Steak au Poivre, Pommes de Terre Duchesse & Carottes Vichy

Made this for Jim the other evening. There is a great deal of mystique in the public mind about the complexity of dishes and excellent creations in French restaurants. However, there are numerous dishes and creations that do not require long-simmering sauces, complicated series of steps, and great demand made on the cook/chef.

This menu should start with the potatoes, as they take the longest to cook. The carrots jump in second and the steak follows up as last to be prepared.

Pommes de Terre Duchesse is French for mashed potatoes made with eggs, so use your favorite recipe. The addition of extra butter is always a great idea as it gives the taters an additional richness and helps them stand up to the sauce.

I never even liked carrots until I started cooking them this way, Carottes Vichy (Steamed Carrots.) But, it’s how they’re  steamed that makes the difference The addition of sugar makes all the difference. Sugar, which brings a nice carmelization to the dish, which is divine.

And then there is Steak au Poivre (Steaks with Crushed Peppercorns,) which scared the crap out of me. Come on, that’s so much pepper, I’ll never be able to enjoy that. Oh nay, nay, nay!

Easy and you’ve just produced a five star meal you and a loved one or a group of people.  This menu sizes up very easily. Once again it’s easy to there’s no reason for fear. Practice one or two times and you’ll be cooking like you’ve stepped out of four years at the Le Cordon Bleu.

Follow the main course with salad, cheese course, or simple (but excellent) purchased dessert. Seriously, don’t serve anything from Costco. Don’t tarnish or destroy your culinary raising star.

We like to do the steaks outside on the side burner of our grill. It is safer than trying to flambe inside the house!

Steak au Poivre


  • 2 boneless New York Strip steaks – 10 oz each
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 teaspoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup Cognac
  • 1 cup heavy cream


1. Sprinkle the steaks with salt

2. Using a mallet or the bottom of a heavy saucepan, crush the peppercorns but not too finely

3. Sprinkle the steaks with equal amounts of pepper on both sides

4. Press down with hands to help the peppercorns adhere to the meat

5. Heat the oil and 1 Tablespoon butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat and when it is hot and almost smoking, add the steaks

6. Cook about 3 minutes and turn

7. Cook about 2 minutes or longer, if you wish your steaks well-done, and remove to a warm platter

8. Pour the fat from the skillet and add 2 teaspoons of butter

9. Add the shallots and cook, stirring, until wilted

10. Off the flame add the Cognac, return the pan to the flame and carefully tip the pan and flambe the Cognac and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until flame is gone

11. Add the cream and cook over high heat about 1 minute

12. Swirl in the remaining butter and pour the sauce over the steaks

13. Serves two


Carrots Vichy


  • 8 carrots, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped


1. Slice carrots into thin 1/8 inch disks.

2. Place carrots in large non-stick frying pan. Barely cover with water. Add butter, sugar and salt. Pepper comes later.

3. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring occasionally. Let water boil completely away. The carrots will start to saute in the butter and the sugar will caramelize and coat them. Saute the carrots until they start to get brown. Sprinkle with pepper and serve immediately. Garnish with parsley.

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