Sometimes, you just need a good steak. This special occasion recipe is really just for the adults with it's use of alcohol in the sauce, but you could make a little steak without sauce for the little people. Perfectly seared meat, the bite of cracked pepper, and a creamy sauce all come together to make a really delicious dinner that my teenager swooned over and declared "man food." Serve with a delicious wine to complete the adult theme.
2 tbsp whole peppercorns
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp olive oil
1/3 cup Cognac, plus 1 tsp
1 cup heavy cream
4 tenderloin steaks, 6-8 oz each, not more than 1 ½ inches thick
Bring the steaks up to room temperature by letting them sit on the counter for about an hour before you’re going to start cooking. This ensures that the meat is all the same temperature, and will cook more evenly.
Bash up the peppercorns to break them up a bit. You can use a cast iron pan, but I used my rolling pin and cutting board to break them apart. Put the cracked peppercorns into a pan or plate and then place the steaks over top, rubbing the bits of pepper into the meat and making sure both sides are well coated. Set the steaks aside on a plate.
Melt the butter and oil together in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Place the steaks in the pan when the butter begins to turn golden and the pan begins to smoke. Cook about 4 minutes per side for medium rare. Pour off the excess fat but don’t wipe the pan clean-you want those bits of pepper in the pan!
With the pan off the heat, add the cognac and carefully light the alcohol with a long match or firestick. Wait until the flames die, then over medium heat stir in the cream. Whisk and cook for about 5-6 minutes, until the mixture thickens and will coat the back of a spoon. Stir in the remaining tablespoon of Cognac, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Spoon the sauce over the steaks and serve.
Adapted from Food Network