Sunday, August 9, 2009

Steak au Poivre

I just got home a few minutes ago from seeing the movie Julia and Julia, (which I loved!)  Holy crap Meryl Streep.  If she doesn't get the Academy Award for her performance, all is wrong with the world.  Anyway, I was inspired to include a very traditional recipe for Steak au Poivre in the blog today.  This is one of my favorite meals, and if you make it, you'll see why.  It is very easy if you have the right ingredients.  If you happen to not have made your veal stock yet, then for shame!  You can't really substitute a box stock for this because the veal stock is already at full reduction, but you could reduce this all the way down from the box stock, it's just the intensity of flavor won't be there.  There is a night before preparation if you want to go the extra mile.

1 16 oz 1 1/2 inch thick dry aged ribeye steak (check at specialty butchers or Whole Foods market.)
2 Tbsp melted butter
1 clove smashed garlic
healthy pinch kosher salt
cracked black pepper

Combine the butter, garlic, salt and pepper.  Rub the melted butter all over the steak, and place in a ziptop bag in the refrigerator overnight.  Remove the steak from the fridge a full hour before you intend on cooking it so that it comes to room temperature.  Many people don't know about this step.  For one, you will get a more consistent temperature for your steak if you let it come to room temperature, and the steak will be much more tender.  Another reason is that the outside of the steak could burn before the inside is cooked to a nice medium rare. 

Let's talk about steak temperatures.  For a nice medium rare steak, if you lightly push down on the steak in the center and it feels soft like your earlobe, it has come to a nice medium rare.  If you touch it and it feels like the flesh between your thumb and first finger, it is medium.  If it feels like the tip of your nose, it is well done.  As far as I'm concerned, cooking a steak to well done should be the eleventh thou-shalt-not in the ten commandments.  If you do like your steak the consistency of shoe leather, don't waste your money on a dry aged steak and just get one from cellophane central at your local mega mart.  You won't be able to tell the difference.  If your cardiologist is telling you to eat your steak well done, let me tell you this.  Eat your steak medium rare, and only have one every couple months or so.  Cooking a steak till all of it's juices have dripped into the fire and there is nothing but tar left is settling for less than you deserve.  Just don't eat it as often and indulge yourself on the rare occasion.  Settling for second best is like marrying the girl that irritates you just because you don't want to be alone.  Just say no.  Okay, here's step two.

1/2 cup cognac (you don't need to spend a fortune, you can get one in small bottles at your local liquor store)
1 Tbsp green peppercorns (these are found usually with the capers in the store.  They are not a spice, but a bud.  They are a lot more tender than the black peppercorns you are used to.)
1/2 cup reduced veal stock
1/2 cup cream
pinch of salt
1 Tbsp softened butter

Bring an 11" frying pan to medium high heat on your stovetop. (DO NOT USE NON-STICK!)  Non stick pans will smoke before the pan is hot enough and send foul toxins into the air.  Also you will not have any pan scrapings stuck to the bottom of the pan which is the base for the sauce.  I also don't suggest cast iron because the de-glazing process will release the black seasonings imbedded into the pan.  I suggest stainless steel or aluminum cookware.  (Afraid of Alzheimer's?  Read my section about cookware.)  Drop the steak right onto the hot pan.  It will immediately start to brown.  The shock of the heat will seal in the juices much more effectively.  Cook for three minutes on side A.  Don't move it around, just let it be.  Turn the steak, and cook another 3 minutes.  Do the touch test, it should be at about medium rare.  Take the steak out of the pan and move it to a plate to rest while you prepare the sauce.

De-glaze the pan with the brandy, scraping the fond off the bottom of the pan.  All of the burnt on pieces of steak will liquify with the brandy.  Add the peppercorns, veal stock, and cream.  Let the sauce reduce on medium heat by half or until it coats the back of a spoon.  Remove from heat and taste.  If it needs salt, add it, but it probably won't need it.  Whisk in the softened butter to finish the sauce leaving the pan off the heat.  Slice your steak into 1/4 inch slices against the grain of the meat, and on the bias.  Drizzle the sauce liberally over the top, and garnish with a little dusting of cracked black pepper and perhaps a little minced parsley.  This steak cries out for a full bodied red wine.  I like a Barolo, or Amarone.  Enjoy

No comments:

Post a Comment