Burger Au Poivre
This Burger Au Poivre takes the sumptuous and creamy brandy peppercorn sauce found in a traditional Steak Au Poivre and marries it with the juicy texture of a cast iron cooked sirloin burger. The sauce comes together in less than 30 minutes using freshly ground peppercorns, shallot, thyme, cream, and brandy. Served on a soft brioche roll with a bed of arugula, the Burger Au Poivre will satisfy for any fall supper.Jump to Recipe
Ode to a French Turk
This foodie short story is about the man of my house. His father is Turkish, and was born in Istanbul. His father came to New York and had a successful commercial photography business for many years. My boyfriend was born in the city (New York), and raised in Astoria, Queens, where my mother calls her hometown, as does Christopher Walken, whose family ran the famous Walken Bakery in Astoria for years. Good neighbors. My fella’s mother is of Armenian descent, but was born in Paris and was French inside and out.
Even though she married a Turkish man and became expert in the making of those dishes, her culinary trajectory was 100% French. I have before spoken of the brief Napoleanic connection to my own Croatian heritage. A whole 17 years of French rule! However, it is his maternal family’s roots that bring me here today. He spent summers as a child in the south of France, climbed many a mountain, ate many a ratatouille, and spoke in French as his first language, all while not having a drop of French blood, or so his French relatives always reminded his mother.
Before meeting him, I cherished what I knew of French cooking and baking, but had not yet discovered a lot in my life, culturally or culinarily, until he waltzed on by. With him, I ate my first Steak Tartare, learned about the “French style” of cooking (even when paired with Turkish flavors), and discovered a great love of tarts, both sweet and savory, previously unbeknownst to me.
More than that, this guy loves burgers. LOVES. Often when I come home, he is watching some random YouTube video or another about burgers: burgers in New York, where we live, burgers being made by famous chefs, burger styles being pitted against each other (the smashburger he loves vs. the thick pub burger I call my favorite), and the like.
The recipe for Burger Au Poivre is by no means the first to come along. Steak Au Poivre has been around for years, due to the French and to those who keep their traditions going in big city restaurants and quaint bistros all over the globe. Recently, the Americana in all of us has joined the beast of burger with the luxurious, peppercorn-cream based sauce that is Au Poivre.
A Joint Effort
My boyfriend was sure to notice. He had never been to Raoul’s in New York, where the Burger Au Poivre has gained some notoriety of late. He wanted to try it himself. He has a natural way with prepping burgers, and searing, grilling, and frying meats of all varieties. As he says, he’s a protein guy.
I wanted to help, and loved the simplicity of the black peppercorn based flavors, swirling in the pan along with some of the best things in life: butter, cream, thyme, shallots, brandy. We added beef stock to ours as well for a more earthy depth of flavor when combined with the heavy cream. We kept it simple and served on a buttery Challah bun with no cheese (for now), along with a mesclun salad and a few cornichons for a little crunch.
Heavy on the sauce.
That sauce is everything French, and for him, everything he knows from being Turkish, Armenian, French, American, and a New Yorker.
Deliciousness has no country…
… but, if it did, the French would own a lot of land there that they’d be happy to rent to us for a somewhat reasonable price.
Enjoy this Burger Au Poivre!
Burger Au Poivre
- Cast iron skillet
- 1 lb ground sirloin (the steak au poivre uses filet mignon, so go big)
- 2 diced shallots
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp peppercorns, whole
- 1 tsp salt (be cautious here, since you can over salt when using beef stock)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 cup beef stock
- 1/2 cup brandy/cognac
- ½ cup cream
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme
- 2 soft, buttery buns (Challah, Brioche are great)
- (Side dish) Mesclun salad dressed with mustard vinaigrette,or fries, or whatever you like best
- Pack the ground sirloin into two 1/2 lb burgers. Form them well, but not too tightly. Let them breathe a little. Chop the shallots, thyme, and mince the garlic.
- If a mortar and pestle is available, crush the black peppercorns, but leave many whole so they are all different sizes, in order to achieve a variant pungency (his words).
- Heavily pepper the burgers on both sides and salt them, to form a little crust.
- In a wide pan with high sides (cast iron is great), warm a drizzle of olive oil and one tbsp of butter over medium high heat. Add the burgers in and sear for 4-5 minutes on each side. Set aside.
- Lower the heat to medium and add the rest of the butter. Saute the diced shallots and garlic for about a minute or so.
- Add in a handful of the peppercorns (not as much measuring here), and the beef stock and simmer for a few minutes. Add the brandy and raise the heat to cook off the alcohol for a few minutes.
- Now, add ½ cup of the cream and keep whisking until the sauce thickens. It's a good idea to keep adding in a little more peppercorn here and there to achieve the proper "au poivre."
- Add more cream if you like the sauce on the lighter side of chestnut colored. The thyme can go at this point as well, followed by the burgers.
- As the burgers finish in the sauce for a couple minutes, make sure to baste them with the now luscious sauce.
- Toast the buns lightly and serve the burgers with additional sauce on top. The sauce should ideally and flirtatiously drip down the sides of the burger. Never too much of this good thing. French style. New York portions.