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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