Grilled Steak with Peppercorn Sauce Recipe or Steak au Poivre
One of the First Romantic Meals I Cooked For My Wife
The first time I made Steak au Poivre, I was trying to impress my girlfriend (now my wife) with my cooking skills. I want to think this dinner contributed to our getting married. This was not the first time the Reluctant Gourmet has made his kitchen an arena for romance, but that's another story.
So, what did I cook for her?
One of my favorite restaurants in NYC is Raoul's; they make the city's best Steak au Poivre (peppercorns). So, I decided to reproduce this dish. Since I am a city apartment dweller, I grilled the filet Mignon on my anodized aluminum reversible range top grill.
Beware; they can be a little smoky if you don't have good ventilation. In addition, we had mashed potatoes, steamed broccoli, and a tossed salad. I also served an extraordinary California Cabernet Sauvignon. The result? Well, we had another date.
What Is Steak au Poivre?
Steak au poivre is a French dish that consists of a steak. Usually, a filet mignon or strip steak, coated in crushed peppercorns and pan-seared. The steak is typically served with a sauce made from pan drippings, cognac, and heavy cream. Some variations may also include butter, broth, or other seasonings.
The dish is traditionally served with a side of sautéed or roasted vegetables or a salad. It is a classic, and elegant dish often served in fine-dining restaurants.
A Little History
It is unclear exactly when or where the dish and sauce known as "steak au poivre" or "pepper steak" originated. However, the dish likely has its roots in French cuisine, as it is a classic and popular dish in France.
The dish is thought to have been created in the mid-20th century, although some sources suggest it may have originated earlier.
Over time, the dish has become popular in many countries worldwide, and it is now a classic and beloved dish in many fine-dining restaurants. There are many variations of the dish and the sauce, and cooks and chefs have added their own twists and adaptations to the recipe. Despite its French origins, steak au poivre has become a global favorite and is enjoyed by food lovers worldwide.
My Tips for Preparing Steak au Poivre
1. Prepare what you need before you start. It’s how the pros do it and simplifies the process when you scramble to put it together.
2. Make sure the grill is hot. This will sear the outside of the meat.
3. If you are using a broiler, you want to preheat it to get it hot for the same reason as above.
4. Buy yourself a potato ricer for mashed potatoes. It is an excellent gadget in your kitchen, it looks like a giant garlic press and costs about six bucks, but there’s nothing better than smooth, airy mashed potatoes.
5. A folding steamer platform that sits in almost any pot works great for your steamed veggies. Important be careful not to overcook the broccoli. You want it to be crisp but tender.
6. Invest in a salad spinner. They’re inexpensive and work great. But, on the other hand, there’s nothing more unappealing than soggy lettuce. And speaking of lettuce, you may have grown up on an iceberg, but try some red or green leaf for a bit of diversity.
Grilled Steak with Peppercorn Sauce Recipe
- Preheat the grill or broiler until it’s really hot.
- Season the steaks with a bit of salt and pepper. The meat should be placed about 3 to 4 inches from the heat source and cooked for approximately 3 - 4 minutes per side, depending on how you like your steaks.
Prepare Sauce au Poivre
- Melt ¼ stick of butter in a saucepan and sauté shallots (cooking quickly over high heat) until transparent for approximately 2-3 minutes.
- Add one tablespoon of cracked peppercorns. This is the hardest part of making this sauce. So I put the peppercorns in a zip lock bag and cracked them on my cutting board with a hammer. Noisy, but it worked.You can also use your pepper mill by adjusting the grind setting to the largest grind. This requires a good quality pepper mill with a wide range of adjustments.
- Add ½ cup of red wine, preferably something you may be sipping while preparing this meal.
- Reduce this mixture to an essence until there is just a hint of wine left in the pan.
- Add the demi-glace, and stir (with a whisk if you have one) until completely incorporated.
- Simmer until the sauce has thickened, approximately 5 - 6 minutes. The sauce is thick enough that it will coat a spoon.
- Add ¼cup of finely chopped parsley, stir, and serve over the steaks.
- Don't forget to garnish with some parsley for that finishing touch!
That's it. It's that easy. And it was as good as any Steak au Poivre I've ever had, including Raoul's.
* Check out my post, the Secret to Great Sauces is Demi Glace, to learn more about demi-glace, what it is, how to make it at home, and where to buy restaurant-quality demi glace.
** IMPORTANT TIP - "Never cook with any wine you wouldn't drink. Why ruin a great meal with a cheap bottle of wine?"