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This has long been a staple for dinner parties and always one of my favorites. I have also prepared this using lamb chops instead of steads and it is also wonderful. This is my interpretation of this exquisite French favorite. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
- To crack peppercorns, wrap them in a clean dish cloth and crush them by firmly pressing on peppercorns with the bottom of a heavy skillet or by tapping gently tapping with a mallet. Peppercorns should be cracked to release their flavor, not ground. Avoid food mill processing. This really makes a difference!
- Press cracked peppercorns generously on both sides of the beef filets, covering evenly. Season liberally on both sides of the filets with kosher salt.
- Heat butter and oil in a large heavy skillet (cast-iron or Le Creuset type) over medium-high heat.
- Add filets and cook until well browned, approximately 4 minutes on each side for medium rare preparation.
- Transfer steads to four warmed plates and cover loosely with foil to retain heat while preparing the sauce.
- Add Cognac to the hot skillet, then carefully ignite. Make sure to keep a tight-fitting lid handy so the flames can be readily extinguished if needed. Allow alcohol to burn off for about 1 minute, then add the stock.
- Cook until the sauce is reduce by half, approximately 5 minutes.
- Add cream and continue to cook, stirring occasionally until thick, about another 4-6 minutes.
- Season with salt and pour the sauce over the steaks.
- Serve immediately.