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Cooking the perfect steak

Steak Au Poivre

A French Bistro classic, Steak au Poivre, peppered steak in a creamy, peppery Cognac sauce.
Course Main
Cuisine French
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 2
Author Johan Johansen


  • Two steaks of your own choosing. Tenderloin is traditional rib eye works well
  • A splash of olive oil
  • A knob of butter
  • Plenty of coarse salt
  • Plenty of whole black pepper
  • Two tablespoons of brined green Madagascar peppercorns, drained
  • One tablespoon of dijon mustard
  • 200 milliliters of heavy cream
  • 100 milliliters of quality beef stock
  • 50 milliliters of Cognac something you wouldn't mind drinking, but not top shelf stuff


  1. Thirty minutes prior to cooking, remove steaks from the fridge, sprinkle generously with salt on both sides and let sit at room temperature until ready to cook.
  2. In a pestle and mortar carefully and coarsely crack a handful or so of pepper corns.
  3. Spread cracked pepper evenly on a plate and place the steaks on top, turn the steaks a few times until well, thoroughly and evenly crusted with pepper.
  4. Heat a cast iron skillet over high, but not too high heat for a good few minutes.
  5. Add olive oil to pan, oil should spread out and start shimmering pretty much immediately upon contact, when this happens, add butter and wait for it to melt and foam up.
  6. Add pepper crusted steaks and cook to desired doneness, I suggest medium rare to medium, anything more than that would be a crying shame. Flip steaks once or multiple times during cooking as you see fit. Remember, you're the boss here.
  7. When steaks have reached their desired doneness, turn down heat to low, evacuate steaks to a plate, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest.
  8. Add cognac to pan, it will his and start evaporating immediately upon contact. That's the alcohol and water evaporating. If you're a real show off, you can put a flame to the fumes and enjoy the fireworks. Be careful if you do, though.
  9. Add beef stock to pan, using a wooden spoon or spatula, carefully start scraping the bottom of the pan to release any caramelized bits of flavor into the sauce to be.
  10. Add the dijon mustard and stir, then add the cream, stir again to combine and slowly bring the sauce to a boil.
  11. Let sauce boil for a few minutes until a desired consistency has been achieved.
  12. Lastly stir in the green pepper corns along with any juices from the now well-rested steaks.
  13. Plate steaks up and serve with plenty of sauce, a side of roasted potatoes or fries and maybe some Parma ham wrapped green asparagus.