Julia Child's recipe for Steak au Poivre from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume One, 40th Anniversary Edition.
- 2 Tb of a mixture of several kinds of peppercorns, or white peppercorns
- 2 to 2 1/2 lbs. steak 3/4 to 1 inch thick
- 1 Tb butter
- 2 Tb minced shallots or green onions
- 1/2 cup stock or canned beef bouillon
- 1/3 cup cognac
- 3 to 4 Tb softened butter
- Sauteed or fried potatoes
- Fresh water cress
Place the peppercorns in a big mixing bowl and crush them roughly with a pestle or the bottom of a bottle.
Dry the steaks on paper towels. Rub and press the crush peppercorns into both sides of the meat with your fingers and the palms of your hands. Cover with waxed paper. let stand for at least half an hour; two or 3 hours are even better, so the flavor of the pepper will penetrate the meat.
Sauté the steak in hot oil and butter as described in the preceding master recipe. Remove to a hot platter, season with salt, and keep warm for a moment while completing the sauce.
Pour the fat out of the skillet. Add the butter and shallots or green onions and cook slowly for a minute. Pour in the stock or bouillon and boil down rapidly over high heat while scraping up the coagulated cooking juices. Then add the cognac and boil rapidly for a minute or two more to evaporate its alcohol. Off heat, swirl in the butter and half-tablespoon at a time. Decorate the platter with the potatoes and water cress. Pour the sauce over the steak, and serve.