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Steak Au Poivre (Black Pepper Steak)




Having tried four of the 10 steak recipes in A Treasury of Great Recipes, this is the one that Peter (Vincent Price Legacy UK curator) returns to time and again. He has also included it in his new cookbook, Supper with the Stars, which continues Vincent's culinary journey.

‘If you think, as I do, that black pepper and rare beef make beautiful music together, then you will like this steak recipe too. We learned it in Chicago from friends who had brought it back from France in this stockyard city must be especially alert to new ways of preparing beef. This one is a winner.’

It’s simply, hugely flavoursome (the aroma of the searing black pepper is quite something) and truly honours the produce. You also get quite a lot of sauce out of this, which you can keep refrigerated for 2 days.

Steak Au Poivre (Black Pepper Steak)


  • Wipe steak with a damp cloth and dry carefully.

  • Pound crushed peppercorns into both sides of the steak and let stand.

  • Heat butter and oil and sear steak on both sides for 5 minutes, then remove.

  • Stir into the pan the wine and brandy. Let boil for 2 minutes.

  • Remove pan from heat and add butter. 

  • Strain sauce over steak. Garnish and serve. 

How to make

Wipe with a damp cloth: a 1 1/4-inch sirloin steak (3 pounds). Dry carefully.

Coarsely crush 2 tablespoons of peppercorns. (Use a mortar and pestle or a potato masher.) Pound crushed pepper into both sides of the steak, smacking it in with flat side of a cleaver or the potato masher. The steak should be quite thickly covered. Let stand for 2 hours.

In a heavy skillet heat: 1 tablespoon butter and 1 teaspoon cooking oil. (This mixture can get hotter without burning than butter alone). Over high heat sear steak quickly on peppercorns both sides. Cook 5 minutes on each side. Remove steak to a hot platter.

Stir into the pan: 2/3 cup dry white wine and 1 tablespoon brandy (optional). Boil wine rapidly for 2 minutes, scraping up brown meat drippings at bottom of the pan. Remove from heat and swirl in: 2 tablespoons butter.

Strain the sauce over the steak (or don’t strain it if you want the loose bits of pepper too) and garnish with watercress.


Sirloin steak
Dry white wine
Brandy (optional)
Cooking oil
Watercress (to garnish)

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