Steak au Poivre

Preparation info

  • Serves


    • Difficulty


Appears in

French Classics Made Easy

French Classics Made Easy

By Richard Grausman

Published 2011

  • About

A STEAK AU POIVRE is a thick slice of beef coated with cracked or crushed pepper, pan-fried, and flamed with Cognac. It is classically served rare to medium-rare, with a cream sauce, fried potatoes, and watercress. Although there are many variations on this classic preparation, most of which include the use of a brown sauce and various other ingredients, none equal the flavor created by the combination of just steak, pepper, Cognac, and cream.

The only updating necessary for this French bistro classic is the careful removal of all exterior fat. If the butcher has not already done so, make sure that, when you trim the fat, your knife passes under the fat as well as the membrane lying next to the muscle, so that only red meat is visible when finished. By doing this, you avoid eating unnecessary fat.

Any good individual beefsteak can be used for this recipe, but I prefer boneless shell or strip steak, and my second choice is boneless sirloin. Both cuts have excellent flavor and texture. Allow the meat to come to room temperature, 1 to 2 hours, before sautéing.

When cooking the steaks, it is important to have enough oil in your pan to fry the pepper as well as the meat. If not fried, the amount of pepper used will be too hot for many to eat. Start with just enough oil to coat the bottom of your pan (this is sufficient for sautéing the steak) and then add another tablespoon of oil (this is for frying the pepper).