What is Steak au Poivre?

This French restaurant classic, which translates to steak with pepper, is gratifyingly simple to make at home!  A creamy sauce coats a pepper crusted steak for a meal that feels like you opened a bistro in your very own home. 

Steak au Poivre

The pepper mellows as it cooks, so what looks like an overabundance of peppercorns softens to a place where the spiciness complements and enhances the rich meat, but doesn’t compete with it.

What Kind of Pepper to Use in Steak au Poivre

Use multi-colored peppercorns for more visual appeal and different layers of peppery flavor.  The different color peppercorns have distinct flavors, and when combined add a lot of sophistication to the dish.  Melissa’s makes a disposable pepper grinder with three types of peppercorns, and you can also buy a mixed whole peppercorn blend for your own grinder.  Black pepper, however, is just fine, if that’s what you have.  The sauce with the brandy, cream, demi-glace or stock, and shallots will be just delicious regardless of what peppercorns you have.

Steak au Poivre

Green Peppercorns in Steak au Poivre

Then there are the green peppercorns, which add a finishing touch to the sauce.  Green peppercorns are underripe peppercorns, and the flavor milder than that of black peppercorns.  The type of green peppercorns called for in this (and many other recipes that call for green peppercorns) are actually brined and sold in jars, unlike the dried peppercorns usually sold in bottle or bags.  They add a briny salty punch to the dish.  You can find them in supermarkets, specialty stores and online.

What Steak to Use in Steak au Poivre

Some recipes for steak au poivre call for a whole beef tenderloin, some call for filet mignon, shell steaks, T-bone steaks, and more.  I picked a NY strip steak for this because they are juicy, well marbled, and eat to slice, but you can use whatever tender cut of beef you like.

Steak au Poivre

How to Make Easy Demi-Glace

You can purchase demi-glace in small container at specialty store or online.  Or make your own demi-glace by reducing the best lower-sodium stock you can buy by half to concentrate the flavor.  Because regular stock can contain a lot of sodium, I recommend starting with low or less-sodium stock.

How to Crush Peppercorns for Streak au Poivre

There are a number of ways to crack the peppercorns so they are in coarse bits.  You can put them in a plastic bag, seal it, and then gently pound with a meat mallet or a rolling pin or another heavy unbreakable kitchen item.  Ort if you have a grinder with adjustable settings, set the grinder for the coarsest setting and grind away.  You can also put the peppercorns in a mortar and gently crush them with the pestle. 

Or place them in a skillet and use a smaller pot to press and crunch the peppercorns until they are of a coarse ground consistency.

Steak au Poivre

Steak au Poivre: The perfect bistro steak with a creamy sauce studded with shallots and coarsely crushed peppercorns.

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How to Make Steak au Poivre

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Heat a large heavy skillet, preferably cast iron, over high heat.  Pat the steaks dry with paper towels or a clean dishtowel.  Season with salt. 

Then coat both sides of the steaks evenly with the cracked pepper, pressing it gently into the meat to adhere.  

Steak au Poivre

When the pan is hot, add the oil and place the steaks in the hot skillet and cook until the bottom of the steaks have nicely browned, about 4 minutes.  

Steak au Poivre

Flip the steaks and transfer the pan to the oven.    Bake for about 5 to 7 minutes, until the center of the steak registers 125°F on an instant read or meat thermometer (for medium rare).  Remove the pan from the oven and transfer the steaks to a cutting board to rest for at least 5 minutes while you make the sauce.

Place the skillet over medium heat with any remaining fat in the pan.  Add the shallots to the skillet and stir for 2 minutes until the shallots have softened.  

Steak au Poivre

Carefully pour in the brandy and then cook for about 2 more minutes to reduce the liquid by half and burn off the alcohol.  Be careful as the cognac might ignite, which is fine; the flames will quickly die out on their own. Pour in the demiglace or stock, cream and vinegar and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes, until the sauce has thickened and is well combined.  

Steak au Poivre

Add the green peppercorns and butter and stir to melt the butter.

Steak au Poivre

Serve the steak whole or sliced with the pepper-cream sauce.

What to Serve with Steak au Poivre:

Steak au Poivre

Other Steak Recipes:

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Steak au Poivre

The perfect bistro steak with a creamy sauce studded with coarsely crushed peppercorns.
Yield: 4 People
Diet: Gluten Free

Ingredients

  • 2 1 to 1 ¼-inch thick NY Strip steaks , (about 20 ounces each)
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely cracked multi-colored or black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or other neutral oil
  • ¼ cup finely chopped shallots
  • ½ cup brandy or cognac
  • ½ cup demiglace (any kind) , or rich beef or chicken stock
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon drained jarred green peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Heat a large heavy skillet, preferably cast iron, over high heat. Pat the steaks dry with paper towels or a clean dishtowel. Season with salt and coat both sides of the steaks evenly with the cracked pepper, pressing it gently into the meat to adhere. When the pan is hot, add the oil and place the steaks in the hot skillet and cook until the bottom of the steaks have nicely browned, about 4 minutes. Flip the steaks and transfer the pan to the oven.
  • Bake for about 5 to 7 minutes, until the center of the steak registers 125°F on an instant read or meat thermometer (for medium rare). Remove the pan from the oven and transfer the steaks to a cutting board to rest for at least 5 minutes while you make the sauce.
  • Place the skillet over medium heat with any remaining fat in the pan. Add the shallots to the skillet and stir for 2 minutes until the shallots have softened. Carefully pour in the brandy and then cook for about 2 more minutes to reduce the liquid by half and burn off the alcohol. Be careful as the cognac might ignite, which is fine; the flames will quickly die out on their own. Pour in the demiglace or stock, cream and vinegar and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes, until the sauce has thickened and is well combined. Add the green peppercorns and butter and stir to melt the butter.
  • Serve the steak whole or sliced with the pepper-cream sauce.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 991kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 68g | Fat: 64g | Saturated Fat: 28g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 23g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 275mg | Sodium: 827mg | Potassium: 1035mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 640IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 114mg | Iron: 6mg

The nutrition values are provided as an estimate. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional.

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