Steak au Poivre Recipe
French Pepper Steak with Cognac Cream Sauce
This steak au poivre recipe is so quick and delicious, you could find yourself making it over and over again. The sauce that is stirred together in the same pan is made from Cognac and cream - perfect with pepper steak.
The Cognac Sauce
Cognac brandy goes great with beef and other meats. If you are going to be doing a lot of French cooking, you will probably want to keep a bottle on hand. You do not have to use the very best Cognac in your recipes. Save that for a stormy winter night by the fire.
Since a lot of this steak au poivre recipe gets eaten here in France, the grocery store carries a bottle of crushed pepper called Le Steak, marketed just for recipes such as this. However, pre-crushed pepper (poivre concassé) has much less flavor and aroma then that which you get from grinding your own in a mortar and pestle. Use a mixture of peppercorns (green, pink, white and black) for the best results. If you do use precrushed pepper for this steak au poivre recipe, make sure that it is only coarsely ground (no fine pepper like you get out of the shaker).
How to Pan Fry Steaks
I am not a huge fan of frying steaks in the kitchen - aren't they better when my husband cooks them on the grill? You bet! However, for the sake of delicious and easy results, I have gradually learned a few tips for pan frying beef without too much pain.
Bring the meat to room temperature before cooking it. This can take from 30 minutes to an hour, so you will need to remember in advance of when you are planning on serving. In the steak au poivre recipe here, the meat soaks up the pepper flavor as it is warming. Bringing steak to room temperature makes it much easier to get the inside cooked as you like it without having to char the outside.
Expect smoke. Beef should be pan fried at a fairly high temperature for good flavor. The trade off is that the process is noisy and smoky and no doubt a bit messier than you may wish. Just get through the smoky part and you'll soon be enjoying a delicious dinner - hopefully not in the kitchen!
Leave it alone. Once I realized I didn't have to hover over the hot sputtering pan, frying a steak became a much more enjoyable task. Just heat the pan thoroughly on medium heat, put the meat in and don't touch it until it's time to flip it. A one inch steak needs between three and four minutes per side to be medium rare. It doesn't need to be hovered over.
Salt it after it has cooked. This is my personal preference and up for debate. Some cooks even recommend coating the meat in salt and allowing it to sit for hours, then removing the salt before cooking. I think salting afterwards results in a more tender steak and you tend to use less salt. Always a plus.
Keep it warm. Beef needs to hang out for a few minutes after cooking for maximum taste. You don't want it getting cold in the meanwhile though, so cover it with a piece of aluminum foil.