Steak au Poivre
3 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
Four 3/4-inch-thick beef strip steaks (about 8 ounces each)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus extra
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1/2 cup red wine
1 cup beef stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon cognac
Chopped fresh parsley or chives, to garnish
1. Using a mortar and pestle, coarsely crush the peppercorns. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, you can use the bottom of a cast-iron skillet to crush them on a cutting board, or place them in a zip-close plastic bag and crush them with a rolling pin. Spread the crushed peppercorns evenly on a plate large enough to accommodate your steaks.
2. Pat the steaks dry, then brush each with a bit of oil on both sides. One at a time, gently press each steak into the peppercorns to coat both sides. Season the steaks on both sides with salt.
3. In a large skillet over medium-high, heat the 2 tablespoons of oil. When the oil is hot, reduce the heat to medium, add the steaks and cook for 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer the steaks to a plate, cover loosely with foil and let rest while making the pan sauce.
4. Return the skillet to the heat and add the shallots. Cook over medium heat, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the wine, bring to a boil and simmer, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan, until reduced by three-quarters. Add the stock and cream, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes.
Add the juices from the plate of resting meat, then whisk in the mustard and cognac. Season with salt.
5. Transfer the steaks to serving plates, spoon some of the sauce over each, then garnish with chopped parsley or chives.
Nutrition information per serving: 490 calories; 220 calories from fat (45 percent of total calories); 24 g fat (10 g saturated; 1 g trans fats); 165 mg cholesterol; 8 g carbohydrate; 2 g fiber; 2 g sugar; 55 g protein; 560 mg sodium.