I do love the French! I know most people (Americans) don’t have much good to say about the French, however when I was in Europe we met the nicest and most helpful people in
I don’t do too many French dishes, mainly because of the old joke; “what are the three main ingredients in French cooking? Butter…butter…butter!”
Although every once in a while a nice French inspired dinner is welcome. I’ve had Steak au Poivre (ow-pwav) not only in French restaurants but also had to try it when I was in
Fond is the leftover juices and bits that are left in the skillet after you cook the meat. A good fond is what makes a great sauce!
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (I used white truffle butter for additional flavor)
1 medium shallot, minced
1 cup beef broth (I used stock, didn’t go as well. I had a hard time reducing)
3/4 cup chicken broth (Same note as above)
1/4 cup heavy cream (organic!)
1/4 cup brandy (you see I did use VSOP for a little better flavor)
1 tsp champagne vinegar (this is expensive, so if you want use lemon juice)
4 steaks (I used sirloin but would have rather used strip, mine were about 6-8oz)
1 tbsp crushed black peppercorns (I used coarse ground and that was a mistake)
Second slightly smaller pan
Then add the broths, crank the heat to high, and keep it boiling until it’s reduced to 1/2 cup should be about 8 minutes for this part.
After that’s reduced pour the sauce base into a container for later and wipe out the skillet.
For the steaks you want to start by hitting both sides with salt. Then rub one side of each steak with about 1 teaspoon crushed peppercorns, use the heal of your hand to press peppercorns into steaks that will make them adhere better. (again I used coarse ground pepper and it was not a good idea, the steaks were a little too peppery for me, stick with the peppercorns)
Put the skillet back on the burner over medium heat until it gets hot, 4 minutes is a safe point. Then add the steaks with the unpeppered-side down. When you have added all the steaks crank up the heat to medium-high.
Here is the little secret; press down firm on steaks with bottom of that second skillet I had you grab! Resist all urge to move the steaks! We want them well browned and crusted, which should be about 6 minutes.
Use the tongs and flip the steaks. Again do the same thing with the skillet as before, figure about 4 minutes longer for a medium-rare. (5 if you want medium)
Transfer steaks to plate and loosely place aluminum foil over them to keep warm.
DO NOT CLEAN THE SKILLET!!!! Remember we need the Fond!
Now let’s finish the sauce! Pour the reduced broth back in the skillet, also add the cream, and brandy. Increase the heat to high and bring it all to a boil.
As it comes to a boil start scraping the bottom of the skillet with wooden spoon to break up the fond. When you have most of the fond up gently whisk it to incorporate it into the sauce.
Keep simmering until the sauce is a deep golden brown and thick enough to coat back of a spoon, this should take at least 5 minutes.
When you reach that point take it off the heat and whisk in the remaining butter and the vinegar. Taste it and add salt to your liking.
Then we plate it all! Put the steaks down on their serving plates and spoon the sauce over them, cut, eat and enjoy!