Steak Au Poivre Recipe by Julia Child
  1. Let steaks sit out of the refrigerator for about 1 hour to come up to room temperature. Dry the steaks thoroughly on paper towels. (Julia points out that this step is very important because if the steaks are wet at all, they will not brown.)
  2. Rub and press the crushed peppercorns into both sides of the meat with your fingers and the palms of your hands. Cover with wax paper. Let stand for about a half hour so the flavor of the pepper will penetrate the meat.
  3. Heat the oil in an iron or non-stick skillet over medium high heat until it nearly starts to smoke.
  4. Sear the steaks on one side for 3-4 minutes, and regulate the heat so the fat is always very hot but not burning. Flip & sear on the other side for 3-4 minutes.
  5. According to Julia, “The steak is done to a medium rare the moment you observe a little pearling of red juice beginning to ooze at the surface of the steak. Another test is to press the steak with your finger; it is medium rare when it just begins to take on a suggestion of resistance and spring in contrast to its soft raw state. If you have any doubts at all, cut a small incision in the steak.”
  6. Remove the steaks to a hot platter and season it quickly with salt and additional pepper, to taste. Keep warm while completing the sauce.
  7. Pour any fat or oil left behind out of the skillet. Add the butter and shallots and cook slowly for a minute. Pour in the stock and boil down rapidly over high heat while scraping up the coagulated cooking juices.
  8. Then add the cognac and boil rapidly for a minute or two more to evaporate its alcohol.
  9. Off heat, whisk in half-and-half slowly.
  10. Serve immediately over the steaks. Julia suggests serving the steaks with fresh watercress and sautéed or fried potatoes.


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