Steak au Poivre

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

  • Quick Glance
  • 20 M
  • 20 M
  • Makes two 6 to 7 ounce steaks
5/5 - 1 reviews
Print RecipeBuy the Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home cookbook

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  • 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 flat-leaf parsley
  • Watercress


  • 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.

Recipe Testers Reviews

This is my favorite way to eat a steak, but I'd never made it at home. This recipe is one I would make again any time. The steak took almost no time at all to cook. I had everything prepared and ready to go so it was a smooth process from beginning to end. The sauce was full of flavor and the perfect compliment to the peppered steak. Next time I will not sprinkle with parsley, as I felt it was more of a garnish and really wasn't needed. I served this with baked potatoes and salad and it was perfect. I love it when there's just two of us for dinner and I can make a cozy meal like this for the two of us.


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  1. 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?

    1. 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.

    1. 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.

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

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