Prep2 hr 30 min
Steak au poivre
- 2 steaks filet mignon
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup cooking brandy/whisky/rye
- 1 shallot
- 2 tablespoons butter
Pardon how pretentious this is going to sound, but for as long as I can remember, I’ve always favored filets. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good rib eye, and anything else in the red meat category, but nothing tops a perfectly cooked filet. There is a part of my Asian side that should appreciate a good steak with muscle, something that makes you fight for it, but I think the European side trumps my preference here. Back when my dad had his restaurant, he catered to the food connoisseurs; before there were “foodies”. These were Michelin star chasers, and so he specialized in French fine dining. Because of this, there was a surplus of lamb, veal, venison and steaks, and looking back, I’d give anything to just eat through my youth.
Of course, at the time, I didn’t appreciate it at all, and prefered someone trading me for a pb&j – or better yet, a grilled cheese! I was a fool. I guess I was just young and hadn’t developed my tastebuds yet. Yea – let’s go with that.
But now my tastebuds are fully developed and when I get to the butcher and look into his glass casing of all of his cuts of meat, I feel akin to the lion looking at it’s prey, ready to pounce – I literally start salivating. I’m not kidding. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve been at the store with Jimmy, and stopped dead in my tracks just to stare longingly at the red meats. I think it’s probably not terribly normal, but I think he’s gotten used to it. And this, is the reason why I’ll never become a vegetarian, because of the way I feel for me, and how badly I want it in my belly.
Something a lot of people don’t know, is that Costco actually has some really high quality cuts of meat, and the butchers behind the glass will actually come out and re-package your meat for you in case you want smaller sizes. The last time I went, I wanted a 2 pack of Prime filets, but only saw 4 packs. Not only did they repackage it, but I could pick the 2 steaks I wanted! I always feel like there are 3 equally sized steaks in each pack and one slightly smaller one, which just makes for an awkward dinner arrangement. Hey Bob, will you give a slice of your steak to Sharron, she got the little one. Yea, no, that’s not going to happen. The best though was the one time they repacked it for me and accidentally mislabeled my pound of filets as pork loins. Best. Day. Of. My. Life.
So when your retired chef dad comes into town and you want to impress him with your mad cooking skills, what do you do? Steak au Poivre seemed like a good choice but the steaks were so thick, I got nervous I would overcook the outside and the middle would be left raw. What would my father think of me? And then I thought, OH YEA we have a sous vide!
Sous-vide (/suːˈviːd/; French for “under vacuum”) is a method of cooking in which food is sealed in airtight plastic bags then placed in a water bath for longer than normal cooking times at an accurately regulated temperature much lower than normally used for cooking. The intent is to cook the item evenly, ensuring that the inside is properly cooked without overcooking the outside, and retain moisture.
Sous vide takes much longer, for this recipe I had the steaks in for 2 hours, but then threw them on the stove just to sear off the edges for a nice crust, and use the fond to create the sauce. If you don’t have a sous vide, that’s fine as well, you can cook a thick cut steak on the stove but make sure you make sure to keep the meat moist and not to overcook it! Keep in mind I’m a hybrid in ethnicity and a hybrid chef, so if I could have it my way, steaks would always be served with rice.
I got the stamp of approval from Chef Paul, so I thought it was good enough for my fellow Nommers.
Go ahead and fill up your container with hot water (you want to use the sous vide to maintain the heat, not as the initial heat source.) Set your heating element to 130˚F and then as the water is heating, prepare your meat. Coat both sides of the steaks with a light sprinkle of coarse sea salt and a generous amount of fresh cracked pepper. Add a sprig of rosemary on top of one side, then place into a zip-lock bag (the official way to do this is to vacuum seal them in bags, but if you don’t have a vacuum sealer, you can just place the meat in a zip-loc bag, and slowly lower the bags into the water. This will force the air out, acting like a vacuum and then seal the bag). Make sure the bags are SEALED. Any opening will allow water into your bag and drown your steaks! Leave them in here for 2 hours.
- 1 bunch asparagus
- enough to lightly coat the asparagus olive oil
When you’re about an hour in, prepare your asparagus. Preheat your oven to 350˚. Place a layer of aluminum foil on a baking sheet, pour olive oil over the spears and rub it evenly. Then crack salt and pepper over the spears. Bake for 20 minutes.
When the steaks are ready, take them out of the bag and throw them into a greased medium-hot frying pan. If there’s juice in the bags, set that to the side for now. You want to keep the steaks on the heat for just about a minute or two on each side, only flipping them once. This is going to get a great sear on the steaks without letting out too much of the juice. Take them off the stove and place them on a piece of aluminum foil, then wrap them up to retain the heat. If you want to keep them hot, you can throw them into the oven, but only for a few minutes, you don’t want to cook the steaks more than planned. I also like to throw my plates into the oven now too to keep them hot for serving.
Using the same pan you seared the steaks, you’ll want to use the fond (the brown bits stuck on the pan) to help flavor the sauce. Add a little bit of oil and saute the shallots until golden brown. Add the brandy or rye (I used Bulleit because it’s what we had in the house at the time, but typically we have a cheap cooking brandy on hand.) Let the alcohol burn off and when it doesn’t have that alcoholic smell anymore, add the juices from the sous vide bags, cream and butter; mixing with a rubber spatula until everything is melted and fully incorporated. Add salt and pepper to taste.
And now you’re done! Sauce your steaks, serve with your asparagus, and if you haven’t tried it with rice; live a little 😉 NOM!