Steak Au Poivre

Tested & Perfected Recipes Cookbook Recipe

A classic French dish, steak au poivre is a pan-seared filet mignon with a crunchy peppercorn crust and rich Cognac sauce.

When I was twenty years old, I signed up to work as a summer au pair in Paris. I went there believing I’d be visiting museums and lingering in Parisian cafés as the children scampered about me in adorable berets, always ready and willing to take a nap when I needed a break. HA! I still laugh about that to this day. Instead, I was taking care of three mischievous little boys — and a puppy — running errands, and ironing children’s clothes for hours on end.

But the job did have one special thing going for it: my host mother, Valérie, was a wonderful cook. When I think of her today, I still picture her standing at the kitchen table, crushing peppercorns with the back of a frying pan for her steak au poivre — a beef tenderloin fillet with a crunchy peppercorn crust, napped with a rich Cognac sauce. (Photo above by Alexandra Grablewski, Chronicle Books 2018)

What You’ll Need To Make Steak au Poivre

ingredients for steak au poivre

How To Make Steak au Poivre

To begin, seal the peppercorns inside a small plastic bag and place on a cutting board. Using a meat pounder, pound the peppercorns until they are coarsely crushed.

pounding the peppercorns for steak au poivre

Pat the steaks dry and, if they are thick, gently press them down so that they are about 1-1/2 inches tall. Season the steaks all over with the crushed peppercorns and salt, pressing to make sure the seasoning adheres.

seasoning the steaks

In a large stainless steel or cast iron skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot and shimmering, add the steaks and cook about 4 to 5 minutes on the first side, until nicely browned.

searing the steaks on first side

Flip the steaks and cook for 4 to 5 minutes more. Transfer the steaks to a plate and tent with foil.

searing the steaks on second side

Pour off the excess fat from the pan but do not wipe clean. Lower the heat to medium-low and add the butter and shallots.

adding butter and shallots to the skillet

Cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon and scraping up the brown bits, until the shallots are golden brown and softened, 2 to 3 minutes.

softened shallots

Carefully add the Cognac (it may ignite) and bring to a boil stirring to to scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.

simmering cognacCook until the liquid is reduced to a glaze and mostly absorbed by the shallots, a few minutes.

cognac reduced to a glaze

Add the cream and mustard and bring to a gently boil.

adding heavy cream and mustard

Cook until thickened, about 3 minutes, and then stir in any meat juices that accumulated on the plate.

thickened sauce

Transfer the steaks to plates and spoon the sauce over top.

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Steak au Poivre

A classic French dish, steak au poivre is a pan-seared filet mignon with a crunchy peppercorn crust and rich Cognac sauce.

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Total Time: 25 Minutes

Ingredients

  • Four 6- to 8-ounce filet mignons
  • 1 heaping teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped shallots, from 1 medium shallot
  • 1/2 cup Cognac or other brandy
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Instructions

  1. Pat the steaks dry and, if they are thick, gently press them down so that they are about 1-1/2 inches thick. Season the steaks all over with the salt.
  2. Seal the peppercorns inside a small plastic bag and place on a cutting board. Using a meat mallet or the bottom of a frying pan, pound the peppercorns until they are coarsely crushed. Press the crushed pepper evenly onto both sides of the steaks.
  3. In a large stainless steel or cast iron skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot and shimmering, add the steaks and cook about 4 minutes on each side, turning only once, for medium-rare (or about 5 minutes per side for medium). Transfer the steaks to a plate and tent with foil.
  4. Pour off the excess fat from the pan but do not wipe clean. Lower the heat to medium-low and add the butter and shallots. Cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon and scraping up the brown bits, until the shallots are golden brown and softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Carefully add the Cognac (it may ignite) and boil, again stirring to scrape up the brown bits, until the liquid is reduced to a glaze and mostly absorbed by the shallots, a few minutes. Add the cream and mustard and gently boil until thickened, about 3 minutes. Stir in any meat juices that accumulated on the plate. Transfer the steaks to plates and spoon the sauce over top.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Serving size: 1 6-oz filet
  • Calories: 721
  • Fat: 55 g
  • Saturated fat: 26 g
  • Carbohydrates: 5 g
  • Sugar: 2 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 34 g
  • Sodium: 587 mg
  • Cholesterol: 217 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

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Reviews & Comments

  • I made this for my husband on Valentine’s day and he said it was one of the best things I have ever cooked. Thank you!

    • — Carly on February 29, 2020
    • Reply

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