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Old 08-21-2005, 06:18 AM   #1
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Pepper steak

Hi,

I have just bought a big bag of crushed (rather than whole or ground - in little bits) pepper pepper and a mallet with a layer of rubber all over the head.

I've never made pepper steak (steak au poivre), but this is how I intend to proceed.

Any comments would be most welcome as to technique and quantities:

1) Choice of meat: I was thinking sirloin steak

2) I intend to pound the pepper into both sides of the steak (quantity? I guess it'll have to be intuition) and then fry it at high heat as I would a regular steak.

3) When it's done, I was thinking of adding some Cognac, then crème fraîche and stock (quantities? please see above).

4) Never a pro at thickening sauces (my Achilles heel)... I will see how to adjust the texture.

Accompaniment? Probably a starch.

Best regards,
Alex R.

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Old 08-21-2005, 07:56 AM   #2
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I used to do a dish like this. For the steak, I would quickly sear it just to cook the outer surface. Carefully remove the steak, and add a little demi-glace, and dijon mustard. Once those had started to cook, I would add a little brandy (although Cognac would be better), and flambe the dish. Once the flames died down, I would add the steak back to the pan, and cook to desired doneness. Once the steak is done, check the seasoning, and add salt if needed. You shouldn't need any pepper.
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Old 08-21-2005, 08:35 AM   #3
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Pepper required, none. But I, like you AlixR, love the black pepper with my steak. Your method is sound enough, exept that I would cook the steaks until done to your liking, then deglaze the pan with the cognac (except that I don't use alcoholic beverages. I'd use water, or milk to deglaze the pan) and make the sauce.

And for tips on how to thicken the sauce, there are two methods available to you.

1 - the easiest method to thicken is to mix 1 tbs. cornstarch with 2 tbs. water. Bring the broth made from deglazing the pan to a rolling boil and slowly stir in the corstarch slurry. The cornstarch has a fairly neutral flavor and so won't affect the sauce flavor. Do this slowly and let thicken after each additon. This can easily become too thick for what you want it for. I would recomend thickening only enough so that the sauce will coat a spoon. Any thicker and it can overpower the steak. You want it to accent it.

2 - Use a roux to thicken. Melt 2 tbs. salted butter, or cooking oil in a seperate pan. Add an equal anount of white flour. Stir until the fat is completely incorporated into the flour, and then cook for about another minute over medium heat. Then, slowy add the broth, stirring vigourously. The mixture will become very thick initially. But you have to keep adding the liquid in small increments, stirring them in completely. When you are done, you will have a very smooth sauce that will be tempered slightly by the flour's flavor. This will work with you steak, even when thickend to a gravy like stage.

Good luck with your meal.

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Old 08-21-2005, 10:35 AM   #4
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I don't think you need to pound the pepper into the steaks; just oil them lightly, and press them in with your hands.

Save that mallet for veal/chicken cutlets!
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Old 08-24-2005, 04:34 PM   #5
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For me the classic steak au poivre was salt and cracked black peppercorns slightly pressed into a striploin with the fat cap removed sauteed in a cast pan with oil/butter combo deglazed with red wine at the end mounded with some butter served with mostly
bitter salad greens........................some recipes get fancy and add
cognac,demi,cream,mustard.....blah,blah,blah but why mess with
a good steak.
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