Steak Au Poivre, A Second Look
Time requirement: 15-20 minutes. Plus, time to soak the green peppercorns in cognac.
At the risk of repeating myself, a avoid this dish because it is usually prepared with the beef fillet, which is too mild for the accompanying sauce. Also, the sauce is usually to peppery because it consists of whole green peppercorns. So after too many attempts to be good for my lipid panel, I recommend this version.
What you will need:
Four to 24 hours in advance, grind 1 teaspoon dried green peppercorns and set them to soak in ¼ cup cognac.
2 chuck eye steaks about 6-ounces each and 1 to 1¼ inch thick. (Alternatively, choose a single ribeye or New York strip about 12-16 ounces and 1 to 1 ¼ inch thick. I select the chuck eye because is a good size 5-6 pounces each), it has a portion of the tender ribeye plus some chewier tasty bits of the chuck, and plenty of marbling. It holds up well to the pepper sauce.
¼ to ½ teaspoon kosher salt.
2 tablespoons finely diced or chopped shallots
1 tablespoon clarified butter (or ½ tablespoons refined (not extra virgin) olive oil and butter.
¼ cup veal stock (or use an unsalted beef stock from the store).
¼ cup heavy cream.
A dash or two of Worchester sauce.
Warm serving plates.
Preheat oven to 250 degree F and place in it a pan for the steak(s) to rest while the sauce is prepared.
As noted, grind 1 teaspoon of green peppercorns and add to ¼ cup cognac, preferable 4-24 hour in advance.
Pat dry the meat with paper towels and sprinkle with the salt. If time allows, let the meat rest on the counter 30-60 minutes.
Select a frypan that will accommodate your steak(s). Heat it over a medium high heat. When the pan is hot, add the clarified butter (or the butter/oil combination). When the oil is hot slip your steak(s) in the pan and cook for two minutes on each side. This should allow for a nice even browning on both sides. Remove the steaks to the pan in the oven.
Add the shallots to the pan, lower the heat to medium-low and cook until they are soft and take on a little color.
Pour the combination of green peppercorns and cognac to the pan. Stir and let the cognac burn off. Add the veal stock to the pan and worchester sauce. Reduce by half. Add the cream and reduce my half. Taste the sauce for seasoning and adjust for salt.
Place you steaks on warm serving plates and divided the sauce between them.
Because the quantity of peppercorns is muted, but because they were ground and soaked in the cognac, I find this to be the perfect mix of peppery fire and the taste of good beef cooked perfectly.