Smoky Steak Au Poivre

  • 4 Tenderloin steaks  (6 to 8 oz, about 1.5-2 inches thick)
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons Holy Smoke Smoked Black Peppercorns (They will be halved) 
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 1/4 stick (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut in half
  • 1/3 cup Cognac or other brandy
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream

PREPARATION

    1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
    2. Pat steaks dry and season both sides with kosher salt.
    3. Coarsely crush Holy Smoke Smoked Blacke Peppercorns in a sealed plastic bag with a meat pounder or bottom of a heavy skillet, then press pepper evenly onto both sides of steaks.  Our peppercorns are already halved to impart more smokiness, so when you crush them you will be looking for them to be quartered or a little bit finer.
    4. Heat a 12-inch heavy skillet (preferably cast-iron) over moderately high heat until hot, about 3 minutes, then add oil, swirling skillet, and sear steaks for four minutes on each side for medium rare.
    5. Transfer steaks to a roasting pan to rest while you make the sauce.
    6. Pour off fat from skillet, then add shallots and half of butter (1 tablespoons) to skillet and cook over moderately low heat, stirring and scraping up brown bits, until shallots are well-browned all over, 1-2 minutes.
    7. Add Cognac (use caution; it may ignite) and boil, stirring, until liquid is reduced to a glaze, 2 to 3 minutes. Add cream and any meat juices accumulated on platter and boil sauce, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half, 3 to 5 minutes.  Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter and cook over low heat, swirling skillet, until butter is incorporated.  When you add the butter at the end you can pop the steaks into the oven for 30-45 seconds to get them hot and ready for plating.  Serve sauce with steaks.

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