Steak au Poivre
4 beef loin steaks, cut 1-inch thick
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1⁄3 cup shallot, finely chopped
1⁄4 cup butter, cut into 4 pieces (1/2 stick)
1⁄2 cup cognac or 1⁄2 cup other brandy
3⁄4 cup heavy cream
Preheat oven to 200º.
Pat steaks dry and season both sides with kosher salt.
Coarsely crush peppercorns in a sealed plastic bag with a meat pounder or bottom of a heavy skillet, then press pepper evenly onto both sides of steaks.
Heat a 12-inch heavy skillet (preferably cast-iron) over medium high heat until hot, about 3 min, then add oil. Swirl skillet to lightly coat the entire skillet.
Saute steaks in batches (2 at a time). DO NOT TOUCH – this lets them brown nicely and makes all the difference. Cook for 6 min and flip and cook for another 6 minute for medium rare steaks. Repeat with remaining 2 steaks.
Transfer cooked steaks to a heatproof platter and keep warm in the oven.
After all 4 steaks are cooked pour off fat from skillet if any, then add shallots and half of the butter.
Cook over medium low heat, stirring and scraping up any brown bits from bottom of the pan until the shallots are well browned all over, 3-5 minute.
Remove skillet from heat and add Cognac. (If you add while on the burner it may ignite – see note below.) Boil, stirring until liquid is reduced to a glaze, 2-3 minute.
Add cream and any meat juices that have accumulated on the platter in the oven.
Boil sauce, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half, 3-5 minute. Add the other half of the butter and cook over low heat swirling the skillet to melt and incorporate the butter.
Serve sauce with steaks.
I recommend that when igniting alcohol, use extreme caution. Remove the pan from the heat source before adding the alcohol. Pour the alcohol into the pan and ignite with a match or click lighter. Return the pan to the stove top and gently swirl to reduce the flames
Tonight, I’m serving these steaks with buttered flat pasta, fresh Chili & Garlic Broccolini garden salad and fresh fruit compote.