The ever popular Steak au Poivre has a very controversial history. Steak au Poivre is a pepper crusted steak covered with a sauce. How it was created and what Chef created has been argued about for years. Over the years, at least four French Chefs have claimed bragging rights to creating “Steak au Poivre”. The Chef of the Restaurant Albert on the Champs-Elysees claimed to have created in the 1930s. However, the Chef of the famous restaurant Maxim’s claimed to have created it in the 1920’s. The Hotel de Paris at Monte Carlo said that it was their Chef’s specialty in 1910.
However, it is now believed by many food historians that “Steak au Poivre” was created in late 19th century France ,possibly in the cities of Paris, Le Havre or Rouen. Legend has it that many late night diners in city bistros enjoyed Steak au Poivre. It’s popularity was attributed to the peppercorns because the peppercorns were believed to be an aphrodisiac in late 19th century France. Regardless of who, where or why it was created, it is still a delicious meal. Here is a recipe for Steak au Poivre.
Steak au Poivre
6 filet mignon steaks (can also substitute strip steaks and boneless ribeye steaks)
2 cups heavy cream
½ cup rendered beef fat
2 beef bouillon cubes
1 tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
½ tsp. Kosher salt
3 tbsp. medium dry sherry
½ cup cognac (or brandy)
4 tbsp. green peppercorns, rinsed and drained
In a heavy saucepan over high heat cook cream, stirring occasionally, until reduced to approximately one cup. The cream should be thick. Set in refrigerator. In a skillet large enough to hold filets in a single layer, heat rendered fat until smoky. Cook the steaks for 3 to 4 minutes. Keep warm. Pour off excess fat from skillet and deglaze with brandy. Set aside. To the cream add bouillon cubes, lemon juice, kosher salt, and sherry. Stirring constantly, bring to a boil. Remove from heat and deglazing liquid along with the peppercorns. Reheat and pour small amount over each steak. Serve remaining sauce in a gravy boat.