This classic preparation is a very versatile way of preparing steak - a little more trouble than just grilling it, but a method that works equally well with a humble skillet steak or a lovely New York Strip.
I recommend crushing putting them in a frying pan, and than crushing them with the (clean!) bottom of a small or medium size pan. Pepper grinders don't have a sufficiently coarse setting.
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1 medium shallot , minced
1 cup low-sodium beef broth
¾ cup low-sodium chicken broth
¼ cup heavy cream
¼ cup brandy
1 additional tbsp brandy
1 tsp lemon juice or 1 teaspoon champagne vinegar
4 strip steaks (8 to 10 ounces each), ¾ to 1 inch thick and no larger than 3 inches at widest points, trimmed of exterior gristle
1 tbsp black peppercorns , crushed
- Saute shallots in 1 tbsp of butter in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat until softened, about 2 minutes. Add beef and chicken broths, increase heat to high, and boil until reduced to about 1/2 cup, about 8 minutes. Set reduced broth mixture aside. Rinse and wipe out skillet.
- Sprinkle both sides of steaks with salt; spread crushed peppercorns on one side of each steak, pressing the crushed pieces into the steak so they would adhere.
- Heat skillet over medium heat for about four minutes - enough that the skillet has enough heat to brown the steaks. Lay steaks unpeppered-side down in hot skillet, increase heat to medium-high, and cook steaks without moving them until well-browned, about 6 minutes. Flip steaks and cook on peppered side, about 3 minutes longer for rare, about 4 minutes longer for medium-rare, or about 5 minutes longer for medium. Transfer steaks to large plate and tent loosely with foil to keep warm.
- Pour reduced broth, cream, and ¼ cup brandy into now-empty skillet; increase heat to high and bring to boil, scraping pan bottom with wooden spoon to loosen the fond. Simmer until deep golden brown and thick enough to heavily coat back of metal tablespoon or soup spoon, about 5 minutes. Off heat, whisk in remaining 3 tablespoons butter, remaining 1 tablespoon brandy, lemon juice, and any accumulated meat juices. Adjust seasonings with salt.
- Set steaks on individual dinner plates, spoon portion of sauce over steaks, and serve immediately.