Steak au poivre, with sweet brandy butter

Steak au poivre

For a special occasion this classic dish will never fail to impress. A succulent steak is coated in spicy black pepper and then topped with sweet brandy butter. Served with a buttered new potatoe and crunchy mangetouts.

You will need:

Preparation time:  30 minutes 

Cooking time:

  • 5-10 minutes for steak
  • 12-15 minutes for the potatoes
  • 3-4 minutes for the mangetout 

For the sweet brandy butter: 

  • 2 shallots, or 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 50ml (2fl oz) brandy
  • 4 tbsp sweet white wine, or dry white wine with a pinch of sugar
  • 85g (3oz) butter, softened
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tbs Dijon or English mustard
  • Salt and pepper

For the steak:

  • 2 x 175g (6oz) sirloin steak
  • 1½ tbsp black peppercorns
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 15g (½oz) butter 

For the mangetouts and potatoes: 

  • 225g (8oz) new potatoes, scrubbed
  • 30g (1oz) butter
  • Coarse sea salt
  • 175g (6oz) mangetout, trimmed 

Cook’s notes: You can make a non-alcoholic butter topping for your steak without sacrificing any of the great fast. Simply replace the brandy and wine with very finely snipped chives. Another tasty alternative to replace the brandy and wine is to add 55g (2oz) finely chopped fresh parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice to the shallots, butter and mustard mixture.

To make the sweet brandy butter

Warm the shallots or onions with the brandy then increase the heat and boil until almost dry. Add the wine and boil again to reduce until almost dry. Leave to cool.

Once the mixture is cold, beat it into the butter with the parsley and mustard. Season, cover and refrigerate until required.

To cook the steak

Crush the peppercorns roughly in a pestle and mortar or place in a paper envelope, wrap in a clean tea towel and crush with a rolling pin. Shake the crushed pepper in a sieve to release the fine powder, which makes the flavour too strong.

Sprinkle the crushed peppercorns over each side of the steak and press them into the steak with your fingers. – be quite firm to ensure a good coating. Season with salt.

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan. Add the steaks and fry for 2 minutes on each side.

Once the steaks are turned add the butter, which will become a good nutbrown as the steak continues to cook. Reduce the heat and continue to cook until the steak is done to your liking

To cook the vegetables

Place the potatoes in a pan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 12-15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.

Drain the potatoes and add the sea salt. Shake the pan to coat them evenly.

Meanwhile, bring a pan of water to the boil and add the mangetout. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until just tender then drain.

To serve 

Put the steaks on serving plates and top each one with a pat of brandy butter. Serve the new potatoes and mangetouts on the side.