Steak Au Poivre

Pepper Steak

Steak au Poivre is traditionally made with filet mignon, but we prefer a NY Strip or, pictured here, a boneless ribeye. Mushrooms are not a traditional ingredient, but if you have them, throwing a few into the sauce will make the dish otherworldly. Simple accompaniments are the best to complement the sauce's richness. Some steamed asparagus spears or green beans, some plain egg noodles, or rice to soak up some of the sauce. Adapted from Michael Ruhlman's recipe in 'From Scratch.'
2 12-ounce boneless ribeye or NY strip steaks, 1 to 1.5 inches thick, trimmed of excess fat and gristle, then halved crosswise to make four steaks
Kosher salt to taste +
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided use
2 cups sliced white mushrooms
2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup finely minced shallots (can substitute onion)
1/2 cup cognac
1 cup heavy cream
2 sprigs thyme
1 Sprinkle salt on all sides of the steaks. (This can be done ahead - wrap the steaks with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to ten hours. Make sure to bring to room temperature for an hour or so before cooking.)

2 Crush the peppercorns with a mortar and pestle, or use the bottom of a heavy pan.

3 Press pepper into both sides of the steaks.

4 Place an ovenproof plate in the oven and heat to 200°F.

5 Place a skillet large enough to hold the steaks (preferably cast iron) over medium-high heat. Melt half the butter, then add mushrooms. Toss the mushrooms, so they are coated, then let cook, undisturbed, for a few minutes until they begin to take on some color. Toss a few more times until cooked (not browned), then remove to a bowl.

6 Turn off the oven.

7 In the same skillet, heat the oil over high heat. When it's smoking hot, add the steaks. Press down hard to give them a good sear and to press the pepper into the meat. Turn them after 3 to 4 minutes or as you wish (depends on how thick they are, the heat of your pan, how you like your steak). Add the remaining butter and continue cooking, basting the steaks occasionally.

8 When they're medium-rare (125°F/52°C using an instant-read thermometer) or offer only mild resistance to an index finger pressed into the meat, transfer them to the plate in the warm oven.

9 Add the shallots to the pan and cook them over medium-high heat until tender, a minute or so.

10 Add the cognac and cook until reduced to a few tablespoons.

11 Add the cream and thyme sprigs and reduce the sauce by almost half. Next, add the mushrooms, give them a stir, then remove thyme sprigs.

12 Serve the steaks, spooning the sauce over them. Garnish with thyme sprigs, if desired.

servings  use metric
original recipe yield: 4 Servings

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