock is used and the resultant sauce is only cooked for a minute or so, not long enough to develop the richness of the cognac.

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