Steak au Poivre

Steak au Poivre by

Steve Woronoff


Shopping List

  • 4 – 6 to 8 oz. tenderloin steaks about 1 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp whole peppercorns
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup Cognac
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt



  • Place the steaks on a platter and let them come to room temperature, 30 minutes to an hour.
  • Sprinkle each side with a pinch or two of kosher salt.
  • Meanwhile, using a mortar and pestle, or seasoning grinder, crush the peppercorns coarsely.
  • Spread the crushed peppercorns onto a plate.
  • Press the steaks, each side, into the peppercorns until the surface is coated and then set aside.
  • In a medium skillet, cast iron works best, over medium heat, melt the butter and olive oil.
  • When you see the first hint of smoke and the butter and oil begin to turn brown, gently place the steaks in the pan.
  • Cook 4 minutes on each side for medium rare.
  • Remove the steaks from the skillet to a plate and tent with foil.
  • Pour off the excess fat only leave all the flavor goodies in the pan.
  • While the skillet is off of the heat, add 1/3 cup Cognac to the pan and, using a lighter, carefully ignite the alcohol.
  • Place the skillet back on the stove, medium heat, and gently shake until the flames die.
  • Now add the heavy cream.
  • Bring the mixture to a gentle boil and whisk continuously until the sauce coats the back of a spoon, 5 to 6 minutes should do the trick.
  • Now, add the teaspoon of Cognac and season to taste with salt. Add the steaks back to the skillet and spoon the sauce over them and serve.

Wine pairing suggestions:

  • Barbera – An Italian wine, it is the second most planted grape in the northern region. However, the Napa Valley in California is the primary vineyards in the USA. It’s considered to be a medium body to full-bodied red wine that is lower in tannins with firm acidity and flavors suggesting red cherry and spice. When aged in an oak barrel there tend to be notes of vanilla.
  • Beaujolais – A French wine from the Beaujolais region of France is made from the Gamy grape. The wine is a light – bodied red wine with earthy and fruity notes and soft tannins. Expect to taste flavors of red fruits along with a subtle bitter note on the back finish.
  • Tempranillo – A Spanish wine, Tempranillo, from the Rioja region of Spain, is an earthy medium-bodied red wine. More complex in structure this wine has cherry flavors and is mildly spicy. Characteristically, Tempranillo is a low acid with aged in American Oak barrels with sates of blackberry, raspberry, even coffee, and tobacco. Most of the Tempranillo grapes in the USA are produced in California.