Skillet “Steak” Au Poivre

Preparation info

  • Makes


    • Difficulty


Appears in

Get in There and Cook: A Master Class for the Starter Chef

Get in There and Cook

By Richard Sax

Published 1997

  • About

This is one of my favorite dishes when I’m craving red meat and want it quick. The recipe title may seem fancy, but this dish is nothing more than a peppered hamburger steak, with an elegant twist. The recipe takes practically no time to fix—perfect at the end of a busy day when I want something richly satisfying with lots of flavor. And there is no better example of the delicious results you can get using the techniques of sautéing and deglazing.


  • 1 pound ground beef round
  • 1 tablespoon cracked black peppercorns
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • ¼ cup dry red wine or 2 tablespoons brandy or Cognac
  • cup heavy cream


    1. Divide the ground beef in 2 equal portions and form each portion into an oval patty about 5 inches long and 1 inch thick. Season both sides of each patty generously with cracked black peppercorns.
    2. Just before cooking, sprinkle both sides of the patties with salt to taste. Heat together the butter and olive oil in an 8-inch heavy nonstick skillet over medium heat. When the butter begins to foam, add the patties to the skillet. Sauté until the undersides are well browned, about 4 minutes. Flip the patties over and continue cooking until the meat reaches the doneness you like—about another 4 minutes for medium-rare, 5 minutes for medium, and 5½ minutes for well done.
    3. Remove the patties with a spatula to a plate; keep warm. Pour off the fat from the skillet. If using brandy, remove the skillet from the heat and then add the brandy to the skillet. Carefully return to the heat, keeping your face averted in case the brandy flames. Or carefully add the wine to the skillet while it’s on the heat. Boil, scraping up any browned bits with a wooden spoon (Deglazing Basics), until the liquid is almost evaporated. Pour in the heavy cream and boil until the sauce is reduced to about ¼ cup and is thick enough to coat a spoon, about 1 minute. Pour the sauce over the steaks and serve.