I've reached a point where I am very comfortable with a nice red wine/shallot reduction as a pan sauce for my strip roasts/steaks. I think I remember have a meal once where they served sliced tenderloin with a white sauce. I imagine it was cream based but I don't often see this combination.

I was wondering if there was hope for throwing together a cream based sauce and if so if anyone had an idea of what base (mother or otherwise) sauce would be a good jumping off point for experimentation?

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    So I ended up making my porterhouses tonight with the Bearnaise sauce. It didn't seem like that great of a sauce until paired with the meat. Wow it went great. Everyone was happy. Will have to try some of the other suggestions next time! – Brian Aug 6 '11 at 2:19
  • Mind posting the recipe in your question? With an update? – chrisjlee Aug 7 '11 at 17:20

You may have been served Bearnaise, which is a common red meat sauce. Bearnaise is based on Hollandaise (a mother sauce), a butter based sauce. Hollandaise is somewhat advanced to make because it is important to keep the temperature right and the ratios correct while making it, but the result is worth the effort.

  • Yeah, excellent, I've done hollandaise before and had good success, flavor was a bit off (too much lemon I think) I'll consult my books on this variation and give it a try. Thanks! – Brian Aug 4 '11 at 23:54

My spousal unit taught me to to make cream-based sauces with the drippings when pan-frying steaks.

Something like:

  • Remove meat to stand
  • Throw in a few green peppercorns or capers
  • Deglaze with a little brandy (not too much, if you need more liquid use hot water)
  • Add cream, turn off the heat and stir until thickened.

You can vary the spice and deglazing agent almost endlessly.

Now I have a hard time walking away from dripping without doing something with them.

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    Yes I agree, I feel that thrown out drippings are quite a waste. I've even shied away from the grill with steaks in favor of sous vide + cast iron finish. It's tough to beat the best! – Brian Aug 5 '11 at 12:58

I don't see Steak Diane here, so I'll add that. The sauce is prepared from the pan juices, using butter, shallots, cream, and Worcestershire sauce, and flambéed with brandy. Sometimes with mushrooms too.

Pepper corns are mentioned, but no-one explicitly said Au-Poivre. Dijon, brandy/cognac, cream, sometimes shallots. Basically, as stated above, but with a formal name. I've seen this in France with and without the dried crushed peppercorns stuck to the steak. More often it's soft green peppercorns in the sauce.

Both are on every (ok, most) French cafe/brasserie type menus.

To be honest, just add a little cream to your existing sauce and you'll find it pretty delicious. Add some worcestershire sauce (quite a lot) for Diane, add some green peppercorns for Au Poivre.


My absolute favorite way to eat steak is Oscar style... To @michael's point, this is:

rib eye + asparagus + crab cake (or lump crab meat) + hollandaise... Fantastic!

  • That sounds sinful. Om nom nom. – Brian Aug 5 '11 at 13:19

Cream gravy is traditional with chicken fried steak (breaded and fried cube steak). It isn't a high-end steak cut, though. Cream gravy is basically just wisking flour into a few tablespoons of the pan drippings / leftover frying oil to make a roux, and then cream to make a white sauce, usually seasoned with salt and lots of black pepper.

Often when I see roasted cuts of beef served with a white sauce, it's a sour cream or mayo-based horseradish sauce, though.


The recipe I like to use for pepper steak features cream, and I use strip steaks for pepper steak. Once the steaks are out and resting, get rid of the fat (but not the browned bits, random fallen off peppercorns etc) in the pan, add a little butter, some finely chopped shallot, let them cook but not brown, deglaze the pan with some brandy, reduce, then a nice slug of cream. 18% or 35% is great, but I use 10% when that's what's in the house. Finish with a tablespoon more of brandy at the last minute and everyone loves it. I do fries in the oven whenever I do pepper steak and that sauce on fries ... irresistable.

  • Sounds delicious, I'll have to give this a try some time! – Brian Aug 5 '11 at 13:19

the best cream based sauce i have found in many years of cooking is caramelized onion sauce, first get a nice skillet cast iron or a old school pan...not a non stick pan.next get the skillet nice and hot med high heat slice the onions toss em in the skiilet no oil , they will stick at first ,stir with wood spoon as they start to get darker and caramelize add a touch of oil,salt &or sugar , next take about 1/4 cup of redwine/marsala/or sherry to deglaze pan then take them off the heat,in another sauce pan add a little bit of beef stock or base with about 1 quart heavy cream , add onions then reduce on med/low heat till it gets darker and the cream gets thicker a little thicker than a chowder soup base, finally put this cream mix in a blender and emulsify the onions into the sauce. it is great for steaks,venison or any other rich red meats.

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