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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

LC Jacques and Julia Note

Jacques and Julia. Now that was a duo, eh? Sorta like the superheros of the French kitchen. They should have had capes.

Steak au Poivre Recipe

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

Ingredients

  • 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 beef stock or dark chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • For the garnish
  • Chopped parsley
  • Watercress

Directions

  • Sear the steak
  • 1. Trim the steak of any excess fat. 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 of each steak 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, add the peppered steaks. 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 the desired doneness and transfer to a warm platter.
  • Make the pan sauce
  • 4. Return the pan with the drippings to medium heat. Add the shallots and saute briefly, stirring with a spoon to scrape the bottom of the skillet. Lean away from the stove (averting your face) and carefully pour the cognac into the pan. Tilt the edge of the pan slightly over the burner flame, to ignite the alcohol or light it with a match. The cognac will flame for a few seconds as the alcohol burns off. When the flames die down, cook for a few moments more and then add the stock. Bring the liquid back to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, about 1 minute. Taste and adjust the seasoning as desired. Finally, add the soft butter, tilting the pan until the butter melts and is incorporated with the pan juices.
  • 5. 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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