By Jean Doherty
Traditional steak au poivre has been served as a pan sauce since at least the mid-19th century. Regardless of the concoction, the same pan should be used to create the sauce as was used to cook the steak. But we are in South Florida, and a grill is as likely to be used as a pan, so I’m giving you a simple way to make a delicious sauce, without the smoky pan smells left over in your kitchen.
• 1 tin or jar of green peppercorns, in brine
• 2 tablespoons of butter
• 2 oz. of cognac, brandy, whiskey, or bourbon
• 2 small shallots
• 1 small onion
• 1 tablespoon of flour
• 1 cup of beef or veal stock, or demi-glace
• 1 cup of heavy cream
Melt the butter in a sauce pan and, after chopping the onion into small pieces, sauté it until it is nice and browned, then add the shallots (cooking quickly over high heat) until transparent, approximately two to three minutes. Sprinkle with a tablespoon of flour, and using a whisk, incorporate the liquor and the stock. Add the whole green peppercorns (to taste; the amount you use is up to you). Add the heavy cream. Bring the liquid back to the boil, and cook for three to five minutes (to thicken the sauce), stirring constantly. Taste and adjust seasoning. (Some chefs believe heavy cream doesn’t belong in the traditional steak au poivre recipe, although many restaurants and at-home chefs include the cream. It does make the sauce so much better.) Voila! Use this sauce for steaks, chicken, duck— anything you can grill will be perfect with this sauce. You are the chef!
Although born in Dublin, Ireland, chef Jean Doherty spent most of her life in Lyon, France, the gastronomical capital of the world. Together with Vero, her partner of 25 years, Jean has owned and run multiple restaurants including Fort Lauderdale’s Le Patio.