Savor Dakota Fall: SD Bison Filet au Poivre

Last Updated by Melissa Sievers on
Bison Filet au Poivre and Root Vegetable Mash
SDPB 2016

Sizzling steak is a sound that makes many people salivate.  Imagine adding a four pepper cracked crust to your cut of choice.  Michael Johnson, manager and chef at The Pheasant Restaurant and Lounge offers this recipe as the weather cools this fall.  Bison is used in this presentation, but another hearty cut of deer or elk would also be appropriate.

Bison Filet au Poivre and Root Vegetable Mash.South Dakota Public Broadcasting 2016

Simple Four-Pepper SD Bison Filet au Poivre

By Michael Johnson, Pheasant Restaurant and Lounge Chef & Manager

As seen on Savor Dakota Episode 3: Fall



4 six-ounce bison tenderloin steaks

Kosher salt

A couple handfuls of four or five-peppercorn blend, whole

1 TBSP unsalted butter

1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup Cognac, plus a teaspoon

3/4 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup homemade beef (or bison) stock

(Optional:1 TBSP Dijon mustard, stirred into the cream)



Cut bison, beef or game tenderloin into six or eight-ounce medallions, about 1½ inches thick. Moderately salt the steaks (all sides) and let them rest at room temperature for 45 minutes before cooking. If using a lean meat such as bison, game, or grass-fed beef, massage the steak with extra virgin olive oil to tenderize after salting.

Coarsely crush the peppercorns with a mortar and pestle, by smacking them with a cast iron skillet, or double-bag them and use a hammer on a hard surface. Spread the coarsely cracked peppercorns evenly into a pie pan or on a plate. Press the steaks into the peppercorns until they generously coat the steaks. Use some pressure so that the peppercorns do not dislodge during cooking. (You will likely not use all of the peppercorns.)

Set flame to medium/medium-high and melt olive oil and butter in a skillet. As soon as pan just begins to shimmer and lightly smoke, carefully place the steaks in the skillet. Cook to medium-rare. Pour out any excess oil and butter, being careful not to lose the crusty bits left in the pan.

Remove the skillet from the burner and pour in Cognac or brandy. Return skillet to medium heat and ignite the alcohol with a grill lighter. Carefully “wiggle” the pan and quickly extinguish flames when they begin to subside. Ladle in homemade stock and cream, and bring to a gentle boil, whisking in the crusty bits until the sauce incorporates, reduces slightly and thickens enough to coat a spoon. Do not scorch the cream. Sprinkle in a teaspoon of Cognac/brandy to season, and stir. 

Plate the steaks and spoon the sauce over them.

Serve with a bold California Cabernet and mashed root vegetables or sautéed fresh garden veggies.

You may view Michael and MJ cooking this dish together at  Click here for a direct link.