Saturday, April 6, 2013

Steaks with Cognac and Peppercorns

Kay originally found this recipe in a book called “Tapas and Small Plates” by Lynette Rohrer Shirk.  It was meant to be served as an appetizer (sliced up thinly).  We liked it so much, we made a few variations and turned it into a main course.  It’s our favorite way to do steaks now.  The original called for filet mignon, but Tom prefers a big ribeye or T-bone (which he filets himself).  Any good, tender cut seems to work fine.  Serves Two.  We made this for our 15th wedding anniversary this year . . . it was special.  And since we're still in love, chances are there will be a 16th anniversary post next year.  :-)

Filets with Cognac & Peppercorns, topped with blue cheese and fresh Chervil.
4 tsp. whole black peppercorns, crushed (hard to do by hand – use a coffee grinder, or mortar & pestal)
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 steak filets (whatever kind you like)
2 tbl. butter
4 mushrooms, sliced, brushed clean, stemmed and thinly sliced
4 tbl. Cognac, plus 2 tsp. Cognac for later use
¾ cup half-and-half cream
½ cup Blue Cheese, crumbled
10 to 12 sprigs fresh Chervil (or you can use fresh Parsley if you don’t have Chervil)

Chervil is a delicate looking herb, similar to Parsley but a bit peppery tasting.
·         Sprinkle the kosher salt on both sides of the steaks
·         Spread crushed peppercorns on a cutting board and press the steaks down into them so the peppercorns stick to both sides
·         Melt the 1 tbl. of the butter in a 10” skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat
·         Saute the mushrooms in the butter until tender (about 5 minutes), stirring occasionally
·         Remove the mushrooms for later use using a split spoon
·         Remove pan from heat
·         Add the other tablespoon of butter, return to medium heat, and brown the butter slightly
·         Let the butter brown a bit while stirring constantly
·         Add the steaks to the butter and brown, about 5 minutes per side
·         Remove the steaks and keep them warm in a low-heat oven
·         After the sauté pan is cooled a bit, add the 4 tbl. Cognac to the pan drippings and Flambé  (Umm, be very careful doing this.  Sometimes it takes a while for the fire to die down.  Once Tom had to take the saucepan outside the flames got so high!  Also, you are NOTsupposed to Flambé under the hood fan, like Tom is doing in the photo below.  Tsk, tsk!  Do as he says, not as he does!)
Be careful when you Flambé . . . . . woo!
 ·         When the flames die down, turn the heat up to medium and stir the liquid in the pan, scraping up any brown bits from the sides and bottom of the pan
·         Add the half-and-half and the sautéed mushrooms and bring to a simmer
·         Cook and stir the liquid until it begins to thicken, about 3 minutes
·         Add the additional 2 tsp. of Cognac and continue stirring another 3 minutes
·         Return the steaks to the pan, and cook about one minute per side until done through
·         Put the steaks on a serving dish, and pour the remaining sauce and mushrooms from the pan over the steaks
·         Top the steaks with the Blue cheese and Chervil (or Parsley)
·         Serve hot (cheese will melt slightly).  Goes great with a baked potato (or baked sweet potato!) and a side salad.


  1. This would need some safety precautions, but the result seems to be worth it.

    1. Definitely needs a warning label! But yes, well worth it.


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