While the dish sounds over the top difficult, it’s really very easy to make. Nothing is rushed. The steaks are seasoned with crushed peppercorns and allowed to rest on the counter about 45 minutes. This is plenty of time to make the potato base for the dish. The potatoes, once cooked, hold well in the oven, giving time to sear and cook the steaks. A few more minutes of holding time with the steaks and cakes together while the sauce is made and it all comes together beautifully in the end. Just keep in mind that you will be holding steaks in the oven, so you might want to remove them from the pan a little under-cooked.
These steaks were gourmet-fancy without a great deal of work. Big hit with my guys. I served them with pan-seared asparagus tips for an incredible meal with a wonderful presentation.
Peppered Pan-Seared Filet Steaks with Cognac Cream Sauce on Potato Cakes
Ingredients – Steaks & Cognac Cream Sauce
4 one-inch thick steaks (cut from the tenderloin)
1 tablespoon mixed peppercorns
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup Cognac
1/2 cup heavy cream
salt to taste
Use a mortar and pestle to roughly grind the pepper – this takes about 2 minutes of grinding. (Coarse ground pepper from a spice mill will also do the trick).
Remove the steaks from the refrigerator and using your fingers coat them with the ground pepper. Allow the meat to come to room temperature – about 45 minutes.
While the steaks come to temperature, make the potato cakes. (See below)
Warm a skillet on medium heat until it is heated through. Add the butter and olive oil. The butter should sizzle. When it has melted, add the meat. Cook for 4 minutes on one side, then flip and cook for 4 more minutes on the other side. Reduce temperature and continue to pan-fry steaks to medium-rare.
Remove steaks from pan and arrange on top of potato cakes. Return to warm oven while the sauce is made. The potato cakes will absorb flavor from the steaks.
Return pan to medium heat. Immediately add the Cognac. Bring the Cognac to a boil, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spatula to incorporate all the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Continue boiling until the cognac is reduced by about half – about 2 minutes. Add the cream and bring just to a boil. Season to taste with salt.
Remove platter from oven, remove steaks from potatoes. Arrange potatoes on individual plates, top with steak and spoon sauce over steaks.
Ingredients – Potato Cakes
2 Cups Shredded Hash Brown Potatoes (Refrigerated, not frozen)*
2 large Eggs
1 Tablespoons Flour
1 ¼ Teaspoon Sea Salt
¼ Teaspoon Ground Pepper
2-3 Tablespoons Grated Red Onion
Using a large-hole kitchen grater, grate red onion into a small bowl. Set aside.
In a large bowl beat eggs and stir in potatoes, set aside. In another small bowl, mix flour, salt and pepper together. Mix seasoned flour into potato mixture. Stir in onions, including all the juices. Set aside until ready to cook.
Lightly oil griddle and heat griddle to medium-high (325 degrees on an electric griddle). Spoon potatoes onto griddle and spread out to create 1 ½ to 2-inch rounds about ½ inch thick. (I used 2″ round cookie cutter, placing a couple of tablespoons of potato mixture in each cutter to form the patties, removed cutter and re-positioned on griddle until all the patties were formed).
Cook potato pancakes 3-4 minutes, flip and continue cooking 3-4 minutes longer or until golden brown and cooked through. Turn again if needed to prevent burning.
Arrange on a small platter and hold in a warm oven (225 degrees) until ready to use.