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Steak au Poivre

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Steak au Poivre is a classic French dish with a rich, creamy Cognac sauce poured over pan-seared filet mignon with a peppercorn crust. This easy meal is perfect for any special occasion.

Creamy peppercorn sauce over a filet mignon on a plate with green beans and french fries.

Recipe inspiration

Are you a fan of NCIS? I am a crazed fan that has seen every episode at least 50 times, some even more than that. Oddly enough, it never seems to get old. During an especially perplexing case in Season 3, Gibbs shows up in Director Shepard’s office with Steak au Poivre and asparagus. They worked on the case together while eating dinner.

I have been wanting to make Steak au Poivre ever since!! Steak is awesome by itself, but when you top it off with a creamy shallot-cognac sauce…c’est magnifique!

steak with french fries and green beans on a large white plate that is sitting on a blue napkin

Recipe images updated on May 24, 2022

Ingredients needed to make this recipe

Ingredients needed to make Steak au Poivre.
  • 6 to 8 ounce filet mignons that are no more than 1.5-inches thick
  • Kosher salt
  • whole black peppercorns or a rainbow mixture
  • olive oil
  • butter
  • shallots
  • a sprig of thyme
  • cognac (or brandy) like E&J XO
  • Dijon mustard – optional, it is not in the original recipe
  • heavy cream

Be sure to check out the detailed printable recipe card below

Looking down on a cream sauce covered filet mignon served on a plate with green beans and french fries.

How to make Steak au Poivre

Pat steaks dry and sprinkle all over with salt. Set aside for at least 30 minutes.

Two beef tenderloin filets covered with kosher salt on a plate.

Crush the peppercorns with a mortar and pestle, or place in a zipper top bag and pound with a large mallet or crush with cast iron skillet.

Crushed pepper corns in a marble mortar and pestle.

Pour the peppercorns onto a plate and press each steak into the peppercorns. Flip over and coat the second side.

Two filet mignon coated with crushed black pepper on a plate.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmery. Add the steaks and cook for 5 minutes, then carefully flip over.

Two pepper crusted filet mignon in a skillet with olive oil.

Add the butter and thyme sprig. Baste the steaks with the melted butter while cooking the second side for 4 to 5 minutes until they reach 125 degrees for medium-rare.

Two pepper crusted filets in a skillet with melted butter and a thyme sprig.

Remove steaks from skillet and place on a plate. Tent with foil and set aside.

Add the shallots to the skillet and cook until golden brown softened, about 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon and scraping up the brown bits off the bottom.

Minced shallots cooking in oil and butter in a skillet.

Carefully add the cognac and simmer until reduced by half while continuing to scrape up the browned bits.

Minced shallots and cognac simmering in a skillet.

Stir in the mustard and heavy cream and gently simmer until thickened, about 3 minutes.

Cream simmering in a skillet.

Transfer the steaks to plates and spoon the sauce over the top.

Medium-rare Steak covered in a creamy peppercorn sauce with french fries on the side.

Serve with Pomme Frites {French Fries} and Haricot Verts {French Green Beans}…or steamed asparagus like Gibbs and Jen’s meal.

What does au poivre mean?

According to Merriam-Webster dictionary it is a French word that means: prepared or served with a generous amount of usually coarsely ground black pepper.

Recipe Notes & Tips

  • I created this recipe with Valentine’s Day or date night in mind, but it can easily be doubled or tripled.
  • If filet mignon is not available, New York strip steaks, sirloin steaks, and rib-eye steaks would also work well.
  • If you do not want to use alcohol, substitute beef stock for the cognac.

Tools used to create this recipe

You can see the rest of my favorite kitchen tools and gadgets here in my Amazon Affiliate Page. I earn a small commission when you purchase through my links, at no cost to you, so I can keep bringing you more delicious recipes!

more delicious date night recipes

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Enjoy!!

Creamy peppercorn sauce over a filet mignon on a plate with green beans and french fries.

Steak au Poivre

Steak au Poivre is a classic French dish with a rich, creamy Cognac sauce poured over pan-seared filet mignon with a peppercorn crust. This easy meal is perfect for any special occasion.
4.25 from 4 votes
Print Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: French
Keyword: steak, filet, shallots, cognac, sauce, cream, recipe, date night
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 2 Servings
Calories: 492kcal
Author: Lisa Johnson

Ingredients

  • two 6 to 8-ounce filet mignons (beef tenderloin) that are no more than 1.5-inches thick
  • kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • .25 cup chopped shallots one medium shallot
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme leaves
  • .33 cup cognac or brandy
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 0.5 cup heavy cream

Instructions

  • Pat steaks dry and sprinkle all over with salt. Set aside for at least 30 minutes.
  • Crush the peppercorns with a mortar and pestle, or place in a zipper top bag and pound with a large mallet or crush with cast iron skillet.
  • Pour the peppercorns onto a plate and press each steak into the peppercorns. Flip over and coat the second side.
  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmery. Add the steaks and cook for 5 minutes, then carefully flip over.
  • Add the butter and thyme sprig. Baste the steaks with the melted butter while cooking the second side for 4 to 5 minutes until they reach 125 degrees for medium-rare. Remove steaks from skillet and place on a plate. Tent with foil and set aside.
  • Add the shallots to the skillet and cook until golden brown softened, about 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon and scraping up the brown bits off the bottom.
  • Carefully add the cognac and simmer until reduced by half while continuing to scrape up the browned bits. Stir in the mustard and heavy cream and gently simmer until thickened, about 3 minutes.
  • Transfer the steaks to plates and spoon the sauce over the top. Serve with Pomme Frites (shoestring french fries) and French Green Beans or asparagus.

Notes

  • Medium-rare – 125 degrees
  • Medium – 130 degrees
  • Medium-well – 140 degrees
  • The temperature will rise 10 degrees while resting.
  • I created this recipe with Valentine’s Day or date night in mind, but it can easily be doubled or tripled. Just click the 2x or 3x button ^^^
  • If filet mignon is not available, New York strip steaks, sirloin steaks, and rib-eye steaks would also work well.
  • If you do not want to use alcohol, substitute beef stock for the cognac.

Nutrition

Calories: 492kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 40g | Saturated Fat: 22g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 97mg | Sodium: 50mg | Potassium: 233mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1279IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 79mg | Iron: 1mg

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7 Comments

    1. 5 stars
      2-3 minutes a side was enough to nicely brown the steak. Another couple of minutes in the sauce for medium rare *1 inch thick steaks

  1. I’m glad to know what it is because I wondered every time I saw that episode. I’m not crazy about cream sauces so won’t be making it though.

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