My first (and only) experience with Steak Au Poivre unfolded during a birthday dinner at an upscale restaurant. The steak came out with a large, almost Fred Flinstone dinosaur looking bone sticking out of it. The flavor was unbelievable! The menu described it as prepared with blended spices and pan-seared; I tasted the prevalent flavors of peppercorns and coffee. It wasn’t my meal, but my friend was generous enough to share the wonderful steak experience with me. Yes, it was an experience. Unfortunately, the price was so steep that I do not see myself returning any time soon to order it again. It would have to be a very special occasion! So when I came across this recipe in Perfect Pairings by Evan Goldstein, I was intrigued and excited to attempt replicating the Steak Au Poivre in my own home.
This recipe would pair well with earthy, black-currant accented Cabernet Sauvignons in a Bordeaux-style.
Steak Au Poivre
4 filets of beef, each about 1 1/2 inches thick
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus salt for pan
2 or 3 tablespoons coarsely cracked black pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup brandy or cognac
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 cup heavy cream (optional)
* Rub each filet with about 1/2 teaspoon salt.
* Using the heel of your hand, press the cracked pepper onto both sides of each steak.
* Let the steaks stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes and up to an hour.
* In a small bowl, whisk the wine, brandy, mustard and Worcestershire sauce to blend.
* Sprinkle salt over the bottom of a large heavy skillet (just enough to film the bottom lightly.)
* Place over high heat.
* Add the butter and oil and heat until melted.
* Add the steaks and sear on both sides. Reduce the heat to medium and cook the steaks to the desired degree of doneness, turning once, 3 to 4 minutes per side for rare.
* Transfer the steaks to a warm platter.
* Deglaze the skillet with the wine mixture and boil until reduced by half. Whisk in the cream if a smoother sauce is desired. Spoon the sauce over the steaks and serve.
Evan Goldstein offers the following advice when pairing with this dish: “Sometimes it’s best to go with the obvious. The hearty sauce, infused with mustard, cognac and Worcestershire sauce, is earthy and powerful, providing an appropriately strong yet straightforward stage for the wine’s flavor. The black pepper neutralizes the perception of the wine’s tannins, and the bright fruit of the wine shines through to play off the meat. This dish works best with younger wines. If you’re serving a more mature bottle, you may want to cut back on the black pepper, which, in the presence of less tannin, may only serve to pop the alcohol.”
Recommended Cabernet Sauvignon Wine Producers:
Everyday: Chateau La Cardonne, Chateau Larose-Trintaudon, Chateau Camensac
Premium: Chateau Phelan-Segur, Chateau du Tertre, Kanonkop
Splurge: Chateau Cos d’Estournel, Chateau Lynch-Bages, Chateau Gruaud-Larose