Steak au Poivre by Alex Slepak


  • 2 strip steaks
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 small to medium shallot, finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons (60 mL) butter (1/4 cup)
  • 1/3 cup brandy
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream


  1. Remove steaks from refrigerator and sprinkle with salt. Let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  2. Crush black peppercorns like they’re Liverpool’s 2020 premier league championship hopes. You can put them in a plastic bag and beat on them, or I like to use a mortar and pestle because I’m one of 3 people I know who even owns one.
  3. Spread the peppercorns out on a plate and press the steaks into them to coat one side of each steak.
  4. Set a pan over medium-high heat and add oil. Wait until the oil is hot. You can test this by flicking a little water into the pan.
  5. Cook steaks in the oil, 3 minutes per side to cook to medium rare. When flipping, use tongs to grab the sides of the steak so as not to disturb the pepper. Or at least disturb it any more than you already did.
  6. Set the steaks on a plate and let rest while you keep going.
  7. Add half of the butter to the pan and melt it down. Add shallots. Scrape the pan and toss the shallots until browned, about 3-5 minutes.
  8. Add the brandy and cook for a minute. CAUTION: it may ignite just from the heat of the pan. If you’re brave, take a lighter to it and flambée it deliberately. Send it up in flames like Manchester City after UEFA took a look at their accounting. Cook this cognac like they cooked their books. (But seriously, flambéeing is not a sport for the faint of heart. You will get 3-5 foot flames. You better have a good hood over your stove or be ready to hold a literal flaming pan in the middle of your kitchen so you don’t burn the cabinets).
  9. Add the cream and boil while stirring for 3-5 minutes to reduce sauce.
  10. Add remaining butter and reduce heat to low. Continue stirring until butter is melted and fully incorporated in the sauce.
  11. Drizzle over steaks and serve.


  • Half the amount for one steak.
  • Three minutes is too long.
  • Nice change.
  • Pour the sauce over the potatoes and veggies.

One thought on “Steak au Poivre by Alex Slepak

  1. Original recipe author here (and I’m guessing this came out of the Men in Blazers cookbook? That’s the only public place I remember submitting it). 3 minutes a side does kinda depend on a thick cut of steak. Absolutely shorten that up as needed.


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