Beef Tenderloin w/ Peppercorn Sauce | Steak au Poivre

Beef Tenderloin W/ Peppercorn Sauce | Steak Au Poivre

Details

This beef tenderloin is served with a rich and elegant peppercorn sauce.
  • Serves: 4
  • Active Time: 25 mins
  • Total Time: 35 mins
  • Views: 75,511
  • Success: 95%

Steps

Step 1: Cooking the Steaks

• four 4-6 oz beef tenderloin steaks
• 1/8 cup whole black peppercorns
• 1 tsp grey salt
• 1/4 cup brandy

Method

Take your steaks out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before you are ready to start cooking. The meat is best cooked at room temperature.

Set your oven to warm.

Lightly coat the steaks with coarsely crushed peppercorns and grey salt to taste.

Heat a large, stainless-steel pan over medium-high heat and then add the oil and butter. Place the steaks into the hot pan and then turn the heat down to medium. Let the steaks cook, about 2 to 5 minutes per side, depending on how you like your steak cooked.

When the steaks are done, pour the brandy over the meat and VERY carefully flambé. The flame will potentially be rather large, so make sure to stand back.

SAFETY NOTE: when using spirits that have a high alcohol content, such as brandy, it should never be added directly from the bottle. The flame from the pan can enter the bottle and cause it to explode. And MAKE SURE TO STAND BACK before adding the alcohol. The flame can be quite high.

For safety reasons, the alcohol should be added away from the heat source or with the flame off. Then turn the heat to high and carefully tilt the pan a bit to ignite the alcohol. A gas lighter can also be used to do this.

Once done, remove the steaks from the pan and allow to rest for a few minutes.

Step 2: Making the Sauce

• 2 small shallots
• 1 tbsp olive oil
• 1 tbsp butter
• 2 cups reduced dark chicken stock
• 1/2 cup heavy cream

Method

While the steaks are resting, make the sauce.

Finely chop the shallots and add them to the same pan. Sauté for a minute or so before deglazing the pan with the reduced chicken stock. Pour the juices from the resting meat into the pan. Let reduce and allow the sauce to thicken slightly.

To finish the sauce, add the cream and let reduce by about half. Season to taste. Once ready, pour the peppercorn sauce over the steaks and enjoy.

Chef's Notes

Beef Tenderloin may seem challenging to make, in fact, it is quite easy. Rather then going out for dinner why not bring the restaurant home to you.

Rather than using beef tenderloin, you could also use New York strip loin or rib-eye steaks. Remember to bring the steaks to room temperature before you begin cooking them.

53 Comments

  • Yul N
    Yul N
    Maybe I'm wrong, but it seams that the sauce itself has no peppercorn! The peppercorn is crusted to the steak. Also, as I've noticed some of the other recipes here, some ingredients are mentioned but not actually listed when clicking the ingredients button. In this case, neither the oil or butter (or their amounts) are listed under "Cooking the Steaks." BUT, oil and butter is listed under under the ingredients of "Making the Sauce" but do not appear in the video or text of the recipe. A little confusing.
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    The sauce becomes a peppercorn sauce from the peppercorns on the steaks. The steaks help to make the sauce so it ends up being a peppercorn sauce by default. As for the ingredients being confusing you were right, a few of them were in the wrong spot but they have been corrected. Thanks for pointing that out!
  • Marvin C
    Marvin C
    Ccreme fraiche works wonders with the soury taste with the chicken stock. BENE!
  • Brian F
    Brian F
    I guess I never realized how spicy black peppercorns are, but my despite the spicy nature of this dish my wife and I both loved the flavors. I'll probably cut the pepper back a bit next time, but it's all a matter of personal taste. I happened to have a couple of Rib eye steaks in the house so I used those and they worked very well. I actually served this with some Chinese noodles and roasted broccoli. It was great! Thanks!
  • Colin C
    Colin C
    I have made this recipe twice now. The first time I followed the recipe precisely and the steaks were absolutely amazing. I have made peppercorn steaks before, but this was by far my favorite recipe. The second time I ended up skipping the brandy (ran out of brandy) and, although the steaks were still excellent, they were not as good as the first time through. The first time, I made this with the suggested mushroom risotto. This was and excellent accompaniment. However, the second time, I made a baked morel and garlic mashed potato, which got rave reviews as an accompaniment for these wonderful peppercorn tenderloins.
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    Love it if you would share your baked morel and garlic mashed potato recipe as I'll give it a try for sure and I'm sure that others would to. Why not enter it into our Test Kitchen?
  • Swati B
    Swati B
    I tried making this tonight. The steaks tasted great but the sauce didn't look as good as it tasted. Was I supposed to turn the heat to low before adding the cream? When I added cream it curdled instead of blending in with the stock and looked brown with a million tiny specks of white. My bofriend liked it nonetheless, but I was very disappointed. Also, I was using a cast iron skillet. Do cast iron skillets take longer to cook down when the heat is lowered?
  • Joe G Rouxbe Staff
    Joe G
    Hi swati. First off yes.... cast iron conduct heat very well so it does takes a bit longer to for the pan temperature to cool down. However, I think your problem lies in the cream. Either you used half and half or milk (which has a tendancy to curdle) or your cream was 'off'. When whipping cream gets old, it also tends to do exactly as you described (curdle - or goes solid and you get those white specks). It often still tastes great but it doesn't look as nice. Next week we film pan sauces. This will answer all your questions. This week we filmed panfrying and talked a LOT about pan temperatures. Cheers Joe
  • Swati B
    Swati B
    Thank you for the info. I admit my cream was a little old. That must be why. Maybe after doing your pan sauces lesson I will stop bothering you with so many questions on sauces!
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    Honestly...that is why we are here. dawn
  • Melissa A
    Melissa A
    I made this recipe because I had tasted peppercorn steak at a 5 star restaurant last week. My version at home using your recipe turned out perfect!! The only thing I changed was instead of dark chicken stock I used beef broth. I love the videos that go with the recipes it really helps to make sure your results at home will be perfect. Your site is my new favorite site for recipes. Thanks!! Melissa
  • Paul B
    Paul B
    ... is what this typically French dish is called. This really is one of their classics, and the sauce is usually prepared at your table in restaurants. A great experience! I'm not using chicken or veal stock to prepare the sauce, but beef stock, but that's purely a matter of taste. I'm also adding those pickled peppercorns you can find in the shops to the sauce to add even more taste and texture. This is the best video recipe I've seen for this recipe, try it, you'll love it! *** stars
  • Joe G Rouxbe Staff
    Joe G
    Hi Paul. I used to use a bit less crushed black pepper on the steak and the pickled green peppercorns in the sauce. This is a fantastic option. The green peppercorns are not as hot either and have a great flavor. Classic preparation calls for veal or beef stock - so you're bang on. Veal takes a lot longer to make and many home cooks don't have this on stock but ALL :-) should have dark chicken stock and it works nicely.
  • Dorin v. B
    Dorin v. B
    I was just wondering what taste does the shalottes have.Because in my country,the equivalent of this term are some small (walnut size) red onions.And as far as I know,french chefs use the small things as well.My only question is: are you using the same thing,but a bit overgrown?Thanks
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    Shallots are like a cross between an onion and garlic...they are wonderful. Chefs like shallots because of their firm texture and sweet, aromatic, yet pungent, flavor. Shallots do grown in different sizes and shapes. They are also different varieties and colors. Some shallots have coppery brown skin, while others are pinkish or a grayish-brown color. Some of the best shallots come from France, they are called griselle shallots. To answer your second question, I do believe we are using the same thing, just perhaps a different variety of shallot. However, I am not exactly sure of the ones you are using. Hope that helps!
  • Dorin v. B
    Dorin v. B
    From the taste you have described,it's most likely we are talking about the same thing.The size of the ones I was talking about is chosen because it's said (and I agree) it adds more body to the taste,and fills it with richness.The only thing I hate about the ones I use is peeling them.Their chickpeas-medium walnut size is annoying.But,at my age,I manage them quite well,and for the end result in totally worthed.
  • Christie C
    Christie C
    I successfully flambéed for the first time tonight and it was so dramatic. My husband was standing by with the fire extinguisher. :) Anyway, the steaks tasted great (although next time I'm going to get a better cut since our sirloin was a bit tough and not marbleized at all). Still, my husband raved about the sauce. My sauce ended up looking very light and tasting almost too creamy though. I'll probably use beef stock next time and go easy on the heavy whipping cream I used. It also was a bit too sweet too, I thought -- is that coming from the caramelization or the brandy? Thanks for another great steak recipe!
  • Joe G Rouxbe Staff
    Joe G
    Nice work Christie. Most of the time we use dark chicken stock for this recipe. And if it tasted a bit sweet, this is because of the brandy and caramelization yes... you are learning. What kind of stock did you use for this recipe?
  • Christie C
    Christie C
    I used organic chicken stock from a carton to save myself time. Does using homemade dark chicken stock really make that much of a difference? Couldn't beef stock do the trick? Just looking for time-saving short-cuts. :) Thanks!
  • Joe G Rouxbe Staff
    Joe G
    Using homemade stock is better for a number of reasons, most importantly you can control the flavor and salt content. Bought stock tends to be very high in salt and low in gelatin (which gives sauce it's body. Having said that, you can use store bought, just look for low sodium natural options (no msg). I've found "Swansons" to be a good option. One thing to consider that I've done many times before is to save up your chicken bones and when you need a quick stock, use low sodium store bought chicken stock (haven't found a good store bought beef stock ever) BUT fix it up using the short-stock method. For example, roast a few bones and mirepoix and simmer it for an hour. It will be way better. Here's the link to the short stock lesson: http://rouxbe.com/cooking-school/lessons/17-how-to-make-short-stock/objectives (this is a great skill to learn) And here's some tips on buying store bought: http://rouxbe.com/tips-techniques/57-chicken-stock-options
  • Allan B
    Allan B
    I thought I could make this sauce while the steaks rested? In 10 min, what I made was a thin sauce with reasonable flavour. I think the problem was my reduced dark chicken stock which did not have much of a gelatin content. I didn't want the steaks to sit any longer so I blended flour into the sauce and served. I tossed some green peppercorns in with the shallots to add an additional layer to the dish. Thoughts on where I went wrong? To close on a positive note, the steaks were fantastic. .
  • Joe G Rouxbe Staff
    Joe G
    For this sauce, you really don't want to add flour. Flour actually needs a bit of time to cook out. The good thing is that you were thinking on your feet. You adapted and this is the first step towards becoming a great cook!!!! Chicken stock does not often have a lot of gelatin (compared to veal stock for example - simply due to the amount of gelatin in the bones). However, you can still reduce this sauce to 'sauce-like consistency'. I think you just needed to give it a bit more time on the heat. The cream will also add thickness to the sauce when it's added and reduced. Sometimes when making dark stock, people add a bit more water which is fine. My suggestion is to reduce the chicken stock a bit more before making the sauce if it's a bit bland in flavor. It will concentrate. Keep reducing the stock until you have a nice strong flavor. It should not be "sauce-like" in consistency but it will require less time to reduce when you make the sauce. Don't worry to much about the steaks resting. If they happen to get a bit cold on the surface, you can quickly add them to the sauce to reheat the surface (20 seconds a side - no longer). The inside will remain warm for 15 or so minutes. You can also throw them in a warm oven (lowest setting) if they sit on the counter for longer than 10 mins. The longer they rest, the more tender they will become. Give it another whirl. Let the sauce reduce naturally and you will have success with practice. Let us know how your next attempt goes. Oh... and for practice, try the same procedure with 1/2 inch medallions of chicken or pork. Green peppercorns are a great addition (if they are the soft ones in vinegar). Nice touch.
  • Jorge A
    Jorge A
    Back to this recipe. Step 2: "deglaze with the white wine". Yet the recipe does not tell me how much wine to add. It appears as it was left out of the ingredients. Jorge
  • Kimberley S Rouxbe Staff
    Kimberley S
    Thanks for the catch. The recipe has been updated (1/3 cup white wine), but the amount is really up to you. In the future, can you make any comments on the Chicken Short Stock recipe in the actual recipe (not here for Beef Tenderloin with Peppercorn Sauce)...it will just be more helpful for people who are looking at each particular recipe. Cheers!
  • Luke F
    Luke F
    I made this recipe with regular chicken stock and while it was very good, I was not able to get that nice dark color. Is there any where to get Dark stock besides making it your self?
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    Depends where you live and what is available in your area. Rich, quality dark stocks are hard to find. It's best to make your own and is much more satisfying. Cheers!
  • John S
    John S
    As a new member and virgin cook this was one of the first recipes I tried after having gone through the lessons on how to pan fry and pan sauces (needing to put my new knowledge to work). I even went out and bought a SS pan. I also substituted the meat with Scotch Fillet (you guys call it rib eye I think), but otherwise it was identical. Seriously, I've never had such good meat eating outside of a restaurant! I'm in love with Rouxbe! Now I think I need to go and learn to make my own stock.
  • Joe G Rouxbe Staff
    Joe G
    This is one of my favorites. Glad you liked it and that your new skills lead you to success. Cheers, Joe.
  • Jennifer K
    Jennifer K
    I've got to tell you, for a mom with two toddlers, I feel like a gourmet chef with this one. How fun to light the brandy on fire! My husband makes a homemade quince brandy that was beautiful for this. My only beef was that the peppercorns didn't smash up well. I just pulsed then a few times in the coffee grinder and then for the steak they worked well. However, I ended up straining the sauce so that any hiding whole peppercorns would be extracted. That worked well. We've stopped going to restaurants thanks to Rouxbe.com and are saving lots of money by cooking so well at home.
  • Susie N
    Susie N
    Hi Rouxbe. Today was my first day using your cooking school and I absolutely love it!! I cooked the Peppercorn Steak recipe and it was delicious. The only problem was that I had trouble getting the sauce to thicken. Any Suggestions?? Thank you so much -Susie :)
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    There are a few reasons why this could have happened (store-bought stock/broth, heat source etc). But before I go into any detail I would just like to know if you have watched the "How to Make a Pan Sauce" lesson and also read through the discussion of that lesson? I ask this as this is discussed in that particular forum thread quite a bit. Once you read through that and/or watch the lesson let me know if you still have the same question, if so I would be more than happy to help you out. Cheers!
  • Jillian R
    Jillian R
    I have 9 family members staying with me who all love steak, I bought a whole fillet, made my own stock and had a go at doing this for them, thought it might have been to ambitious for so many, but was a great success, people who normally have well done steaks, now converts to medium rare, they all agreed better than any restatement. Thanks again for great lessons and techniques. :)
  • Leigh S
    Leigh S
    I have never actually seen anything at the store called "Heavy Cream". I've asked the grocers and between us pretty much decided that heavy cream and whipping cream are the same thing. I notice that in this recipe you have clearly stated that whipping cream can be substituted for heavy cream, which leads me to believe that they are NOT the same thing. Can you set the record straight for me? Is there a difference?
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    It often depends where you live. In the U.K. for instance, dairy creams can often called different things. Here in Canada we can generally, only find whipping cream, which has a fat content between 30-36% M.F. (milk fat). Sometimes these contain stabilizers and emulsifiers in them to help them hold their form when whipped. In some parts of the world you can also buy heavy cream (sometimes called heavy whipping cream). This usually has a M.F. between 36-40%. The important thing when buying cream for cooking is to look at the M.F. % on the container. Hope that helps to clear things up. Cheers!
  • Brian M
    Brian M
    My kitchen has a microwave hood over the stove. I don't want to lose the flavor of the brandy, by am afraid of igniting it onmy electric stove. Can it just be added and reduced to burn off the alcohol instead igniting it?
  • Kimberley S Rouxbe Staff
    Kimberley S
    You do not have to flambe, but the flavor of the alcohol will in fact be stronger. Cheers!
  • Lisa M
    Lisa M
    …but the steaks were a hit! First time I flambeed anything (intentionally), but took the precautions. Used NY strips instead of ribeye—simply delicious! Y'all have quickly become my fave site! Thank you RouxBe!
  • Chris M
    Chris M
    I'm curious that in this recipe, you aren't employing the flip often method mentioned in the course. I'm assuming it is due to the peppercorns?
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    You could still certainly use the flip often method when following this recipe. Just be gentle when flipping the steaks, as to not flake off all of the crushed peppercorns. Cheers!
  • Reese N
    Reese N
    Really wanting to try this recipe but is it possible to skip the brandy or substitute? I'm allergic to alcohol so would rather substitute or skip altogether. Have tried some recipes from here and they have all turned out so well...loving this school!!!!!!
  • Leigh S
    Leigh S
    Reese. Absolutely! The finished flavor will be altered slightly, but even without the flambe, you'll still end up with a great tasting steak. It is beef tenderloin after all!
  • Reese N
    Reese N
    I figured the recipe could easily go without but it never hurts to ask. Thanks for answering back so quickly...this is definitely going to be dinner tonight. :)
  • Debra G
    Debra G
    I am making this tonight for a dinner party. Currently making the dark stock. After the stock is finished, can you give me some more instruction on the reduced stock for the recipe? How much would you recommend starting with? How long to cook it? Thank you!
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    How long the stock will take will reduce will depend on things like how much liquid you have to start with, how much gelantine was in the bones etc. Watch this video for "Demi Glace" (in particular Step 3) and that should help you out. You will also find a few other videos and threads on this popular subject. Try searching for "reducing stocks" and you will find quite a few. Hope that helps. Cheers!
  • Mika L
    Mika L
    It seems like, just like using a demi glace for the reduced dark stock (veal demi preferably), you could also set another pot up and have the cream already hot and reducing on it's own. Then when it's time to make your pan sauce, you should only have to reduce a few more minutes. Is that right? Or is there a benefit to reducing the cream and stock when they're mixed with the shallots?
  • Ken R Rouxbe Staff
    Ken R
    You're right, you can make it faster if you "pre-reduce". I think people usually opt for the method we propose because it does not take too long and the time spent reducing is also part of the flavor development of the shallots as they cook. They do need a few minutes to sweeten and mellow. I hope this helps! ~Ken
  • Ben W
    Ben W
    I usually cook one 6-oz steak at a time, as opposed to the 4 in this recipe. Would I still want to use the same amount of liquid for the sauce, or would I want to use 1/4 of brandy, stock and butter?
  • Leigh S
    Leigh S
    The short answer is "Yes, cut the recipe down". You certainly won't need to make as much sauce, since you are only "saucing" (is that a verb?) one steak. That said, experiment a little. Your sauce is going to turn out as long as your ratios of fat, to shallots, to stock, to butter and to brandy are close. You may find it difficult to work with only 1/4 of everything, so rather than cutting the recipe for the sauce into 1/4, just try pulling it together based on how it looks, smells, and tastes. You'll need enough brandy for it to flambe properly! 1/4 cup will be way too much for a single steak, but one tablespoon will barely be enough. Don't measure, just pour enough on to adequately cover the steak. Add some butter and shallots to the pan and then add sufficient stock to properly deglaze the pan. Remember to reduce your stock before preparing the sauce. Again, simply add the cream until it looks and tastes the way you want it... probably just a couple of tablespoons. It is great to be able to throw a sauce together without truly measuring anything. Take a risk and give it a go!
  • Leigh S
    Leigh S
    Thanks Ben. You've inspired me. As I typed the previous post, my mouth started watering. I remembered that I had frozen strip loin in the freezer, some veal stock that I made last November, and plenty of peppercorns on hand. I ran out and bought some cream and treated myself and my wife to a scrumptious Steak au Poivre. I also discovered how expensive brandy is, especially considering I would only need a tablespoon or two, so I just omitted it. Of course the dark veal stock really adds a lot to the flavour so other than missing the brilliant flames that brandy makes, the steak and sauce was still phenomenal. So, again, thanks for the idea... now, back to my plant-based cooking course :-)
  • Lucia R
    Lucia R
    Hello could i make this sauce 1 week ahead of using? I want to take it to my ski trip from home.
  • Ken R Rouxbe Staff
    Ken R
    Hi Lucia- If you must prepare it that far in advance, I would suggest that you prepare the sauce, but not finish it until the day of (with cream). Basically, anything you can do "on site" (not before) would be good for the integrity of the sauce. Just be sure to plan well and have all the mise en place ready to finish. ~Ken
  • Ginnie H
    Ginnie H
    Hi, I would like to cook up some nice steaks head of time to take on a father days picnic, slicing just before serving. Any tips about how to keep a cooked steak juicy and not over done for a few hours before serving? Thanks! Ginnie
  • Ken R Rouxbe Staff
    Ken R
    Hi Ginnie- If you want to serve it sliced and cold, you can just cook to the proper temperature, cool for the picnic (ahead of time) and slice there. I'd suggest that you keep food either hot or cold for service, not in between for a few hours - as that is how the possibility of foodborne illness grows. If you want to cook it and keep it hot for a few hours, that is tricky and not easily done. Especially the "not overcooking" it part. Caterers use hot boxes and other insulating equipment to help achieve this sort of outcome. I suppose it all depends on the time between cooking, transport and eating and what your expectations are for the dish and experience of eating in the picnic. ~Ken

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