New Cooking Frontier: Steak au Poivre

I love using a Hallmark holiday as an excuse for cooking a fancy meal. And Valentine’s Day certainly fits the bill! So I swung by Penzy’s Spices for some high quality peppercorns and Whole Foods for a couple of fillets to really schmacy it up. (Oh, and I also used this recipe as an excuse to at long last buy a cast iron fry pan. This Calphalon pan was 40% off at Bed, Bath & Beyond!)

For no good reason, I tend to imagine an unrealistic fanciness quotient of French-style foods. I say this because I have eaten French foods (even in France) and I’m well aware of how not-so-fancy-after-all many French foods are. So, as fancy as this Steak au Poivre sounded, it ended up being really easy to make (and not very glamorous-looking).

I used this recipe from Gourmet magazine (apparently originally published in 1955!). The good news is, the recipe doesn’t call for fillet, and so it doesn’t have to be expensive to make. The other good news is that the recipe is really good. I mean, any time you saute shallots in butter before adding cognac and cream (and more butter), you’re going to have an amazing sauce, right? (The answer is yes.) The only “bad” news is that it’s not the loveliest to look at.

My first instinct was to roast red potatoes to go with this, but we opted for mashed potatoes with ground white pepper instead. And since I tend to wreck the side items while focusing on the main dish, steamed broccoli was the easiest veggie option I could think of. (Though I did manage to slightly overcook that…). The potatoes were great with the sauce mixed in, and the broccoli at least helped me feel like there was some nutritional value to the whole meal. Because it was Valentine’s Day, I didn’t sweat it too much and managed to even eat an amazing Cupcake Island cupcake for dessert.

The steaks were pretty large, so even the dog enjoyed a little Valentine’s Day treat. While he knew the second I unwrapped the meat exactly what was going on, he was a very good boy and waited patiently to get exactly what he wanted.

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