Sunday, August 2, 2009

Steak Au Poivre with Brandied Cream Sauce

Source: Cook's Illustrated

As I've said before, I'm not an overwhelming fan of red meat. However, the past few times I've made filets or the like, I've realized I'm just not good at cooking red meat. It seems like it would be pretty easy, but the combination of searing plus oven-cooking usually stumps me. And I know it's a crime to like a filet medium, but it skeeves me out when blood seeps out on my plate as I cut into my steak.

Well, now that you're hungry!

This recipe was right next to my seared filet recipe in my trusty New Best Recipe, and where there's a sauce that includes cream, butter, and alcohol, count me in. I ended up using thin-cut New York strip steaks, which I found easier to gauge the doneness. The peppercorn crust combined with the sauce is...heavenly, to say the least. Of all the steak recipes I've made, this one is my favorite! Additionally, you usually find a recipe with a title this long is a little complicated. Au contraire, I found this very easy to make!

Put the peppercorns in a bag and pound them with a rolling pin or meat mallet while the sauce is reducing.

Steak au Poivre with Brandied Cream Sauce



4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium shallot , minced
1 cup low-sodium beef broth
3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup brandy
1 tablespoon brandy
1 teaspoon lemon juice or 1 teaspoon champagne vinegar
Table salt


4 strip steaks (8 to 10 ounces each), 3/4 to 1 inch thick and no larger than 3 inches at widest points, trimmed of exterior gristle
Table salt
1 tablespoon black peppercorns , crushed


1. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in 12-inch heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat; when foaming subsides, add shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add beef and chicken broths, increase heat to high, and boil until reduced to about 1/2 cup, about 8 minutes. Set reduced broth mixture aside. Rinse and wipe out skillet.

2. Meanwhile, sprinkle both sides of steaks with salt; rub one side of each steak with 1 teaspoon crushed peppercorns, and, using fingers, press peppercorns into steaks to make them adhere.

3. Place now-empty skillet over medium heat until hot, about 4 minutes. Lay steaks unpeppered-side down in hot skillet, increase heat to medium-high, firmly press down on steaks with bottom of cake pan (see illustration below), and cook steaks without moving them until well-browned, about 6 minutes. Using tongs, flip steaks, firmly press down on steaks with bottom of cake pan, and cook on peppered side, about 3 minutes longer for rare, about 4 minutes longer for medium-rare, or about 5 minutes longer for medium. Transfer steaks to large plate and tent loosely with foil to keep warm.

4. Pour reduced broth, cream, and 1/4 cup brandy into now-empty skillet; increase heat to high and bring to boil, scraping pan bottom with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits. Simmer until deep golden brown and thick enough to heavily coat back of metal tablespoon or soup spoon, about 5 minutes. Off heat, whisk in remaining 3 tablespoons butter, remaining 1 tablespoon brandy, lemon juice or vinegar, and any accumulated meat juices. Adjust seasonings with salt.

5. Set steaks on individual dinner plates, spoon portion of sauce over steaks, and serve immediately.

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