Is someone coming over that you want to impress? Steak au Poivre makes for an elegant and amazingly easy dinner that comes together in no time. It’s basically steak encrusted with cracked black pepper corns and then served with a creamy pan sauce. Don’t worry about the spice level — the black pepper is tamed by the rich cream and cognac sauce, perfect to enhance the delicious flavor of the beef tenderloin.
There are many ways to crack your black pepper corns. A mortar and pestle will work but takes a little bit of elbow grease. You could also put the pepper corns in a sealed plastic bag and crush them with a rolling pin. If you have a spice grinder, a couple of pulses will do the trick nicely. Perhaps the easiest way is to use a pepper mill on the coarsest setting.
Barbecue, grill, or broil steak according to your preferred method.
Take the steaks out of the refrigerator. Sprinkle both sides liberally with kosher salt. Then press the pepper into the steaks, covering them but not using too much. Set the steaks on a rack and allow them to come to room temperature – at least a half an hour.
In a small bowl, whisk the mustard, corn starch and whipping cream together. Set aside.
Add the butter and oil to a pan on medium heat. When the butter and oil are foamy, add two steaks to the pan.
After 3 minutes, flip the steak and cook for another 3 minutes for medium rare.
Take the steaks out of the pan and put them on a plate. Cook the other two the same way.
When all steaks are removed from the pan, add the shallots. Sauté for a minute, making sure to scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
To deglaze the pan, add in the Cognac, being careful, as the Cognac could ignite. Cook for 2 minutes. Whisk in the cream mixture until it begins to bubble and thicken.
Taste and add more salt if necessary.
Turn the heat off and return all the steaks to the pan, spooning the sauce over the steaks.
Serve steaks alongside a lightly dressed green salad with a loaf of warm, crusty French bread.
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