Monday, December 11, 2006

Steak au Poivre

Friday nights for me are usually a luxurious time at home alone, and I generally end up either cooking something wonderful and dining in Lucullusesque splendor, or taking the risk-free opportunity to try something totally new. Diana and I had planned to go to Les Halles with Philippe and Mary Duke Saturday, so Friday I decided to whittle down my menu options by cooking something out of Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook. This turned out to be steak au poivre. Pared down to one serving (and adapting my own steak-panfrying scheme), it ended up being something like this:

Heat your oven to 375 degrees. Use a chef's knife to crunch up 1 tbsp. black peppercorns. You don't want powder, so don't use a peppermill. Melt 2 tbsp. butter in a heavy skillet over medium/high heat. Pat your 8-oz strip steak with olive oil, season it with salt, and mush the peppercorns into it on both sides. When the butter is done foaming up, lay the steak in the pan. Let it go 5 minutes or so, moving it around every now and then. Flip it over and cook for another 4 minutes or so. Check the internal temperature with an instant-read thermometer. If it's around 90 degrees (as it should be), take the steak out of the pan and stick it in the oven for a few minutes until the temperature comes to 120 degrees, then remove to a plate and let it rest for about 10 minutes, during which time the temperature should rise to about 130 degrees, perfectly medium-rare. While the steak is resting, deglaze the pan with an ounce of cognac, stirring to incorporate all the nice brown gunk in the bottom of the pan. Boil and reduce by half, then add two ounces of dark stock and a small spoonful of demi glace. Reduce that by half. When the sauce is a nice syrupy consistency (i.e. able to coat the back of a spoon), stir in tbsp. of butter and pour over your steak. Serve with fried potatoes.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

As it happens I made Steak au Poivre avec Pommes Frites pour une myself last Friday night. Slightly different recipe than yours, which came from this generic yet cheap 'The Cooking of France' book I picked up at Costco. The cooking of the steak is the same as yours, but after that it varies. This recipe calls for adding cognac while the steak is still in the pan, then flambe-ing it. Remove the steak to the oven and deglaze the pan with white wine, then add cream, salt and pepper and reduce to sauce consistency. I'll have to try it a la Les Halles next time. So where do you get demiglace? I've never been able to find it anywhere.

Pommes Frites from my own experimentation tempered by a class at L'Academie: Russet potato, unpeeled, cleaned and cut into fries on the mandoline. Soak in cold water a while to remove the starch, then dry and fry twice in peanut oil - first at 325-350 degrees to light brown, then remove to paper towels and refry at 375 to crisp. Remove to towels again to drain, shake on salt and pepper.

Rob said...

Cool! I'm in favor of any recipe that involves setting things on fire. I bet the cream in lieu of the demi glace is nice -- probably a little friendlier and less intense than the Les Halles version. Bourdain mentions adding cream and prepared mustard to his recipe for a steak Diane sauce.

Williams Sonoma sells demi glace. At $29 for a 10 oz. jar, it's pricey, but 10 ounces will last a really long time. Sometime soon I'm going to make my own the old-fashioned way, but I'm going to have to replace my great bigass stockpot, which has strangely gone missing. It should only take a good solid day of work.

It is, of course, inevitable that I'm going to get a deep fryer one day.

Anonymous said...

Your description made my mouth water so much, that I bought the cookbook for Stephen for Christmas in the hopes of experiencing it firsthand. So you solved several problems at once for me: what to have for dinner, and what to give Stephen for Christmas. Keep up the great gastronomic egg-stravaganza!

Anonymous said...

Williams Sonoma? Damn, I was just in there yesterday while I was Xmas shopping in Tysons. But that was before I saw your blog and got reminded of demiglace.

I have a deep stock pot, although I've never actually used it to make stock. Only soups. Oddly enough, I do a fair amount of deep frying even though I don't have a deep fryer. (Which means that sometimes the bore of my kitchen is more well-oiled than the bore of my flute, alas.)

Making your own demiglace would be cool, although I see a couple of issues. Where do you find veal bones? Also, even though you're not actually working at it constantly, you pretty much have to be at home for an entire day. I'm running into that problem with my attempts to experiment with doing pulled pork BBQ in my stovetop smoker.

Anonymous said...

P.S. An Briosca Mor = John. This blogger thing is confusing. Yesterday when I signed up I chose An Briosca Mor as my name, but for some reason it posted my comment under my real name. It's so much easier when I can comment on Diana's blog anonymously as Lorna...

Rob said...

Elise: You'll dig the Bourdain. The recipes are good standard old-school bistro fare, but he's got a great way of walking you through complicated processes that makes them seem relaxing and enjoyable. It's one of those rare cookbooks that makes me long for my kitchen.

John, you can get veal bones from Union Meat at Eastern Market, or so I've heard. Probably shouldn't say that here, or they'll be sold out when I'm ready to boil and roast. (Yeah, right, I'm sure there are crowds of shoppers all yearning to make their own veal stock.)

Another thing I want good huge stockpot for is beermaking, which I think I'm just about ready to get back into.

I notice I have this thing set up as not allowing anonymous comments. I'll change that. So are you both going to start blogging too...?

tes said...

Another brilliant cookbook is the Balthazar cookbook--do any of y'all have that one? Standard French from the eponymous restaurant, but a great book (and the pages seem to resist drool stains fairly well).

Wish I could even eat demi glace. :-( Damn allergies.

Rob said...

Oooh, I've heard of Balthazar. I really need to come up your way and do a restaurant crawl.

tes said...

Yes, indeed, you *do* need to come up here for a visit. Balthazar of course, and I went to a nice (but culturally nonspecific) one last night--North Square (good for expensive dinners on the music department's tab), and pastries & espresso at Bruno's, and hmmm...what else?...any number of crazy Italian markets in the Bronx...and City Bakery for decadent hot chocolate....