Even now, as I write, I'm getting misty over my "first time". Sam B's in Bowling Green used to offer it as a daily special, and one night I was out (for whatever reason) and ordered it on a lark.
It was a simple strip steak, nothing fancy, accompanied by Garlic Mashed Potatoes and sauted vegetables. The steak though, cooked slightly past rare, came crusted with gobs of pepper and drowning in a thick brandy cream sauce. It was amazing...
Up until that point, I was of the mind-set that a steak was best cooking just to medium and topped with a dollop of red wine butter. I was changed that night back in 2001. To quote Neil Armstrong, staring at the moon: "You ruined me you bitch..."
The tragedy, though, is that very few places serve anything au poivre. And most places that do serve it do JUST pepper. Pfft. What's worse was that after about a year of steady service, Sam B's yanked the Au Poivre option from their menu. And I was sad...
So I started making my own.
My preferred method is as follows:
Steak au Poivre
Meat (Both beef and pork work wonderfully)
Butter Flavored Oil
Freshly cracked peppercorns (I like the soft green peppercorns)
1/2 Cup Dry Sherry
1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
1/4 Beef Stock (Broth will do just fine)
1 T Butter (Use real butter!)
Salt & Pepper to taste
Start by rinsing off the meal and drying thoroughly.
Crush plenty of pepper to cover one side of the meat generously.
Dip the meat in the Beyond, then press the pepper into one side of the meat.
Place the meat on a plate and put it in the refridgerator.
Heat a size-appropriate skillet to medium high. The pan should be hot enough to sear the outside of the meat, and for a nice crust, but leave the meat just above rare. Pork, though, is a different subject. Make sure it's cooked, you know, all the way...
When the pan is hot, place the meat (with the slightly firmed butter\oil) in the pan pepper side down. Quickly season the unpeppered side with kosher salt and -if desired- ground pepper. Once finished, place the meat in a pan into a 200F oven to keep warm.
Turn the heat on the pan down to medium and deglaze with the sherry. Make sure to scrape up the fond (All the good bits stuck to the pan) with a wooden spoon.
Add the cream and cook for a few moments until the cream is completely mixed and starting to bubble.
Add the beef stock and simmer lightly until thick.
When the sauce is ready, toss in the butter and stir until melted.
Plate the meat and pour the sauce over it evenly.
(Yes Jeb, that was supposed to be devil horns in ASCII...)
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