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Published February 12, 2021. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
Impress your friends and family with this simple to prepare classic steak au poivre recipe with a delicious cognac peppercorn cream sauce.
Steak Au Poivre
Steak au poivre, pronounce “oh-pwav,” simply means with pepper in French. This traditional recipe did not feature a sauce as we know it today. In fact, all it was, was a steak rolled in cracked peppercorns and pan-roasted. The sauce wasn’t made popular until the early 20th century, and that did not have peppercorns in it. It was a simple brandy cream sauce.
For me, I don’t like an over-peppered steak, so I prefer the pepper in the sauce, but if you want to keep it traditional, then definitely coat the steak up in it. I will definitely say this, almost every chef I know has a different version of this recipe.
What Kind of Steak to Use
Traditionally you will see filet mignon or a strip steak when making this classic recipe. However, you can use a myriad of steaks. Here are some great options for you:
- New York Strip Steak
- Filet Mignon
- Flank Steak
- Skirt Steak
How to Make It
Follow along with these simple instructions for how to make steak au poivre:
Season the steak well on both sides with salt and pepper. If wanting to make peppered steak, simply coat the steak in the peppercorns after seasoning it with salt.
Next, sear the steak to the desired internal temperature is achieved.
Rest the steak on a plate while making the sauce.
Sauté the shallots, garlic, and peppercorns in the pan until lightly browned.
Deglaze with cognac and cook until it is completely absorbed or au sec.
Add in the cream and cook until it becomes very thick. Finish with salt and parsley.
Serve the steak alongside the cream sauce.
Make-Ahead and Storage
Make-Ahead: This recipe is meant to be served as soon as it is finished cooking.
How to Reheat: This recipe does not reheat well, but if you do need to reheat it, then re-sear it in a hot pan with lightly smoked oil until warmed.
How to Store: Cover and keep in the refrigerator for 3 days. This recipe will not freeze well.
chef notes + tips
- If you want to make this recipe where the steak is coated in peppercorns, simply encrust the steak after seasoning it with salt in the peppercorns that were broken down with the pan, and then obviously, the cream sauce will not have any peppercorns. This part is up to you.
- Cognac is the better option to use over brandy, but brandy can be used.
More Steak Recipes
Steak Au Poivre Recipe
For the Steak:
- 2 12- ounce New York Strip Steaks
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 5 garlic cloves
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- sea salt and cracked pepper to taste
For the Sauce:
- 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
- 1 peeled and finely minced shallot
- 2 finely minced cloves of garlic
- 1 ½ tablespoons crushed peppercorns
- ¼ cup cognac
- 1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- sea salt to taste
- Season the steaks well with salt and pepper. If wanting to encrust the steak with peppercorns, see chef notes.
- Add the oil to a large frying pan over high heat and heat up until it begins to smoke lightly.
- Place in the steaks, turn the heat down to medium-high, add in the butter, garlic, and thyme and cook for 2-3 minutes per side for a medium-rare internal temperature.
- Remove the steaks and let rest on a plate. Drain the oil from the pan.
- Sauce: Add the butter to the pan over low to medium heat and lightly sauté the shallots, garlic, and peppercorns for a few minutes or until lightly browned.
- Deglaze with the cognac and cook until it is almost gone.
- Pour in the cream and cook over low to medium heat until it becomes very thick or nappe.
- Season with salt and parsley, and serve the sauce with the steaks.