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Best of Beef

Steak au poivre with sautéed potatoes and roasted baby leeks

One of the great classics – the secret of this dish is don’t be shy with the pepper and always allow the steaks to come back up to room temperature before coating them with the pepper. It is also worth wiping them with kitchen paper to remove any excess moisture and ensure they sear as soon as they hit the pan.

  • Serves 4


  • 4 x 225g Hereford fillet steaks, well trimmed
  • About 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tbsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • 100g butter, diced
  • 2 tbsp good quality Cognac
  • 100ml veal stock
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • French fries or sautéed potatoes and roasted baby leeks, to serve


  1. Preheat the oven to 220ºC (425ºF/Gas mark 7). Moisten the meat very slightly with some of the oil, then dredge each of the steaks in the crushed pepper to thoroughly coat.

  2. Heat the remaining oil in the large heavy-based ovenproof frying pan over high heat. Once the oil is hot, add half of the butter. Once the butter is foaming, add the steaks to the pan and brown for about 5 minutes on each side.

  3. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook for about 5-7 minutes for rare, 10 minutes for medium rare, and a little longer if you prefer your meat more well done. Remove from the oven and remove the steaks from the pan to rest in a warm place while you finish making the sauce.

  4. To make the sauce, return the frying pan to the hob and carefully stir in the Cognac, the bottom of the pan scraping with the wooden spoon to remove the sediment and get all the flavour into the sauce.

  5. Return the pan to a medium heat and reduce the liquid by half. Stir in the veal stock and continue to reduce until thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Whisk in the remaining butter and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately on warmed serving plates with French fries or sautéed potatoes and roasted baby leeks.