Steak au poivre

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Firstly, buy two lovely fillet steaks.  Beef fillet, of course.

I know that it’s not fashionable to promote supermarket meat, but M & S steaks are consistently delicious, or if you live in Darlington, either Pittaways or Yarm Road Morrisons are reliably good.

Chop a clove of garlic and sprinkle it over the steaks with a grind of pepper and a couple of tablespoons of olive oil.  Let it come to room temperature.

Now, quarter some smallish potatoes and put them in a hot oven with some whole garlic cloves, olive oil and salt.  I’d really recommend using those black non-stick sheets on your roasting tin as they make washing up easier.  Set your timer for half an hour from now.

Put your green beans on to boil immediately if you like them French-style soft.  Add another clove of garlic if you like.

Meanwhile, chop an small onion into teeny tiny pieces and slice about 100g mushrooms.  When the potatoes are almost done, switch off the green beans and leave them in the hot water.

Foam up a decent knob of butter in a hot frying pan and add the onion.  Let it frazzle for about two minutes, then add the mushrooms and cook for a further two minutes.

Push all of this to the side of the pan and turn the heat up to maximum.  Add the steaks and sear for 3 minutes.  Turn over, and stir the mushroom-onion mix a little too.  When the B side has had 3 minutes, put the steaks into a large bowl, cover with a plate and set aside.

Keep the heat up and add a small glass of cognac to the pan.  Stir and frazzle for a few seconds before adding a quarter of a pint of water.  Keep the heat high and add a teaspoonful of mustard and a teaspoonful of ground peppercorns.  Let it bubble for about a minute before adding a little salt and 3 tablespoons of double cream.  The longer you let it bubble, the thicker it becomes.  When it looks right, pour in the juices which have escaped the meat and check the seasoning.  Put it all together and sprinkle with parsley.

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