Steak au Poivre – A classic French dinner

  • 07.13.10

Steak au poivre. A French classic dish. Bonne Fete Nationale !!! Happy Bastille Day!!!

Tonight dinner should be tomorrow night dinner as it is your typical French fare of Steak, Frites et Salade.

With all the wonderful dishes that France has to offer, ask any French citizen and they will come up with those dishes before any other. Because we will be celebrating Bastille Day, it’s  only  logical to have them. Since I am bit off tonight,  tonight it will be my Bastille Day dinner and tomorrow we will go out to celebrate my National day. A guess a two days celebration never hurt anyone, right???

Steak au Poivre has as many versions as there are peppercorns in the dish. This is the most commonly used. Some chefs will add heavy cream and omit the stock. In my family we prefer this version. Because I love my steak very rare, therefore I should forewarned you, the recipe is prepared rare. hence you may want to adjust the cooking time a bit. If you rather have it medium or medium well,  may I suggest placing it in a hot oven and then lowering the heat to 300 while making the sauce. Thus  eliminating to completely burn the peppercorns and having an extremely tough exterior.

The hot oven will finish cooking the steak to desire doneness, and the outside will remain nice and tender.

French fries are always cooked on very hot oil. Roasted potatoes seems like the excellent substitution.

Most of all, please do not leave the French fried unattended has they have tendency to disappear around little ones….. And big one also…

Tonight’s July 13, 2010 dinner:
Steak au Poivre

Steak au Poivre


2 nice 8 oz. fillet mignons, 1 ½ inch thick
2 tablespoons mixed whole peppercorn, including black, white, green, Szechuan
1 teaspoon oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons minced shallots
2 tablespoons cognac
½ cup beef stock, sodium free
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature

Trim the fillets, if need to of all fat surrounding. Crush the peppercorns with the back of a skillet. Sprinkle salt to taste on the top and bottom of the fillets, then press each fillets into the cracked peppercorns, encrusting the fillets more or less, depending of personal taste.

Heat the oil and the butter in a heavy sauté frying pan over high heat. When the pan is quite hot, lay the peppered fillets in, fry for 2 to 3 minutes, until the underside is well seared. Turn the meat and cook the second side for about a minute. At this point the fillets are cooked at rare. Cook longer for medium rare or medium. When done remove and place in a warm platter.

Add the shallots to the pan and sauté briefly, stearin g with a spoon to scrape up the drippings. Remove the pan from the burner and add the cognac into the pan. At this point if you are brave you may want to tilt the pan slightly over the burner to ignite the alcohol. When the flame subsides and the alcohol burns off, add the stock.

Bring the liquid back to a boil and cook about 1 minute to thicken the sauce, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Finally add the butter and swirl the pan until melted and incorporate with the juices.

When blended, pour the sauce over the steaks. French fries are a most side dish.

3 ½ pounds waxy potatoes
Vegetable oil

Peel the potatoes and cut them in strips or use the mandoline to 1/8” thickness, or larger. If a deep fryer is available, heat the oil at the maximum high and cook following you fryer instructions. If using a regular frying pan, add enough oil to come up the side by at least 1 inch. On high heat warm the oil. A good test to see if the oil is hot enough, add 1 French fry and the oil should bubble around it. Add half of the potatoes but do not overcrowd. When a nice golden color, remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Sprinkle generously with salt. Repeat with the remaining potatoes. Serve hot.

My rule of thumb for the vinaigrette, I use 1 part red wine vinegar, 3 parts olive oil. Mix well with salt and add the cleaned salad of choice. Serve right the way.


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