Monday, August 18, 2008

Filet Mignon Au Poivre

Filet Mignon Au Poivre - steak with pepper, peppered steak

I have had this dish in restaurants several times, and have seen a few different preparations. Some have featured pepper encrusted steak with a dark brown pan sauce, some have come without sauce (my least favorite), and others a creamy-peppery sauce.

I browsed recipes online until I came across
this one on the Epicurious web site. As soon as I read that it was a recipe that has been Gourmet Magazine's go-to recipe since 1953, I knew it was the one I had to try.

Ingredients (I cut this in half)

  • 4 (3/4- to 1-inch-thick) boneless beef top-loin steaks, 8 to 10 oz each (I used filet mignon)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1/2 cup Cognac or other brandy (We didn't have cognac or brandy, so after doing some research on substitutions for cooking, I used white wine)
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream


  • Preheat oven to 200°F. (Since I continued to cook the steaks in the oven, I preheated it to 400)
  • Pat steaks dry and season both sides with kosher salt.
  • Coarsely crush peppercorns in a sealed plastic bag with a meat pounder or bottom of a heavy skillet, then press pepper evenly onto both sides of steaks.
  • Heat a 12-inch heavy skillet (preferably cast-iron) over moderately high heat until hot, about 3 minutes, then add oil, swirling skillet, and sauté steaks in 2 batches, turning over once, about 6 minutes per batch for medium-rare.
  • Transfer steaks as cooked to a heatproof platter and keep warm in oven while making sauce. (I transferred the steaks to another skillet and put them in the oven to continue cooking)
  • Pour off fat from skillet, then add shallots and half of butter (2 tablespoons) to skillet and cook over moderately low heat, stirring and scraping up brown bits, until shallots are well-browned all over, 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Add Cognac (use caution; it may ignite) and boil, stirring, until liquid is reduced to a glaze, 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Add cream and any meat juices accumulated on platter and boil sauce, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half, 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter and cook over low heat, swirling skillet, until butter is incorporated.
  • Serve sauce with steaks. I served them on top of mashed Yukon Gold potatoes and with a side of roasted asparagus.

I could have eaten this sauce on its own!! It was perfectly peppery, creamy, and even sweet from the shallots. The wine we drank with dinner, Corison 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon, also had hints of pepper and was the perfect complement to the steak and sauce.

This dish was also ridiculously easy. It was so easy that I'm not sure I want to pay $35 for it in a restaurant again, and that doesn't even include sides! Filet was on sale at the market this weekend, so for about $20 I was able to make 2 steaks, the sauce, mashed Yukon Gold potatoes, and roasted asparagus.

What I liked most is that it didn't taste like an easy meal - I could definitely fool guests into thinking I spent all day in the kitchen making this one.

Now on to Monday and another work week - have a good one everyone!

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  1. Thank you for sharing this recipe, my husband made it this week and it was amazing!

  2. I really like the food from france .. I will try to make this food at home