Shoyu Steak au Poivre

One of my favorite styles of steak is Steak au Poivre, typically a dish served tableside at finer dining restaurants. Steak au Poivre — pronounced “Stake’ow P’wah” — is a French dish that translates to Pepper Steak.

Ingredients

Along with the quality cut of beef itself that is traditionally filet mignon, the most crucial element to Steak au Poivre is its incredibly infused and delicious pan sauce, made with Cognac exclusively from said region of France, or its global sibling, Brandy, along with beef stock, onions or shallots, sometimes garlic, give or take other aromatics, heavy cream and butter, while some also add Dijon Mustard. The version I make at home uses all of the above, sans the Dijon Mustard.

Reason I decided to present preparing Steak au Poivre today, is I did a little experiment, using Shoyu instead of Kosher salt to season the steak, which turned out AMAZING!

Signature to this dish, traditionally, Steak au Poivre calls for you to crush whole peppercorns so that it’s very course, however, I ain’t got time for that, and simply use my trusty Kirkland Tellicherry Black Pepper Grinder…

So what I have there is a standard supermarket choice-grade beef ribeye steak that’s been coated/soaked generously on both sides with Kikkoman Shoyu, then sprinkled VERY generously on both sides with fresh cracked black peppercorn. I then placed it in the refrigerator for about an hour or so to let the steak, shoyu and black pepper “get all happy ‘n stuff”. lol

As you should always do before grillin’ a good steak, I then removed it from the refrigerator and let it come to just under room temperature, where it feels just cool to the touch, but not cold. This way your steak will cook properly to medium-rare, not being burnt outside, and raw inside.

Sear the Steak

Then that bad boy hits the VERY HOT pan, with just enough cooking oil to give it the “happy dance”…

As you see, I prefer using a butane tabletop stove for this task, as not only do I get a flamin’ hot pan to sear the steak, but I also have that physical flame itself when I need to light up the Brandy, coming up shortly. Let the steak sear, and leave it alone; don’t move or fiddle with it. This will take about 3 to 5 minutes or so per side for medium-rare. Once you see a nicely browned crust while it still feels as soft as the center of the inside of your hand, flip it…

That’s a great sear, with tasty “crustification” goin’ on. The appearance doesn’t matter that much, as you’ll be covering the steak in that HEAVENLY pan sauce when it’s plated.

Once the steak is done searing and almost finished cooking on both sides, remove it from the pan and let it rest on a warm plate.

What then will be left in the pan are these tasty, crusty, meaty bits and drippings called “fond“…

By all means, don’t get rid of that! The fond is the crucial foundation and starting point of the pan sauce flavor-building process, which begins…. now!

Make the Pan Sauce

Turn off the fire, then To the fond in the pan, add Brandy (or Cognac, up to you)…

At about a full cup’s worth (8 ounces), that’s actually a LOT more Brandy than what most chefs will use, however I LOVE Brandy, so I add plenty! Tee-hee! In fact, the one I’m using today is made by Korbel…


The Love of My Life

Remember I told you to turn off the fire before adding the Brandy, as this liquor has a very high percentage of alcohol that will flame up, which is what you want! Now carefully turn the fire back on and be prepared to step back, as the Brandy will ignite….

Fire! Fire! Fire!  It will continue to flame until the alcohol burns off, which if you add just a small amount of Brandy, like say about 1/3 cup, it will flame out in 3-8 seconds. However I added “around generously” over a cup of Brandy, so it took about 15 seconds to flame out. Fun stuff! Still, be VERY careful when doing this. Some chefs say you don’t really need to flame it to burn off the alcohol, however for tableside presentation, the pan fire is half the charm and dazzle of presenting the dish!

Once the Brandy flames out (awe, boooo!), let her reduce about 1/3 its starting volume where it’s nice ‘n syrupy…

Make sure you scrape the pan with a spatula to release the fond stuck to to the bottom, and stir it into the cooking Brandy. After it’s reduced and syrupy, add minced garlic and onion, or you can use shallot, or in my case, I used red onion…

The reason I add the minced garlic and red onion at this stage, is I don’t want it to burn during while the Brandy is being flamed, I just want them nice ‘n caramelized. Once the garlic and onions are caramelized, and the Brandy has almost completely reduced, add about 1 cup of beef broth…

Cook the beef broth on medium-high heat until it too is reduced to a very concentrated consistency…

At this stage, what you have for your pan sauce is: fond, Brandy that’s been flamed and reduced, caramelized minced garlic and red onion, and beef broth that’s been reduced, where it should look like this….

THIS, my friends, is FLAVORTOWN USA! I could just as well stop here and use this as my steak sauce, however we’re not done yet! Next we add some heavy cream…

Add just enough cream: about 1/3 to 1/2 cup, where after the sauce is stirred, it has a tan color, then stir and incorporate…

Let the cream cook over medium heat just long enough to incorporate all the flavors from the fond, Brandy, aromatics and beef stock, making sure it doesn’t boil, but just bubbles up, while constantly stirring so it doesn’t “break” on you.

Then finish your pan sauce by adding the magic ingrediment, BUTTER!…

Ah yes, butter is that magic trick that gives a great sauce its silky, velvety mouth feel and rich, deep flavor. Stir the cold butter into the hot sauce on very low heat just until fully melted and fully incorporated…

It’s done! Let’s check if it needs salt by tasting it…

And? Perfect! No salt needed. Just right. Dude, I’m tellin’ ya’, this is MO-NEY!!!!!!  Dang is this some awesome sauce! Dang, can this man cook, baby! That’s right, I’m bad @ss. You know it! lol

One more thing before we plate, is put the rested steak back in the pan with the sauce to warm it back up for just a bit…

Make sure to also add any of the juices to the sauce that may have dripped off the steak as it was resting on the warm plate. Give it about a minute or so to warm up, then transfer the steak to the serving plate…

Looks like I cooked someone’s foot. lol

Bon Appetit!

Finally, add that DELICIOUS pan sauce over the steak, making sure it’s fully smothered in all its glory…

Doesn’t that look incredible?! If not, then never mind appearance, let’s dig in and taste it!…

Dude. Oh. My. God. This is SO KILLER! And you know what? That shoyu ROCKED THIS JOINT! I can just ever so slightly taste what it brought to the overall flavor, adding this extra umami “oomph” to it, more so than when I’ve made Steak au Poivre using just Kosher Salt (I actually use ground-up Hawaiian salt). While I honestly can’t say this genuinely tastes like “Shoyu Steak”, just the very fact that it added that extra umami “oomph”, I’m giving it the honors of naming it that. Besides, it just sounds different, local and, well, cool!

Let’s try another bite…

Perfectly done medium-rare. I can just imagine if I had used a prime grade ribeye or Filet Mignon, man would this dish SLAM!

Since I already have the bottle open and handy, let’s try it paired with a glass of Brandy…

It works! The Brandy cuts right into the richness of the sauce and the beef, with its woodsy note complimenting the peppery seasoning. It’s a bit too sweet for the dish, however, I still like the pairing.  “Brandy, you’re a fine girl” (you’re a fine girl). What a good wife you would be” (such a fine girl). “Yeah your eyes could steal a sailor from the sea”. lol

One more bite…

Let me detail the flavor of the sauce: it’s creamy, buttery, beefy, peppery and deep, but not complex; probably more so of the latter being Dijon wasn’t used. It’s not one of those sauces that you wonder what’s in it. Which you shouldn’t have to if it was prepared table side for you. It also has a nice ‘n velvety mouth feel thanks again to the butter, while having sort of a “stick-to-your-ribs” decadence about it, yet not so heavy where you can only handle a little of it. Trust me, you will be scraping the plate clean with Steak au Poivre!

I can’t say this is an easy dish to prepare that you’ll get right the first time. It’s not. You’ll have to practice getting the amount of liquids and reduction point correct, as well as managing the pan’s heat, while of course not burning yourself! And of course cooking the steak properly, which by all accounts should be medium-rare. It took me about four tries before I can say I “aced” Steak au Poivre.

In fact, hire me, and I’ll be happy to come over to your house and prepare it tableside for you and your other half. Trust me, you’ll have a fun night after that, my Steak au Poivre is THAT GOOD! lol!!!

I swear, along with Steak Diane (which is kick @ss, too!), Steak au Poivre is by far THE BEST STEAK that’s paired with a SAUCE you will ever experience. And it really is an “experience” borderline of orgasmic, not just a meal. And my “Shoyu Steak au Poivre” kicks it up a few notches. Try it!