Steak au Poivre Recipe

by Anne Maxfield on March 30, 2017

Accidental Locavore Peppercorns for Steak au PoivreUntil fairly recently, steak au poivre was one of those dishes I never understood.

Too many peppercorns, disguising one of my favorite flavors – steak.

Then in Nice, I had an attitude-changing steak au poivre.

A perfect amount of peppercorns, cognac and cream.

Enhancing, rather than masking the essential steak flavor.

Accidental Locavore French Steak au PoivreIn the mood to recreate it I tried to find a simple recipe. Since Alton Brown is usually unbelievably obsessive, his recipe looked like what I was longing for. Serves 4:

Steak au Poivre Recipe

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

Accidental Locavore Peppercorns on Steak au PoivreRemove the steaks from the refrigerator and let come to room temperature.

Sprinkle all sides with salt.

Coarsely crush the peppercorns with a mortar and pestle, or the bottom of a cast iron skillet.

Spread the peppercorns evenly onto a plate. Press the steaks into the pepper until it coats all the surfaces. 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, 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.

Remove the pan from the heat, add 1/3 cup Cognac to the pan and very 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 tablespoon of Cognac, taste and adjust the seasonings. Add the steaks back to the pan, spoon the sauce over, serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore My Steak au PoivreMy verdict: First of all, be very careful when you’re setting any alcohol on fire (and always hold the pan away from yourself)!! Even though I was really paying attention, the height of the flames was a little scary.

We had a mystery steak in the freezer that I used for this. Something local and not Skittle-fed. I’m not terribly fond of tenderloin and the French generally use entrecôte which is sort of similar to a strip steak. In other word, while it wasn’t the best steak, it wasn’t the steak’s fault.

Because I wasn’t sure what it was, I coated it with the crushed peppercorns—some good ones I had brought back from France and cooked it sous-vide (125° for 90 minutes if you’re interested). Perfectly cooked.

The sauce was another story. I’m not sure what the problem was. I used good ingredients (and followed the recipe) but it was pretty ho-hum. Certainly nowhere near life-changing!

Do you have a good recipe for steak au poivre, or any suggestions?






What to do With London Broil?

by Anne Maxfield on May 8, 2014

Accidental Locavore London BroilLooking for any excuse to grill last weekend, the Accidental Locavore found a pile of London broil in the freezer from our beef share from Brykill Farms. I found this recipe on the Food Republic site and went to work. Having some red wine left over from dinner was helpful-otherwise just open what you’ll drink with the steak. This is pretty easy; just leave time for the meat to marinate.


For the London Broil:

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced, or run through a garlic press
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 to 2 1/2 pounds London Broil or flank steak

For the Horseradish Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup prepared, horseradish
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh chives

For the London Broil:

Mix together all the ingredients except the meat. Place the meat and the marinade in a Ziploc bag and refrigerate for at least 4 hours but no more than 24 hours.
Remove the meat from the refrigerator and bring it to room temperature before cooking.
Preheat a grill to high, oil the grate, and set it 5 to 6 inches above the coals.
Remove the meat from the marinade (discard the marinade) and pat it dry with paper towels.
Grill on each side for 6 minutes for rare or 7 to 9 minutes for medium-rare.
Transfer to a carving board and let stand for 8 to 10 minutes. Slice the meat across the grain and serve with the horseradish sauce.

To make the horseradish sauce:

Whisk all the ingredients together until smooth and creamy and put in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours to allow the flavors to meld. Serve in a ramekin beside the meat.

My verdict: This was really good. Although I often reach for some leftover wine to deglaze a pan, I never usually think to use wine when throwing a marinade together. The wine and the balsamic vinegar help to tenderize the meat. The taste of the garlic really comes through, so if you’re not a big fan, you might want to keep it to a couple of small cloves. We had a really big piece of steak, so Frank went to work the next day, making his version of Philly cheese steaks, with pepper jack, caramelized onions and some of the horseradish sauce. They were also great and would be a good excuse to break out another hunk of meat! When I make horseradish sauce, it’s usually just sour cream, mustard and horseradish. I liked the addition of the wine and cider vinegar, but I cheated and used Greek yogurt instead of the sour cream (and saved myself a trip to the market).




French Food Classics

by Anne Maxfield on April 21, 2014

Accidental Locavore Soup de PoissonsAs would be expected, some classics are better than others, but maybe they become classics because it’s hard to mess them up. Case in point, a couple of meals the Accidental Locavore had in Nice.

The first was in a rather touristy restaurant, slightly off the beaten track, in the old city, where I was pleased to see soupe de poisson on the menu. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s the broth part of bouillabaisse. Like bouillabaisse, one of my favorite things about soupe de poissons is the aïoli and toasts, which combined, make delicious rafts to float in the soup. Sorry to say, but as long as the aioli and bread are decent, they usually distract me from the quality of the soup (which in this case was pretty good).

Same for that old French classic, steak frites. If you can wrap your brain around the fact that French steaks are not the big slabs of beef found in any US steakhouse, you can, like I did, just sit back and enjoy a perfect lunch-sized hunk of meat, cooked to perfection, accompanied by golden cubes of fried potatoes (less calories according to Frank, because you “don’t eat the whole long thing-it’s not finger food so you just don’t keep reaching in”) and a sublime béarnaise sauce, that reminds you how good a well-made béarnaise can be.

Accidental Locavore French food steak au poivreSteak au poivre is something I always try to avoid-my theory being why ruin a good piece of steak by drowning it in peppercorns. Throwing myself at the whims of Virginie, the owner of Le Victor Hugo, had it making an appearance on my plate recently; however, this was not anywhere near what you would think of as steak ruined by pepper. It was a nicely sized piece of steak, covered in a thick sauce. Think butter, crème fraiche, cognac, and of course, peppercorns, married together in the best way possible, the flavor enhanced by the juices from the steak. Not only will I always be holding that up as the standard, I may have to cruise (and channel) Julia Child, for a recipe that will hold me until my next trip to Nice!

Accidental Locavore Chocolate LiegeoisThe last thing that has been on my “classics” radar recently, is mousse au chocolate. Not to be confused with its pallid American cousin-chocolate pudding-mousse, when well-made, is smooth, dark and dreamy. My friend Dave, has been teaching his sons to make chocolate mousse, because he believes it’s the one true way he’ll easily marry them off. If they add a little homemade caramel sauce to pour on top of it (like the one we had the other night), he’ll only have to worry about them marrying before they turn 15…




Ideas for Dry Chimichurri Rub

by Anne Maxfield on December 13, 2012

Accidental Locavore Lamb With RubIf you’re wondering what to do with the dry chimichurri rub, here are a few ideas:

  •       Rub all over tri-tip before roasting
  •       Sprinkle over halibut fillets before pan-searing
  •       Make a marinade for roast chicken by whisking 1/4 cup rub with 1/2 cup olive oil and 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar.
  •       Toss chunks of potatoes in olive oil, sprinkle with the rub and roast at 450°
  •       Add to your favorite vinaigrette and give your salad a kick!
  •       Toss with vegetables before steaming or roasting
  •       Sprinkle a teaspoon in rice when cooking it.
  •       Go classic, and rub into a steak before grilling

The Accidental Locavore used it on a rack of lamb. I let it marinate for a couple of hours, seared it off in my cast iron skillet and finished it in a 375° oven until it was medium-rare (about 15 minutes). I sprinkled the finished rack with lemon and some Maldon salt-it was delicious!

We’d love to hear what you did with it. Let us know in the comments below. Happy Holidays to All!




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