RECIPES: Recipe Details

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Burgers “Au Poivre” with Stilton Cognac Spread and Watercress Salad

In our family, Steak au Poivre was always a special treat, usually reserved for a very infrequent evening out at a fancy restaurant. I adapted this recipe to be able to experience this rich delight at home, without the cost and difficulty of getting it elsewhere.


For the patties:
2 lb. ground chuck
1 ¾ teaspoons kosher salt
1/3 cup whole peppercorns, crushed coarsely
For the Stilton Cognac Spread
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 ounces Stilton cheese, crumbled
2 Tablespoons dried cranberries, chopped finely
2 Tablespoons heavy cream
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
For the watercress salad:
1 Tablespoon finely minced shallots
1 teaspoon Grey Poupon Dijon mustard
1/8 cup red wine vinegar
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup Colavita Olive oil
6 T. butter
6 T. Colavita Olive Oil
1/3 cup cognac
¾ cup heavy cream
Vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill rack
2 cups fresh watercress, cleaned and dried
6 soft unseeded kaiser rolls, split


To make the patties: In a large bowl, combine the chuck and kosher salt. Mix very gently to combine, being careful not to over mix the meat. Divide the meat into six equal portions, making a small indention in the middle to prevent the burgers from bulging. Gently coat each patty with a crust of peppercorns to coat both sides. Set aside. To make the stilton cognac spread: In a medium bowl, mix cream cheese, stilton, cranberries, heavy cream, and salt. Stir to combine and set aside. To make the watercress salad: In a medium bowl, whisk together the shallots, mustard, wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, and salt. Pour into a pint jar or other similar container. Add olive oil, and shake to emulsify the dressing. Set aside. Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium high. Preheat a fireproof skillet on the grill to medium-high heat. Add the butter and olive oil to the pan. As soon as they begin to turn golden, gently place the patties in the pan to sear the peppercorns, about 1-2 minutes. Flip and repeat for both sides. Remove the patties from the pan and set aside. Carefully remove the pan to a safe and open area- add the cognac and ignite it using a long match. Allow the flames to die down before returning the pan to the grill. Add the heavy cream, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce for 5-6 minutes or until thick. Remove the pan from heat and set aside. Brush the grill rack with oil. Remove the pan from the heat and place patties on the grill to complete cooking. Check after 1-2 minutes, and took until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of the patties registers about 160 degrees F (for medium). During the last 2 minutes of grilling the patties, place the rolls, cut side down, on the grill to toast. In a large bowl, add watercress. Dress it lightly with the vinegar dressing and mix with tongs. To assemble the burgers, dip each burger into the cream/cognac mixture and place the patties to the bottoms of the rolls. Top each burger with about 1/3 cup of the watercress salad. Spread a generous amount of the stilton spread onto the top of each bun and add to the top of the burger. Makes 6 burgers