Steak Au Poivre – The Classic French Recipe (2024)

By William Turner on May 17, 2012( 1 )

Steak Au Poivre

This is the eighth in our series of French classics. We will do 12 in total and then move to Italia. Previous posts were:

You really need to go back and try some of these before proceeding onward. They are the great dishes that everyone needs to be able to make. These are the dishes that will give you something to talk about and make you a true Bravado chef.

Now we turn our attention to Steak Au Poivre, which you and your fans will love. The ingredients are simple – meat, peppercorns and a little butter, onion and beef stock – and, of course, some Cognac. The result is a perfectly elegant dish. Serve it with Pommes Anna and the crowd will go wild.

Don’t confuse the French pepper steaks with the imposters, which are often served with strange cuts of beef that have been sliced, diced, stewed or fried and dumped over rice. The French classic only uses a good tenderloin, either N.Y. strip or filet mignon style. You can also forget the outdoor grill – this dish is done on the stovetop.

Why Pepper is Great For You:

“Black pepper (Piper nigrum) stimulates the taste buds in such a way that an alert is sent to the stomach to increase hydrochloric acid secretion, thereby improving digestion. Hydrochloric acid is necessary for the digestion of proteins and other food components in the stomach. When the body’s production of hydrochloric acid is insufficient, food may sit in the stomach for an extended period of time, leading to heartburn or indigestion, or it may pass into the intestines, where it can be used as a food source for unfriendly gut bacteria, whose activities produce gas, irritation, and/or diarrhea or constipation.

Black pepper has demonstrated impressive antioxidant and antibacterial effects–yet another way in which this wonderful seasoning promotes the health of the digestive tract. And not only does black pepper help you derive the most benefit from your food, the outer layer of the peppercorn stimulates the breakdown of fat cells, keeping you slim while giving you energy to burn.” (

In terms of timing, you need to crack the peppercorns and rub them into the meat about one or two hours before cooking. This is important so the meat absorbs the oils from the peppercorns. Once that is done, this dish is quick to make and can easily be prepared in front of your guests. Or, even better, make the guests do the cooking.

Our recipe basically follows Julia Child’s version with a few Bravado improvements.

Time Required: 20 minutes cooking time

Bravado Level of Difficulty: 3.0

Servings: 6


6 small tenderloin filets or three tenderloin strip steaks cut in half, about 1” thick, all well trimmed of fat

4 tbsp. whole peppercorns

1 tbsp. olive oil

6 tbsp. butter

3 tbsp. shallots or onion, chopped fine

½ cup Cognac

½ cup beef stock



  1. Put the peppercorns on a large cutting board, evenly spread out, and cover with a layer of paper towel. Using the flat side of a meat pounder or other mallet, beat the peppercorns until they are all cracked. If you get the right rhythm, you will get most of them to break into two to four pieces. Don’t completely crush them. Gently remove the paper towel.
  2. Pat the meat dry with the same paper towel and then put the pieces of the meat on top of the peppercorns and press down hard. Turn the meat over and repeat. Pat the peppercorns into the meat making sure you have used all of them. Cover with wax paper for 1-2 hours.

    Pressing the Peppercorns

  3. When ready to prepare, heat 2 tbsp. of butter and 1 tbsp. of olive oil over medium high heat. Gently put the meat in the pan so as not to drop any peppercorns and sear both sides for 2 minutes. Salt each side as it cooks. Transfer to a warm plate and cover with foil. You should have a wonderful crust of peppercorns.

    Starting the Sauce

  4. Melt 1 tbsp. of butter in the pan and add the shallots. Sauté about 2 minutes and then add the beef stock. Using a spatula, scrape the pan to deglaze and reduce the beef stock to about half – about 4 minutes. Add the Cognac and reduce another two minutes.
  5. Turn off the heat and mix in the remaining butter. Add a pinch of salt, stir and pour the sauce over the meat. Serve immediately, spooning additional sauce with each serving.

Whatever else is being served should be prepared before you start to cook the meat. This dish should not be allowed to get cold. Try Pommes Anna – it is a great accompaniment.

Pommes Anna

I know we all like to put steaks “on the barbie” when the weather gets warm, but control the urge and try this great classic.

Pommes Anna – A French Classic from the Time of NapoleonIII

The Cupcake – Definitely an AmericanClassic

Categories: Classic Beef/Lamb Dishes, Classic French Dishes, Classic Recipes by Type

Steak Au Poivre – The Classic French Recipe (2024)


What is steak au poivre in French? ›

Steak au poivre (French pronunciation: [stɛk‿o pwavʁ], Quebec French pronunciation: [stei̯k‿o pwɑːvʁ]) or pepper steak is a French dish that consists of a steak, traditionally a filet mignon, coated with coarsely cracked peppercorns.

What is au poivre sauce made of? ›

This rich French sauce made of pepper, Cognac, and cream is traditionally served on steak, but it's equally good on pork or salmon. Instead of cream, this version is given body and richness with cornstarch-thickened evaporated milk.

What is the difference between steak diane and steak au poivre? ›

What's the difference Between Steak Diane and Steak au Poivre? “Au poivre” is French for pepper and indicates a pan sauce for steak that uses shallots, liquor (Cognac or dry sherry), cream, and copious amounts of coarsely cracked pepper in the sauce. Steak Diane often contains mushrooms and lots less pepper.

What can I use instead of cognac in au poivre sauce? ›

What you'll need. I take a couple of small liberties here, which doesn't mean this recipe isn't classic. I don't want to go out and buy Cognac just to make this dish, so I use Bourbon which is a fine substitute for the more traditional Cognac that is used in Steak Au Poivre.

How do you get peppercorn to stick to steak? ›

Pre-salting the steaks seasons them well while allowing the surface of the meat to dry out so that the peppercorns can stick better. Encrusting the steaks on only one side allows you to sear the meat better and build up better flavor for the pan sauce.

What wine goes with steak au poivre? ›

Recommended pairing: 2019 Urluberlu Syrah. This juicy French red has peppery notes that perfectly match the seasoning, with moderate tannins that stand up to the meat's equally rich flavor.

What does au poivre mean in French? ›

[ oh pwa-vruh ] show ipa. adjectiveFrench Cooking. spiced with peppercorns or ground black pepper: steak au poivre.

Who invented steak au poivre? ›

Like most classic dishes, steak au poivre has as many versions as there are colors in a jumbo box of crayons. Food historians think that the dish originated in the Normandy region of France in the 19th century.

What does steak au poivre taste like? ›

Steak au Poivre is a classic French dish of pepper-crusted steak with a cognac and cream pan sauce. A crust of coarse, freshly ground pepper provides a zingy counterpoint to the beef, with the cream sauce adding sweetness and depth.

What steak is the king of steaks? ›

Often referred to as “the king of steaks”, the Porterhouse is actually two steaks in one. One side of the bone yields a succulent and tender tenderloin, while the other side yields a flavourful striploin. Porterhouse steaks are famous for their size.

What is Lady Mignon steak? ›

It is usually cut in 8- or 10-ounce portions and is considered a “lady's choice.” The cut comes from the tenderloin, the most tender muscle of the animal, which runs along the spine of a steer. Smaller portions cut at the end are called mignon, or “small” in French.

What is the toughest steak to cook? ›

With the cow, the short loin, rib, and sirloin are more tender than cuts from the belly. The chuck, round, brisket, and shank are tougher yet.

What is a substitute for alcohol in Steak au Poivre? ›

Substitutions: You can swap sherry, white wine, or whiskey for the Cognac or brandy. Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

How do the French cook steak? ›

In a large skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium-high heat. Add the steaks and cook, turning as needed, to the desired doneness (10-12 minutes for medium-rare). Reduce heat as necessary if the meat browns too quickly. Transfer the steaks to a platter and cover with foil to keep warm.

What makes cognac taste better? ›


Adding a drop of water will reveal more fruity, floral, and spicy aromas, making the tasting experience smoother.

Why is it called steak au poivre? ›

French chefs simplified the dish after the turn of the century, calling it “steak au poivre†for the first time. Venison steak was replaced with crushed peppercorn-encrusted beef, which was pan seared and served with a brandy, butter, and (sometimes) cream-based sauce.

What is steak au poivre made of? ›

Whether you're looking to impress, or simply making a delicious meal for your family, Steak au Poivre is a go-to! My tried and true recipe combines strip steaks coated in peppercorns and seared until medium-rare, then smothered in a creamy cognac sauce and rivals that of the best steakhouses.

What is the meaning of the French word poivre? ›

noun. pepper [noun] the dried, powdered berries of a certain plant, used for seasoning food.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Edmund Hettinger DC

Last Updated:

Views: 6126

Rating: 4.8 / 5 (58 voted)

Reviews: 89% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Edmund Hettinger DC

Birthday: 1994-08-17

Address: 2033 Gerhold Pine, Port Jocelyn, VA 12101-5654

Phone: +8524399971620

Job: Central Manufacturing Supervisor

Hobby: Jogging, Metalworking, Tai chi, Shopping, Puzzles, Rock climbing, Crocheting

Introduction: My name is Edmund Hettinger DC, I am a adventurous, colorful, gifted, determined, precious, open, colorful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.