Steak au Poivre & Happy Bastille Day!

In honor of Bastille Day, I wanted to share a typical French dish with you- Steak au Poivre. If you’ve never tasted Steak au Poivre before, all I can say is that you’re missing out my friend. It’s delicious, simple, comfort food. It’s on the menu at any French brasserie right next to the “Steak Frites” (steak and fries) and you generally can’t go wrong by ordering it. I’d never really considered making it myself because I figured it included some hard-to-get ingredients, but my culinary preconceptions have been proven wrong again! When I was in Paris, I got a small can of green peppercorns, stored in water. These are perfect for the “sauce au poivre ” (pepper sauce) that melds so well with a nice steak. If you don’t have a can of peppercorns though, you can rehydrate dried green peppercorns in warm water for 5-10 minutes to obtain a similar effect. I hope you don’t wait as long as I did to try such a tasty staple of French “brasserie” cooking.

Ingredients for 2 servings:

For the steaks

  • 2 steaks (I used New York steak)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • Salt & pepper to taste

For the carmelized shallots:

  • 8-10 shallots
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • Salt to taste

For the pepper sauce:

  • 1 can green peppercorns (or 2 Tbsp dried green peppercorns, rehydrated)
  • 3-4 tbsp creme fraiche
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • Salt to taste


  • Peel and thinly slice the shallots. Melt 2 tbsp of butter on a non-stick pan over low- medium heat. Add the shallots and a pinch of salt. Slowly cook the shallots for about 10 minutes- until carmelized.
  • While the shallots are cooking, heat the creme fraiche, milk, peppercorns and a pinch of salt in a small pan over low heat. Stir occasionally.
  • Sprinkle salt and freshly ground pepper over the steaks.
  • Once the shallots are ready, remove them from the pan and set them aside. Melt 2 tbsp of butter on the non-stick pan over medium heat. Cook the steaks about 5-6 minutes on each side (depending on the thickness of the steak and your cooking preference).
  • When the steaks are cooked, remove them from the pan and allow them to rest for 3 minutes.
  • Serve the steaks with pepper sauce on top and carmelized shallots on the side.

5 thoughts on “Steak au Poivre & Happy Bastille Day!

  1. Richard Nikoley


    By my count, that dish is 99% Paleo. 🙂

    Creme fraiche isn't (dairy), but I use it all the time anyway — and plus I'm just about headed to Whole Foods for some raw whole milk. I'm always telling people how much better creme fraiche is for cooking than sour creme.

    A fun variation might be to use coconut milk. I use it a whole lot (for curries, mostly) and find that if spicy enough it doesn't taste too coconutty,

  2. Julie

    Ryan- Maybe if you guys weren't moving to NY, I could make you a steak au poivre too. 😉

    Richard- I was ramping up for Friday with this one…using more butter than I normally would. That's one thing I'm confused about though- butter must not “technically” be paleo either, right? Since it's just churned cream? The technical paleo cooking fat would be actual animal fat (like rendered duck fat). Am I correct?

  3. Richard Nikoley


    Technically correct, but many Paleos incorporate dairy in some measure.

    The reason behind it is just like for grains, i.e., we weren't domesticating and milking animals until very recently in our evolution. And, in fact, lactose intolerance was universal until 8,000 years ago, an example of “rapid evolution.” At 3-4 years of age, we're genetically programed to stop producing lactase, which is weaning time. The genetic mutation allowed us lucky ones to keep producing it.

    There are other things in bovine dairy we're probably not adapted to, but in moderation, it's fine.

    That said, cheese it cool in terms of lactose because that's what fermentation takes care of (as well as giving you all the good little critters for the gut. Butter is even better, as nearly all of the solids are out, and it's mostly just the fat, which is totally fine (roughly the same fatty acids as lard & tallow). For complete purity, one can use ghee, which by definition is pure butter oil.

    Suffice to say, I use lots of butter and ghee, cheese is typically gorged, and then I go some time without, and other dairy in moderation.

    in the final analysis, its all pretty good food and a far sight better than what mostly passes for “food” here in America.

  4. Julie

    Thanks for the explanation Richard! I'm glad that incorporating some dairy is not a complete “no no” as I may end up incorporating some lower-lactose dairy into my paleo meal. I completely agree with you that cheese, creme fraiche, butter, etc. is much better than any fake stuff you find on many dinner tables these days.


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