There are a lot of ways to eat steak. I'm from the heartland of Canadian cattle country and I'm pretty sure I've tried them all. Of course, there are going to be several different opinions of what constitutes the perfect steak, and I'm probably going to catch some flac for this, but for me - it isn't off the BBQ. No, no, no. MY perfect steak is done on a stove top (gasp!). Classically considered a French bistro dish, Steak au Poivre is my perfect way to indulge. If you're a meat lover, this post is for you.
I think a part of what appeals to me so much about this recipe is its simplicity. The steak is seasoned with two ingredients: salt and peppercorns. It might sound crazy to coat two steaks with 2 whole tablespoons of peppercorns, but when they aren't finely ground the spice is much more subtle. Dressing the meat this way also lets it shine through. This is beef at its best.
Using a cast iron pan is my second secret. These pans retain heat well and are practically non-stick. Cooking the steaks on high heat, turning ~once per minute creates an even, golden crust with no burning. Depending on the thickness of your steak, you're looking for a total of 3-4 minutes per side for rare. If there is a side of fat on your steak, render it down for a couple minutes by propping the steak up. In the final minutes, we add some butter for extra flavour and to start providing the base for a delicious Cognac pan sauce. When the steaks are cooked to your liking, remove to a cutting board and tent with foil. You'll be left with something closely resembling this:
Up last is to create a rich cognac pan sauce that sends this over the top. In your pan, we will add shallot, (more butter), Cognac, cream, thyme and parsley. After cooking and reducing the sauce, we pour it over the sliced steak. When I have this for dinner, steak is all I need. There is something ridiculous & awesome about eating just steak for dinner, I hope you try it!
And of course, this goes REALLY well with a glass of Cognac. Hope you guys enjoy!
Until next week....