Steak Au Poivre

Here’s a steak dish that is not all about the sauce. The sauce is important, but it’s a minor player. This steak is all about the peppercorns. If you don’t like pepper, you won’t like this. And if you don’t like pepper, you’re an idiot. Seriously though, just look at this picture to see how much pepper this steak has.

Raw Steaks

Even after cooking all you see is pepper.

Cooking

The best thing to pair with this is sautéed potatoes. No recipe is needed. Just slice some potatoes, and sauté them in fat. I used duck fat. I don’t use any other kind. Try it and you’ll understand why.

Finished Meal

Steak Au Poivre

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 8-ounce steaks
  • 2 ounces olive oil
  • 2 ounces peppercorns, freshly cracked (meaning crushed but not ground to powder!)
  • 4 ounces butter
  • 1 ounce Cognac
  • 4 ounces strong, dark veal stock, (right now, you really could use a tiny bit of the demi-glace I told you to keep in your freezer)
  • salt and pepper

METHOD:

  1. COOK THE STEAKS: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Moisten the meat very slightly with oil, then dredge each of the steaks in the crushed peppercorns to thoroughly coat. Don’t be shy with the pepper. Heat the remaining oil in a skillet over high heat. Once the oil is hot, add 2 ounces of the butter. Place the steaks in the pan and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook to desired doneness, about 5 to 7 minutes for rare, 10 minutes for medium rare, and so on. Remove the pan from the oven and remove the steaks from the pan to rest. Have I told you to always rest your meat after cooking? I’ve told you now.

  2. THE SAUCE: Return the skillet to the stovetop and carefully stir in the Cognac. As much fun as it is to create a column of flame as you add flammable material to an incredibly hot pan, it’s not really desirable or necessary – especially in a home kitchen. Unless you’re a pyromaniac, I recommend carefully adding the Cognac to the still-hot pan off the flame, stirring and scrapping with the wooden spoon to get every scrape, every peppercorn, every rumor of flavor clinging to the bottom of the pan. Now place the pan on the flame again and cook it down a bit, by about half. Stir in the veal stock (and demi-glace) and reduce over medium heat until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Whisk in the remaining butter and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately with French fries or sauteed potatoes.

Julia Child’s Napoleon’s Chicken

Here’s a dish, that at first glance, seems like an unworkable combination. And honestly, it’s one of those dishes where the chef threw what he had together. But it works. The best part is that you can leave parts of it out and it’s still delicious. If you cooking this with the thought of having leftovers, you can cook everything but the bread and eggs and do those as needed. You can also do a simple fried egg and it’s just as good.

Julia Child’s Napoleon’s Chicken

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 chicken cut into pieces for frying
  • olive oil
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon of Napoleon’s cognac (or Brandy)
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 2 lbs. peeled, cored, seeded and diced tomatoes
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
  • 8 large white mushroom caps with stems
  • 8 rounds of 1/4″ thick sliced Italian bread
  • 12 large shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon chopped, fresh parsley
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • black olives

METHOD:

  1. Rinse and pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large seasoned skillet (a chicken fryer with 3″ to 4″ high sides) over medium high heat until hot. Add chicken and brown well on all sides.

  2. Add 1/4 cup of the white wine, cover and simmer 10 minutes. Add cognac and flame. Add onions, cover and simmer another 10 minutes. Remove chicken to platter.

  3. Remove stems from mushroom caps and dice. Reserve caps. Spoon some grease from pan. Saute garlic and mushroom stems. Add tomatoes, 1/4 cup of the white wine, and Italian seasoning stirring up all the chicken bits. Salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a high simmer. Return the chicken pieces to the skillet, folding into the tomato sauce. Reduce heat, cover and simmer gently for 15 – 20 minutes until chicken is no longer pink.

  4. While the chicken is cooking, heat a saucepan over high heat with 1 tablespoon of oil and the rest of white wine. Add the mushrooms. Toss lightly a few times until they are tender, but not soggy or overcooked. The caps should be white and retain their shape. Set aside and keep warm.

  5. Heat a frying pan with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil (may need more) until hot, but not smoking. Lightly fry the rounds of bread until slightly browned. Set them aside on paper towels. Keep warm in oven.

  6. Add the shrimp to the hot oil and fry until they just curl up, about 1-2 minutes. Set them aside on paper towels. Keep warm in oven.

  7. Heat another saucepan over high heat with oil at least an inch deep. Poach the eggs one at a time in the hot oil for a minute or so, lightly stirring with large spoon to keep egg together. Remove with a slotted spoon and set on paper towel to drain.

  8. Putting it all together: Set chicken pieces on serving platter. Spoon the tomato sauce over the chicken pieces and garnish with black olives.

  9. Place the eight croutons around the chicken. Place an egg on every other crouton and garnish with parsley. Place 3 shrimp on each of the other 4 croutons.