Steak au Poivre

Total Time:
53 min
8 min
30 min
15 min

4 servings

  • 4 tenderloin steaks, 6 to 8 ounces each and no more than 1 1/2 inches thick
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons whole peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/3 cup Cognac, plus 1 teaspoon
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Remove the steaks from the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour prior to cooking. Sprinkle all sides with salt.

Coarsely crush the peppercorns with a mortar and pestle, the bottom of a cast iron skillet, or using a mallet and pie pan. Spread the peppercorns evenly onto a plate. Press the fillets, on both sides, into the pepper until it coats the surface. Set aside.

In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and olive oil. As soon as the butter and oil begin to turn golden and smoke, gently place the steaks in the pan. For medium-rare, cook for 4 minutes on each side. Once done, remove the steaks to a plate, tent with foil and set aside. Pour off the excess fat but do not wipe or scrape the pan clean.

Off of the heat, add 1/3 cup Cognac to the pan and carefully ignite the alcohol with a long match or firestick. Gently shake pan until the flames die. Return the pan to medium heat and add the cream. Bring the mixture to a boil and whisk until the sauce coats the back of a spoon, approximately 5 to 6 minutes. Add the teaspoon of Cognac and season, to taste, with salt. Add the steaks back to the pan, spoon the sauce over, and serve.

The Food Network Kitchens recommend that when igniting alcohol, use extreme caution. Remove the pan from the heat source before adding the alcohol. Pour the alcohol into the pan and ignite with a match or click lighter. Return the pan to the stove top and gently swirl to reduce the flames.

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Pairs Well With
Cabernet Sauvignon

Rich, intense red wine

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    267 Reviews
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    awesome Alton! i added onions & mushrooms sauteed in coconut oil and dried tarragon to the top of the steaks before spooning the sauce over the steaks. thanks to prior reviews i lit the brandy (didn't have cognac) on my back concrete porch which produced 2 foot high flames that completely freaked out the dogs ;)
    Modified this dish to make a chateaubriand served with fois grois on top. delicious ! Oh and I smoked the meat after searing on mesquite.
    So delicious! Went easy on the peppercorns and cooked for 4 minutes on each side - a wonderful medium rare!
    Amazing steak, hubby made it for valentine's night dinner. I can't wait for him to cook it again.
    So tasty! I love this sauce. I put it on all different cuts of steak.
    DELICIOUS!!! Made this for my husbands birthday and it was a BIG hit all around! Be careful with the flaming Cognac! I nearly burnt the house down?extremely huge flame that scared us to death! I think the key is to wait a minute or two before you ignite the pan.
    Saw the episode where he literaly tossed it together in minutes. I had everything already and never looked up the recipe...just recalled his instructions. It came out great! Now I re-read the recipe and will follow more closely to see how it compares w=to what I did (mI had more brandy and less cream).
    Since when does au poivre have heavy cream? Blech.
    I agree this is correctly made with a rich stock but heavy cream beats using bullion or canned broth.
    the kids were asking for me to make it again before they were even done eating! loved it!
    I made the steak au poivre for my husband and the same recipe but with wild Atlantic salmon for me. Mine was tasty and my husband devoured his. The sauce was incredible. Probably not the best idea on my part to cook the steak and subsequently flambé the sauce in the same cast iron skillet that we cook sausage and bacon in. It was a huge and intense fire, that almost melted the microwave. The All-Clad skillet I cooked the fish in worked wonderfully through. Overall, a great meal and I plan to make it for guests in the future! Thanks Alton!
    So great. I have made this a couple times now and the leftovers make the best sandwiches!! Easy and the steaks came out perfectly cooked. love all the pepper this review is making me hungry!
    Fantastic!!! I made this twice in one week it was so yummy! I used Brandy the first time and it was awesome and cognac the second time and again amazing. I also used a mixture of black, white, green and pink peppercorns. My guests and children loved it!
    Very good and easy to make
    Great and easy recipe to follow. The only mistake that I made was over salting the sauce. Be careful what you choose to cook with when tasking a finishing sauce (I was drinking a bloody mary, otherwise - AB has another hit in my book!
    Made this tonight and used Brandy instead of cognac 
    Absolutely fantastic. Tender and delicious. Can't wait to make this again!
    This was without a doubt on of the best steaks I've ever made!! I'd never used crushed Peppercorns before so It thought about using just pepper, but that was the key ingredient! Made the steak crunchy in addition to flavorful! I'll be making this one again, and again and again! Thanks Alton!
    Made this for Christmas eve. It was easy and fantastic.
    This recipe is AMAZING! I made it with Emeril's Herbed Frites and it was delicious! The meal was so flavorful and full of depth! Thanks Alton!
    My family begs me to make this. It is heavenly. If you don't have Cognac, Brandy works great! I serve with garlic mashed potatoes and brussel sprouts with wild mushrooms and shallots. My go to special dinner...
    Fantastic Alton. i didn't have any cognac, so I used vodka, a much more stakey flavour than I expected. five stars.
    This recipe was delicious and easy! 
    It was soooooo good! Excellent recipe!
    This is the second time I have made this sauce for steaks and both times it was that one thing that made the meal remarkable.
    Non-alcoholic version: instead of the cognac, I used watered down Worcestershire Sauce.
    As always Alton presented a detailed, almost foolproof recipe. I used a 2 1/2" thick boneless rib eye. With a steak this thick at room temp. the guidelines for final steak doneness were going to be a bit off... I know Alton is a big fan of the Thermoworks digital thermometers and was surprised that he diid not give us an internal temp. Having gone TOO far with my recent cast iron pan cooked steaks I used Alton's medium heat on a glass top electric and cooked the steaks about 5 mins. a side to an internal temp. of 110F taken dead center. Once tented and rested, I was amazed that the carry over cooking went to 125F... or rare. After slicing it was rare to medium rare and delicious. Thanks Alton!
    Outanding. I of course had to tweak it a little. I wrapped the tenderloin in bacon, seared the steaks on high heat and then transfered them to the oven to finish up. Add a little sautéed mushrooms and onions, finely chopped, to the sauce and it was magnificent!
    This just didn't really excite us. I used whiskey, maybe that's why. the steak was quite good, but I couldn't get excited about the sauce.
    Just finished dinner and my 3rd time in 2 months with this meal. My husband and I LOVE this! I used 1 1/2" filets and the 4 minutes per side is perfect for medium medium rare. I didn't change a thing the first two times, but had to substitute sherry for the cognac this time, and I wasn't disappointed. I love pepper, and even though it seems like a lot, they aren't all that hot for someone that isn't crazy for pepper so I definitely suggest to everyone....follow this recipe exactly, you will love it. Sauce is sooooo good, easy and quick, just make sure it's off the fire when you light. Served it with roasted asparagus, sprinkled of shredded parmesan and a nice Cabernet. Enjoy!
    Just finished and this was wonderful. My husband, who adds BBQ sauce or worchestershire sauce to everything didnt get up to get either! We used fillet mignon.
     The only change i made was a suggestion from the test kitchen of Cooks Illustrated. Instead of peppering both sides, i peppered only one side and cooked the peppered side first. Some recipes for au poivre i have tried have been too overpowering with pepper, so i think this only doing one side is better.
     I like this one more than Ina's recipe as i prefer a cream-based sauce. Yum! This will become a regular as well as something for company.
    Not difficult and a great recipe. Only change I have ever made was to just sear the steaks and then finish them in an oven at 400F with a timer thermometer inserted into one of them. When it beeps at 130F I take them out and finish the recipe as it says. Perfect medium rare steak everytime. Thanks Alton!
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