This Steak Au Poivre is a French bistro classic that is perfect for a special occasion, but it's excellent for a quick and easy weeknight dinner too. Using the reverse sear technique for cooking the steak ensures it's perfect every time. And the rich creamy au poivre sauce is packed with flavor!
Why this Recipe Works
This classic steak au poivre is French comfort food at its best. With the flavorful pepper crusted steak and a rich creamy sauce, this dish is packed with flavor. And to cook the steak, I use my favorite technique, the reverse sear, which is the easiest way to ensure a perfectly cooked steak.
It's a dish that will impress on a special occasion, but it's also perfect for a quick and easy weeknight meal that is full of flavor!
What Cut of Steak to Use
Steak au poivre is delicious using just about any cut of steak, but is often served on leaner cuts like filet mignon since the sauce is quite rich. New York strip or top sirloin are other great options.
What is a Reverse Sear?
With most methods of cooking meat, you cook at the same temperature the whole time or start at high heat and then reduce the heat to a lower temperature. But with a reverse sear, you start at a low temperature and then finish off the meat by searing the outside to create a flavorful crust.
This helps to create a much more evenly cooked steak with near edge-to-edge doneness. Basically, it's an easy way to ensure you get a perfectly cooked steak every time!
For more details on the science of the reverse sear, check out this post on Serious Eats.
It's also a perfect technique for this recipe since it allows you to shorten the cooking time in the cast iron pan, so you don't have to worry too much about burning the peppercorn crust.
You won't get as much of the flavorful browned fond in the pan as you would cooking the steak entirely in the pan, but with the addition of a little beef stock and adding back the juices from the resting steaks, you won't notice the difference.
For another great reverse-seared steak recipe, check out my Perfect Reverse Sear Steak!
How to Reverse Sear a Steak
- Preheat your oven to 250ºF.
- Season the steaks with kosher salt. Add the peppercorns to a plastic bag and crush with a kitchen mallet or heavy skillet, then spread them evenly on plate. Press the steak into peppercorns to coat both sides. Repeat with remaining steaks
- Set your steaks on a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet and place in the oven. Remove the steaks when they are about 10 degrees from the final temperature you want. For medium rare I take mine out around 115ºF.
- Let the steaks rest for around 10 minutes. Then heat a cast iron skillet (carbon steel works great too) on high heat and add a tablespoon of vegetable oil or other high temp cooking oil. When the oil just begins to smoke, add the steak and searon all sides for around 30 to 60 seconds to finish the cooking.
- Remove the steaks and tent with foil and let rest while preparing the sauce.
Ingredients for Au Poivre Sauce
- Cracked Black Pepper - you'll need to use whole peppercorns for this dish. Place them in a plastic bag and smash them with a kitchen mallet to break them up. You want large, coarse pieces, so don't get too carried away!
- Heavy Cream
- Beef Stock
- Cognac - This is a French sauce after all!
How to Make Au Poivre Sauce
- After cooking your steak do not clean out the pan. Remove it from the heat and carefully add the cognac as it may ignite. If it doesn't ignite itself, you may want to light it with a long lighter to allow the alcohol to burn off.
- Return the pan to the heat and scrape up any brown bits from the pan. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the cognac is reduced by about half.
- Add the cream, beef stock, and 2 tablespoons of butter along with any juices that have accumulated on the plate of steaks.
- Bring to a low simmer and stir frequently until the sauce has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Then spoon over your steaks and serve.
Frequently Asked Questions
The sauces are similar, with both using cream and cognac, but Steak Diane includes mustard and Worcestershire Sauce for a more savory flavor.
Steak Au Poivre means pepper steak, referring to the coarse pepper crust on the steak.
Steak Au Poivre
- 4 8 oz filet mignon , or steak of your choice
- 3 tbsp whole peppercorns
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 4 tbsp butter, divided
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup beef stock
- ⅓ cup cognac
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
- Season steak with Kosher salt. Place the peppercorns in a plastic bag, then crush with kitchen mallet or heavy skillet and spread evenly on plate.
- Press a steak into the peppercorns to coat on the top and bottom sides. Repeat with the remaining steaks
- Set the steaks on a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet and place in the oven until steak reaches 115 degrees for medium rare, then remove from oven, around 20-25 minutes.
- Heat cast iron skillet over medium-high heat then add the oil. When the oil just begins to smoke add 2 tbsp butter and the steaks and sear for approx 30-60 seconds on each side being careful not to burn peppercorn crust
- Remove skillet from heat then transfer the steaks to a plate, tent with foil, and set aside.
- Add the cognac to the skillet then return to heat (be careful it may ignite). Scrape up any brown bits from the pan and allow the cognac to reduce by half (about 2-3 minutes).
- Add the cream, beef stock, 2 tbsp butter, and any juices that have accumulated from the resting steaks and stir frequently. Cook for 4-5 minutes until slightly thickened and the sauce coats back of spoon. Season with salt to taste.
- Plate steaks and top with the au poivre sauce then serve.
* All nutrition information we provide are estimates based on third party calculators. We encourage you to calculate these on your own for accurate results.