Classic French Steak au Poivre

A plate of steak au poivre with fries

Danilo Alfaro

Ratings (9)
  • Total: 30 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 20 mins
  • Yield: 4 servings

Steak au poivre (pronounced "oh-PWAHV") is a classic French steak recipe that features a perfectly cooked steak crusted with cracked peppercorns and served with a rich, creamy sauce flavored with cognac or brandy.

Cognac, to be sure, is the traditional ingredient since steak au poivre is a French recipe and cognac is a type of brandy made in France. So to be truly authentic, use cognac. Any good quality brandy will also work.

Ingredients

  • 4 (8-ounce) boneless strip steaks (or ribeye steaks, about 1 1/2 inches thick)
  • Kosher salt (to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 4 tablespoons butter (divided)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup cognac (or brandy)
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Let the steaks sit out at room temperature for 30 minutes before you start to cook.

  3. Preheat your oven to 450 F.

  4. Crack the peppercorns in a mortar and pestle or by crushing them in a metal skillet with the bottom of another heavy pot or pan. Transfer the crushed peppercorns to a plate or sheet pan.

  5. Season the steaks with Kosher salt and then press the steaks into the cracked peppercorns. Make sure to coat both sides of the steaks.

  6. Heat a wide oven-safe pan over medium-high heat, then add the oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter. Swirl it around to combine, then add the steaks.

  7. Brown them for about two minutes on each side.

  8. Transfer the pan to the oven for another 4 to 5 minutes.

  9. Remove the pan from the oven, transfer the steaks to a plate, tent them with foil and let them rest for 5 to 6 minutes while you make the sauce.

  10. Pour out all but about 1 tablespoon of the fat in the pan, then put the pan back on the stove but don't turn on the heat yet.

  11. Add the cognac or brandy and scrape the flavorful bits off the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.

  12. Add the cream and stir to combine.

  13. NOW turn the heat back on to medium-high and bring the sauce to a boil.

  14. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook for about 5 to 6 minutes or until it has reduced by about half.

  15. Stir in the remaining butter and season to taste with Kosher salt.

  16. Serve the sauce over the steaks right away.

  17. Enjoy!

Kitchen Notes

You could also use tenderloin steaks for this recipe (they should be about 1 1/2 inches thick and have plenty of marbling), or even flank steak, which is very flavorful but cooks a little faster since it isn't as thick. Be sure to slice it against the grain.