Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.


Don't set the kitchen on fire.

On and off over the years I have been making a version of pepper steak that has been both easy and extremely yummy.

I always use the same brand of green pickled peppercorns from St Maur in France. They come in a small tin. I use the whole tin for two steaks - I do like my peppercorns, but it would actually be sufficient for six.

I tried to google the brand* but couldn't find it, but in doing so, I came across all these steak au poivre recipes that said I'd been doing it wrong all these years. For example, you're apparently supposed to remove the steaks and flambe the pan juices only. I always flambe the actual steaks.

Whatever. Mine's easy and still tastes great, and anyway, who am I, Paul Bocuse or Alain Ducasse? No. I am a lazy kitchen hand and sometimes I take shortcuts.

However, I found a recipe in Dave's Pepper Pages at under Pepper Profiles which seemed to confirm that the way I do it is at least ... done by someone else. If that means anything.

(Oh for God's sake get on with the recipe.)


First I sear the steaks in olive oil and a little butter. (I do one first and then throw the second in at the last minute - while T. likes her beef well-done, which I call burnt, I prefer to just walk the cow through the kitchen if you know what I mean.)

Then I toss a good dash** of brandy (I use this) into the pan and shake over the heat source.

The pan will erupt in flames which will impress your guests no end, or frighten the life out of your partner or dog should they be present and unaware of what you are about to do. It will also set your frilly cafe curtains ablaze should you happen to have such too close to the stove.

Shake your pan around as the flames die away then toss in the peppercorns, complete with the brine, another no-no, apparently. I find the brine in the small tin actually holds some of the heat of the peppercorns. Then toss in your cream, half a cup or less according to taste. I usually use tongs to 'sweep' the steaks around the pan, combining all the cream and juices; then remove the steaks to plates and after another minute or so of reducing, pour the sauce over the top.

Good with green beans and potatoes done any way.

*Couldn't find the brand then realised the can bears no actual brand that I could make out - the label says (ungrammatically): 'Green Peppercorns in its natural stage' with the following print beneath: ETS. MOULIN SAS 34 AV. PESSOT F 94100 ST MAUR. Imported by Manassen Foods 490 Victoria St Wetherill Park NSW 2164 Australia. Maybe 'ETS' is the brand. And maybe it isn't.

**I used to pour it straight from the bottle, but this could cause the entire bottle to explode if you're not careful then it won't matter a jot how well-done or rare your steaks are.

PS: I can't believe I'm blogging with footnotes.

1 comment:

jim in Myrtle Beach said...

i too have been trying to find the same "brand" of green peppercorns. i found about six cans at a Williams-Sonoma store outside of Las Vegas. bought them all. W-S doesn't seem to have them in their catalog - so must have been a "special purchase" for their retail outlet(s).
your steak recipe sounds good to me - i do something similar - but use burgundy. i DRINK my cognac.