Steak au Poivre

  • Active Time 30m
  • Total Time 4h 20m
  • Rating ****

Serves 4

A simple method for a traditional French pepper steak with quite controversial origins: At least four chefs claimed to have invented this dish at various times between 1905 and 1930.


  • 4 5- to 6-ounce filet mignon or rib-eye steaks
  • Salt
  • 1/3 cup clarified butter or oil (see Chef's Tip)
  • 3 1/4 cups brown stock
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons crushed black peppercorns
  • 3 tablespoons white wine
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • Small sprigs of fresh parsley, to garnish


Season the steaks with salt. In a shallow skillet big enough to fit the four steaks, heat the clarified butter or oil until shimmering. Add the steaks and brown for about 3 to 4 minutes on each side for medium rare, and a little longer for medium. Remove from the pan, cover with aluminum foil to keep warm and set aside. For well-done steak, brown on each side for 3 minutes, then transfer to a baking dish and bake in a 400-degrees-F-oven for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and cover with aluminum foil.

Add the stock to a medium saucepan and reduce down to about 1 1/2 cups. Add the shallots to the skillet and lightly brown for 3 to 4 minutes before adding the peppercorns. Add the wine and half the brandy, stirring with a wooden spoon to scrape the sticky meat juices from the base of the pan, and simmer for 1 minute until syrupy. Stir in the reduced stock and bring to a boil. Cook the sauce for 7 minutes, or until syrupy, then add the remaining brandy.

Return the steaks to the sauce in the pan and reheat for 3 to 4 minutes, without allowing the sauce to boil. Serve on individual warm plates or on one large plate. Garnish with parsley and serve with French fries or roasted potatoes.

For the clarified butter:

You will need about 3/4 cup butter to yield 1/3 cup clarified butter. Melt the butter over low heat in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan, without stirring or shaking the pan.

Skim the foam from the surface, then carefully pour the clear butter into a container, leaving the white sediment in the pan.

Cover and refrigerate until needed. Will keep for up to 4 weeks.

Tip: Clarified butter is used because it will cook at a higher temperature than normal butter without burning.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Periplus Editions. All rights reserved.

RecID 1151

nutrition information per serving

427 calories; 26g total fat; 130mg cholesterol; 131mg sodium; 4g carbohydrates; 1g fiber; 34g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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