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Sep 27, 2009 08:29 AM

Steak Au Poivre-I've got the cognac, but I'm afraid to use it

Plainly, I'm way too clumsy and amateurish in the kitchen to be lighting cognac on fire without wetting myself. Does anybody have a recommendation on making steak au poivre without lighting the cognac? Can I just add it at the end immediately before pouring the sauce onto steaks, or will that kill the flavor?


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  1. I made steak au poivre last weekend (for the first time!) and didn't flame the cognac, just poured it into the sauce at the end...came out great!

    1 Reply
    1. re: sunflwrsdh

      Thanks so much! Glad it turned out well! I think's what I'll do as well. Did you give it significant time in the pan or did you pour it into the cream just before plating?

      1. Here's what I did, "pour off fat from skillet, then add shallots and half of butter (2 tablespoons) to skillet and cook over moderately low heat, stirring and scraping brown bits, until shallots are well-browned all over, 3 to 5 minutes. Add Cognac (use caution, it may ignite)...(mine didn't, I just poured it in very slowly) and boil, stirring occasionally until reduced by half, 3 to 5 minutes. Add cream and any meat juices accumulated on platter and boil sauce, stirring occasionally until reduced by half, 3 to 5 minutes. Add remaining two tablespoons butter, and cook over low heat, swirling skillet until butter is incorporated. " The recipe is from't know how to do a link, but I just did a search on Epicurious for Steak au Poivre, and this is what I got. Came out great!! Good luck with yours.

        1 Reply
        1. re: sunflwrsdh

          I would add that, in view of the fact that your appropriately squeamish about the flambe thing, when it comes time to incorporate the congnac, remove the pan from the burner to an area where it will not be exposed to open flame or radiant heat. Add the cognac, then return the pan to the burner - being careful to hold it firmly with a horizontal orientation to the burner surface. Then proceed as normal. Keep a lid large enough to completely cove pan close at hand so that in the even of a mishap you can just pop the lid on the pan to extinguish any unwanted flame.
          And ALWAYS measure out the amount of cognac (or any alcoholic ingredient) before adding it to your other ingredients. NEVER pour from a bottle over a pan while it's on a hot burner or otherwise exposed to open flame or radiant heat.

        2. I never bother igniting it anymore and Cognac's one of my favourite booze additions so I use it often. If there's too much fat in the pan I get rid of some of it and then saute the shallots or whatever I'm using. Then I deglaze with the Cognac and let it bubble away a bit to cook off the raw alcohol taste. The pan's pretty hot at that point. Alcohol (or most of it) evaporates at a surprisingly low heat (180F/82C - maybe lower). If the contents of the pan are bubbling they're at 212F/100C so why bother flaming? I always have good results.

          1. I've never flambeed the cognac in steak au poivre, I just use it to deglaze the pan, let it cook a few seconds, then add heavy cream and reduce it by about half.