Pepper Steak

2 03 2009

Every Valentine’s day the local butcher shop has beef tenderloin on sale.  And every time we get tenderloin we make a roast (this roast) because, well, it’s really good.  I tend to stick with winners when dealing with expensive cuts of meat.  As a result I’d never made a filet steak and now I had a perfect opportunity.  You see, I was planning a surprise dinner for Karen.  One thing I’ve learned is that if you’re planning a surprise dinner and they might come home late, a roast is a bad idea.  If you think that special someone is coming home at 6:30 and she comes home at 8:00 then you’re stuck with a really overdone roast.  But steaks cook quickly.  Steaks can be prepared while they watch, preferably after the kids go to bed.

Most of my culinary knowledge comes courtesy of Alton Brown.  And it is on his show that I was first introduced to Steak au Poivre.  (Here’s the recipe)  It’s got just a few ingredients.

Pepper, cream, and brandy works for me

Step one is to season the meat all over with salt.  Then crush the black peppercorns and press them into the meat, covering both sides.  Then cook the steaks.

No I didn't set off the smoke detector

When the steaks are done take them out and let them rest.  Then pour in some brandy and let the alcohol cook off.   Now I’ve read elsewhere (like Anthony Bourdain’s cookbook) that to make the sauce you need veal stock and demi-glace, but Alton just adds heavy cream and that’s good enough for me.  Let it reduce until it coats the back of a spoon.  You’re done.

It's almost done here, but not quite

Now I looked for more interesting things to serve it with than merely potatoes, but I haven’t seen many who mess with tradition.  Who am I to disagree?  I served mashed potatoes and a green salad that, I’ll admit, I asked Karen to make.  But I made 2/3 of dinner.

Nice dinner, yes? Only if the kids are asleep.

I did, however, overcook the steaks.  They were medium well to well, just a tiny bit of pink in the middle.  Too bad.  I’d rather they moo in pain when I cut into them.



9 responses

2 03 2009
Heidi @ GGIP

That is a gorgeous plate of food.

We like Alton Brown too. Although he occasionally does get his science wrong.

2 03 2009

Alton Brown is unto a god. That steak looks great — I’m printing this off and trying it the next time I feel a little less tight in the pocket (unless that’s slang for something untoward, in which case we’ll just go with “broke”). 🙂 Thanks!

2 03 2009
mark - in my own defense

For the record, Bourdain says you can make this preparation with any steak. He says most restaurants use sirloin.

3 03 2009

Wow – looks delicious, despite the non-rare steaks. Lucky Karen, you even broke out the good china for her!

24 03 2009

You can indeed make au poivre with any steak you desire. I typically see it in restaurants made with fillet or NY Strips, and I’ve made it with both. We love ribeyes, and that’s what we use these days for au poivre. Any steak cook in this preparation is good.

I typically just season one side of the steak with pepper. When I use a fillet I’ll season both sides, but on a thinner steak (ribeye or strip) I think the pepper is too strong when on both sides.

Au Poivre is my fiance’s favorite meal. We actually had one last week (only one because that’s what I made for her…I took my ribeye basted with butter as an experiment…WOW…how indulgent that was).

Good looking au poivre by the way.

8 06 2009
Giselle Benites

OMG! Looks delicious!

9 06 2009

Looks just awesome -def. going to give a test drive.

28 06 2009

The steak looks great! I never tried any Alton Brown’s recipe but after looking at your steak, I might want to try. It just looks so good!
My favorite is Tyler Florence. All of his recipes I tried, came out really good. Thank you.

18 07 2010
Matthew Darsey

Bravo, well DOne! {No PunIntended}
I was lucky enought to have been exposed to Steak au Poivre while TYraveling thru French Colonial Africa. They would Pour this wonderfull Sauce on everything that needed masking(shame but you didnt see any COW in Africa).
I can appreciate your simplification; and if Alton usually has anything to do with it Simple but thourouly EXPLAINED is definately the wsy to go. Good Job, im gonna try this two different ways..Gonna try it with Sauted Onions, and one with a touch of Cardimom in the spice. Thanks for the well presented Spot..Bon-Appetite

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