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Recipe for rare fillet steaks with a green peppercorn and cream sauce

fillet_steak_with_green_peppercorn_cream_sauce

Fillet steak with green peppercorn cream sauce

I spotted a fillet of beef joint on the Tesco butcher’s counter. It had a good dark colour and I reckoned that it would taste great. As a payday treat I asked for two small fillet steaks about 2cm/0.8 inches deep. I rushed home with the bounty – Danny would cook the steaks and I’d make the green peppercorn and cream sauce.

Green peppercorns are sold ‘wet’ in small jars of brine. They are crunchy and reasonably hot but don’t have the kick of dried black peppercorns. I love them.

One of the easiest sauces to make is a cream sauce. It can be whipped up in literally seconds and can give a deluxe feel to a simple dish such as a steak or fillet of fish. I discovered this by mistake when I was experimenting with sauces for fillets of plaice. I poured some double cream into a frying pan and stirring for just 30 seconds, it thickened before my eyes.

I’ve been planning to make a green peppercorn and cream sauce for weeks. Initially I thought that it would be a great sauce for roasted duck breasts. This idea is still waiting in the wings for duck breasts to turn up on offer or the CFC*. Meanwhile, fillet steak would be a perfect alternative as it does not have the depth of flavour as a sirloin or rump steak.

CFC* Condemned food counter

Recipe for rare fillet steaks with a green peppercorn and cream sauce
Recipe Type: Main
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
Total time: 20 mins
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • The steaks:
  • 2 fillet steaks – weighing roughly 330g/11 ozs
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • A good dash of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 level teaspoon of garlic granules
  • The sauce:
  • 150ml/5 fluid ozs/a quarter of a pint of double cream
  • 2 heaped teaspoons of green peppercorns – rinsed and drained
Instructions
  1. Tips and tricks for frying perfect rare fillet steaks:
  2. Let your steaks get to room temperature before you cook them. If you like rare fillet steak you want it to be warm and rare in the middle not cold and rare. This should take an hour or so out of the fridge at normal room temperature.
  3. Pour a tablespoon of olive oil onto a plate. Season this with freshly ground black pepper and a level teaspoon of garlic granules – you could use a quarter teaspoon of sea salt as an alternative. Coat both sides of the steaks with this mixture.
  4. Heat the frying pan (do not put oil in the pan) over a medium heat until it has heated up (about 5 mins – a drop of olive oil flicked into the pan should sizzle and jump).
  5. Fry the steaks for a minute each side and then put them in a warm place to rest for at least 5 minutes. A piece of foil or waxed kitchen paper over the steaks with a towel on top will keep the steaks cosy. This resting process is essential as the meat relaxes and becomes more tender and succulent.
  6. The green pepper and cream sauce:
  7. Take the frying pan that has been used for the steaks – no need to clean as any juices will add to the flavour of the sauce.
  8. Add the cream, garlic granules and two heaped teaspoons of green peppercorns. Stir until the sauce thickens.
  9. When ready to serve, place the steaks on warm plates (not hot!) pour over the green peppercorn and cream sauce and serve.
  10. This sauce will keep warm for a few minutes if you take it off the heat and put a lid on or a suitably sized heated plate.

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14 Comments

  1. Veronica

    Yum, this sauce is a standby in our house! It does work well with beef and duck, but it brightens up dull chicken as well.

  2. Looks delicious. I have made a similar sauce to this and added a little bit of brandy. Yummy!

  3. steve h

    I think even I could manage this one!! – but, is there a substitute for the green peppercorns? – I dont think they will have made it to this outpost yet!

  4. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Veronica

    That’s a great idea using the sauce on chicken – I didn’t think of that.

    Chez – Brandy sounds good, especially sploshed in before the cream. Thanks.

    steve h – Where do you live? I got mine in a jar from Tesco (99p). Thinking about it if you can get hold of dried pink peppercorns – muvh milder than black – break them up inside a clean tea towel by hitting them with a rolling pin, they should work well. Either marinade the steaks with the pink peppercorns added for a few hours before cooking or to a little white wine/cider to deglaze the frying pan before adding the cream.

  5. Jobless Pilot

    We make something similar (when we’re feeling flush), but instead of cooking the peppercorns, we drain and crush them in a morter and pestle, then mix them into double cream with lemon juice. The saltiness of the brine is offset by the lemon, and the acidity tends to thicken up the cream as well.

    Alternately, after frying the steaks, crush up some green peppercorns and fry them in the pan with a generous slosh of brandy. Then add some halved physallis (Cape Gooseberries – all the supermarkets carry these) and fry for a minute or two (until the physallis are soft). Then add double cream and cook, stirring continuously over a low heat, until the sauce has thickened. Absolutely plate-lickingly amazing, especially with some chunky chips and broccoli to soak up the excess sauce! This works best in a non-skillet pan (i.e. without the ridged base), as it’s easier to get every last drop of sauce out.

    • Fiona Nevile

      Wow, Jobless Pilot, the cape gooseberry twist sounds fabulous – must try this.

      I grew cape gooseberries here a couple of years ago. They were easy to grow.

      • Jobless Pilot

        They used to grow wild, back in SA. We tried growing them in the UK, but didn’t have much luck – perhaps in a greenhouse (ours curled up their toes at the frosts)?

        In South Africa, if you talk about gooseberries, most people will assume you mean physalis – the green, furry things are unknown there. You can make an amazing tea-like concoction out of physalis, but I’ve never managed to get this right; it’s good for coughs etc (rather like honey & lemon). I believe physalis is the same family as tomatillos, FWIW.

      • Fiona Nevile

        Mine didn’t survive the winter but I started them off early and got a lot of fruit before the first frosts – well worth growing. Like the sound of that drink too.

        You can’t beat gooseberries for flavour and sauce for fatty meats

  6. Charlotte Rhodes

    This looks absolutely delicious, it’s making my stomach churn in hunger. I think I can very well handle this. I am bookmarking this for this weekend’s dinner with family. Cheers for the recipe!

  7. Petal

    Re CFC. Don’t you just love the creativity a CFC item inspires? I have had many adventures with these items and very few disasters :)

    • Fiona Nevile

      Hello Petal, Your comment has inspired me to write yet another post on CFC finds! I always go to the various stations before I start my shop.

  8. steve h

    Thanks F! – will have to take my glasses when I pop-up to Tesco! I`m thinking of doing this for Sunday, with the first New potatoes, baby Carrots and Peas from the allotment!

    • Fiona Nevile

      Hi steve h – Your meal sounds delish! I think that I found them in the section where you can find pickled garlic and chillies etc…

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