Chef John's Steak Diane


Steak Diane was a staple on menus in fine dining establishments back in the day. Prepared tableside where the server ignited the cognac, it was an impressive sight. You don't need to flame the cognac; just keeping it on the heat will eventually evaporate the alcohol. But be careful--it can still flare up if the heat's high enough when you're reducing the sauce.

Prep Time:
15 mins
Cook Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
30 mins
2 servings



  • ½ cup demi-glace

  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste

  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper


  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil

  • 2 (8 ounce) beef tenderloin steaks, fully trimmed, pounded to 1/2 inch thick

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small chunks

  • 3 tablespoons shallot, minced

  • ¼ cup Cognac or brandy

  • ¼ cup heavy cream

  • 2 teaspoons sliced fresh chives


  1. Season steaks generously on both sides with salt. Allow steaks to come to room temperature while you make the sauce.

  2. Stir together demi-glace (see Cook's Note), mustard, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, and cayenne pepper in a bowl.

  3. Heat oil in a skillet over very high heat, swirling carefully to evenly cover surface. When oil reaches a smoking point, transfer steaks to oil; add a few chunks of butter. Sear meat on high heat until brown on each side, 2 to 3 minutes per side; keep them on the rare side. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read 125 degrees F (52 degrees C). Transfer steaks to a warm plate.

  4. Stir shallots into skillet; cook until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat; pour in Cognac. Carefully ignite with a fireplace lighter. When alcohol burns off and flames go out, return skillet to high heat and bring to a boil; cook, stirring, a few minutes to reduce slightly. Add demi-glace mixture, cream, and any accumulated juices from the steak. Cook on high heat just until sauce starts to thicken, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer steaks back to pan and reduce heat to low. Gently simmer until meat is heated through and cooked to your desired level of doneness.

  5. Transfer to hot plates and serve with a generous spoonful or two of sauce. Sprinkle with chives.

Cook's Note:

You can substitute top sirloin steaks for the tenderloin steaks.

You can substitute 2 cups rich, low-sodium or salt-free chicken broth for the 1/2 cup demi-glace. It will take longer to reduce.

You don't need to flame the cognac as the alcohol will evaporate as it cooks on the stove. But be careful--it can still flare up if the heat's high enough when you're reducing the sauce.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

1050 Calories
55g Fat
44g Carbs
71g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 2
Calories 1050
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 55g 70%
Saturated Fat 24g 119%
Cholesterol 247mg 82%
Sodium 2593mg 113%
Total Carbohydrate 44g 16%
Dietary Fiber 3g 9%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 71g
Vitamin C 6mg 31%
Calcium 107mg 8%
Iron 9mg 48%
Potassium 918mg 20%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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