Taste of the County: Pepper Steak

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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine - Steak is a popular main course option. Tonight in Taste of the County, NMCC Chef Rob Ottaviano shows us how to make a delicious and easy pepper steak!

• 4 (3/4- to 1-inch-thick) boneless beef top-loin (strip) steaks (8 to 10 oz each)
• 1 tablespoon kosher salt
• 2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
• 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
• 1/3 cup finely chopped shallots
• 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
• 1/2 cup Cognac or other brandy
• 3/4 cup heavy cream
1. Preheat oven to 200°F.
2. Pat steaks dry and season both sides with kosher salt.
3. Coarsely crush peppercorns in a sealed plastic bag with a meat pounder or bottom of a heavy skillet, then press pepper evenly onto both sides of steaks.
4. Heat a 12-inch heavy skillet (preferably cast-iron) over moderately high heat until hot, about 3 minutes, then add oil, swirling skillet, and sauté steaks in 2 batches, turning over once, about 6 minutes per batch for medium-rare.
5. Transfer steaks as cooked to a heatproof platter and keep warm in oven while making sauce.
6. Pour off fat from skillet, then add shallots and half of butter (2 tablespoons) to skillet and cook over moderately low heat, stirring and scraping up brown bits, until shallots are well-browned all over, 3 to 5 minutes.
7. Add Cognac (use caution; it may ignite) and boil, stirring, until liquid is reduced to a glaze, 2 to 3 minutes. Add cream and any meat juices accumulated on platter and boil sauce, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half, 3 to 5 minutes. Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter and cook over low heat, swirling skillet, until butter is incorporated. Serve sauce with steaks.