Although Steve Corry is an established chef, he learned the secrets of classic French cooking from a phenomenal home cook: his wife's 4-foot 8-inch tall grandmother Jacqueline. At his new Portland, Maine, bistro, Petite Jacqueline, Corry honors his mentor with French dishes that favor classic techniques. Occasionally, he's inspired to stray from tradition. For his steak au poivre, he starts with a red-wine marinade, which imparts subtle flavor and tenderizes the meat. A blanket of black pepper and brandy-laced pan sauce complete his flavor-packed twist on a French favorite. It would make any grandmother proud.
Steak au Poivre
Recipe adapted from Steve Corry, Petite Jacqueline, Portland, ME
Yield: 4 servings
Cook Time: 40 minutes
1 cup red wine
4 sprigs fresh thyme, divided
½ cup flat-leaf parsley, stems removed and discarded, divided
Four 8-ounce skirt steaks
Coarsely ground black pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
½ cup brandy
½ cup heavy cream
2 sticks unsalted butter
1. Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large container, combine the red wine, 2 sprigs of the thyme and ¼ cup of the parsley leaves. Add the steaks and set aside to marinate for 30 minutes.
2. Remove the steaks from the marinade and pat dry. Coat one side of each steak with the coarsely ground black pepper. In a large oven-proof skillet set over medium-high heat, add the vegetable oil and heat until smoking. Add the steaks, pepper-side down, and sear for 3 minutes. Flip the steaks and place the pan in the oven. For medium-rare (about 125° to 130°), cook for 5 minutes. Remove the skillet from the oven. Remove the steaks from the pan, put on a plate and set aside. Drain the fat from the skillet, then place the skillet back on the stove over medium heat. Add the brandy and whisk for 30 seconds. Add the heavy cream and cook until reduced by three-quarters, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the butter until melted and stir in the remaining thyme and parsley. Season with salt. Transfer the steaks to dinner plates, spoon the sauce over the meat and serve immediately.
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