Steak au poivre (pepper steak)

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This is based on a recipe from an old edition of Joy of Cooking that I used to make periodically, but completely forgot about.

1 strip steak
1 tbsp. whole peppercorns
salt

Crush the peppercorns coarsely. Some people use the flat side of a knife, the bottom of a sauté pan, and various other techniques all of which I find send peppercorns flying around my kitchen. I usually put them in a little zip lock snack bag and whack them with a mallet.

Squish the steak into the peppercorns to coat it, then season with salt.

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Cook the steak in a hot, dry sauté pan. I cooked for 3 minutes per side and it was medium rare to medium; I probably should have cooked it a little less. Warning: This is a very smoky operation. I wouldn't really recommend this unless you have a good, outdoor-venting hood. That's why I stopped making it! Though, in this house, it was fine.

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When the steaks are done, remove the steaks from the pan and drain off any fat or juices in the pan and make the sauce:

2 oz. cognac
1 tbsp. butter
Worcestershire sauce
Juice of half of a lemon
salt
pepper

Add the the cognac and flambe.

Add 1 tbsp. butter, Worcestershire sauce and the lemon juice. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Serve the sauce over the steak. It was delicious!

Pictured above with a salt and olive-oil rubbed baked potato with butter and sour cream on the side.


Update May 31, 2014: Changed the sauce to 2 oz. cognac (from 1 oz.) and butter to 1 tbsp. from 2 tbsp.. It's also good with wild rice mix.

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