Chris Stack of Buenes Aires submitted this recipe to Seduction Meals just in time to make the Valentine's Day list and we are grateful! With a sassy peppery cream sauce and a good tease of brandy flavor we think Steak au Poivre is a perfect choice for your Valentine's romantic meal for two.
Chris served his meal with fresh spinach sauted in minced garlic and olive oil. This can also be served with homemade french fries or potatoes au gratin and sauteed mushrooms if you like. You can start your evening with our favorite Crab Cakes with Spicy Remoulade and then move on to the Steak and your favorite red wine. A great ending would be a glass of vintage port and truffles from Romanicos.
steak au poivre
2 strip steaks, 1 inch thick, trimmed of exterior gristle
salt. to taste
1 - 2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns, crushed (you can use mixed peppercorns too)
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1 medium shallot, minced
1 cup of low-sodium beef broth
3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup of heavy cream
1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp brandy
1 teaspoon juice of lemon or champagne vinegar
salt to taste
mise en place
To save time, crush the peppercorns and trim the steaks while the broth mixture simmers. Place the peppercorns between two sheets of wax paper and crush the whole peppercorns with a saute pan or the back side of a wide carving knife. Mince shallots, measure out the beef and chicken broth, same for the heavy cream, brandy and the lemon juice or vinegar.
Take the steaks out 1 hour before serving the meal - steaks are best when cooked at room temperature. Sprinkle both sides of steak with salt. With the flat side of a carving knife, pound 1 tablespoon of crushed peppercorns into 1 side of each steak. Set aside.
the sauce - part 1
Heat 1 tbsp of the butter in a heavy bottom skillet over medium heat. When the foaming subsides, add the shallot and cook, stirring occassionally, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the beef and chicken broths, increase heat to high, and boil until reduced to about 1/2 cup--about 8 minutes. Set the reduced broth mixture aside in a bowl.
In the same skillet, heat up the skillet over medium heat until hot. Lay the steaks unpeppered-side down in the hot skillet, increase the heat to medium-high, firmly pressing down on the steaks with a firm spatula, until well browned on this side (about 6 minutes). Using tongs, flip the steak, again firmly pressing down to brown this side - 3 minutes for rare, 4 for medium rare, and 5 for medium. Transfer the steaks to a large plate and cover with aluminum foil.
the sauce - part 2
Pour the reduced broth, cream, and 1/4 cup of brandy into the now empty skillet. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil, scraping the pan bottom with a wooden spoon to loosen the brown bits. Simmer until a golden brown and thick enought to heavily coat the back of a metal tablespoon--about 5 minutes. Off the heat, whisk in the remaining 3 tbsp of butter, one piece at a time, the remaining 1 tbsp of brandy, the lemon juice, and any accumulated meat juices. Salt to taste.
plating the dish
Set the steaks on individual plates, spoon an equal portion of the sauce over each steak. Serve remaining sauce in a sauce boat. Serve with your favorite side dish and a special bottle of red wine.