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. They complement the richness of the sauce - 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, and more for garnish if desired
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 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 2 tablespoons of 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 how thick they are, the heat of your pan, how you like your steak). Add the 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 2 thyme sprigs and reduce the sauce by almost half. 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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