One of my favourite steak sauces – a creamy Peppercorn Sauce made with brandy or cognac, beef broth, cream and plenty of crushed peppercorns. A steakhouse classic, this sauce with juicy steak is a match made in heaven. And it’s made with just 4 ingredients. Four. FOUR!!!
In my corporate days, I frequented steakhouses quite regularly for work lunches and dinners. Steak more than any other type of restaurant, probably given the male dominated environments I worked in (not a feminist dig there, just stating a fact!).
I would always have the best intentions to “just” get a salad this time, no dessert for me and don’t bother with a bread basket.
Pfff! Bring me a big juicy steak! With peppercorn or red wine sauce!
Oh – and while you’re at it, pretty please could you bring the bread basket back? I need something to mop up the sauce!
No corporate lunches for me anymore. I make my steaks at home!
THIS CREAMY PEPPERCORN SAUCE
There are a handful of truly great sauces in this world that are deceptively simple to make, and this Creamy Peppercorn Sauce is one of them.
Essential to this steak sauce are: the pan drippings after searing the steak (it’s gold, that stuff!), brandy or cognac and peppercorns – either fresh crushed (my preference) or canned green peppercorns (for less heat).
The alcohol brings incredible depth of flavour to the sauce, it’s the secret ingredient. Classic creamy peppercorn sauce is made cognac or brandy, but I’ve made this plenty of times with marsala too. I love ’em all!
PS Note how I’m searing the sides of the steak ↑↑↑ Always sear the fat strip. Nobody likes a big fat rubbery strip of fat on their steak!
QUICK FOR MIDWEEK!!
This is a quick dinner. Real quick. In a smoking hot skillet, a 2cm / 4/5″ New York Strip / Porterhouse (pictured) takes 5 – 6 minutes, then the sauce takes 3 – 4 minutes while the steak rests.
Serve it up with Crispy Smashed Potatoes and a quick Garlic Spinach side (I popped the recipe in the notes 😇) – Nagi x
PS It’s worth getting a decent steak for this one. If you get a really good value economy steak, try my Steak Marinade instead – it will tenderise and add subtle flavour. 🙂
One of the best steak sauces in this world! It's super simple because it's made using the steak drippings and either brandy or cognac. The alcoholic taste is cooked out and you're left with an amazing sweet/savoury/creamy sauce with great depth of flavour and beautiful pops of heat from the peppercorns. Use crushed black peppercorns for spicier or canned green peppercorns for more mild heat. Recipe video below.
- 2 x 300g/10oz New York Strip / Porterhouse steaks (or other of choice, Note 1)
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1/3 cup / 85 ml brandy or cognac (or marsala) (Note 2)
- 3/4 cup / 185 ml beef broth , low sodium (important! Note 3)
- 1/2 cup / 125 ml heavy / thickened cream
- 2 - 3 tsp coarsely crushed whole black peppercorns (or canned green peppercorns, drained) (Note 4)
Take the steaks out of the fridge 20 minutes before planning to cook.
Crush the pepper using a rolling pin, mortar and pestle or the side of a hardy knife.
Just before cooking, sprinkle both sides of steak generously with salt and black pepper.
Heat oil in a skillet over high heat until smoking.
Add steaks and cook the first side for 2 minutes until it has a great crust, then flip and cook the other side for 2 minutes (for medium rare).
Stack the steaks on top of each other, then use tongs to sear the fat strip.
Transfer to plate, cover loosely with foil to rest while you make the sauce.
Add brandy or cognac into the same skillet and let it simmer rapidly, scraping the bottom of the pan, until it has mostly reduced and you can no longer smell the harsh alcohol smell (~1 min).
Add broth, bring to simmer and let it simmer rapidly for 2 to 3 minutes or until it reduces by half.
Turn heat down to medium. Add cream and pepper, stir, then simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes until it thickens (do not let it boil rapidly).
Taste sauce, adjust salt (and pepper!) to taste.
Transfer steaks to warmed serving plates. Spoon over sauce. Serve immediately! Pictured with Crispy Smashed Potatoes and Garlic Spinach. (Note 6)
1. Use a decent quality steak for this recipe. If using a very economical steak, I'd recommend my steak marinade instead of this recipe - it will tenderise and infuse with great flavour!
2. If you can't use alcohol, use the recipe in Note 5 and instead of using brandy in step 1, add 1/4 cup of non alcoholic red wine or water.
3. Do not make this sauce with full salt beef broth. The sauce will end up too salty because it's reduced down. If you only have full salt beef stock, then follow the recipe in Note 5 (in the same skillet) and use only 1/3 cup of beef broth and add 1/3 cup of water in place of the beef broth int he recipe. The extra flavour steps will compensate for use of less broth.
4. Black peppercorns are spicier which I like for this recipe. Little pops of heat tempered by the sweetness and creaminess of the sauce. Canned green peppercorns are not as spicy and have a milder flavour.
5. Peppercorn Sauce without pan drippings - If you make the steaks on the BBQ and still want this sauce, make the recipe as follows: Melt 1.5 tbsp / 25g butter in a skillet over medium heat, add 1 tbsp very finely chopped eschallots/shallots (the small purple onions) and sauté gently for 1 minute. Then add brandy or cognac per recipe, increase heat to high. Proceed with recipe.
6. Garlic Spinach or Silverbeet: Heat olive oil in a skillet, add garlic, cook for 20 seconds, add spinach and stir until just starting to wilt. Remove, set aside, proceed with steak.
7. Nutrition is for sauce only because the nutrition of steaks varies so significantly, even for the same cut depending on how thick the fat strip is etc. The recipe makes about 3/4 cup of sauce which is enough for 2 steaks - it's rich and fairly intense flavoured so you don't need tons.
WATCH HOW TO MAKE IT
LIFE OF DOZER
Mandatory post op daily icing involves building blocks, frozen veg and Dozer with his eyes closed the whole time – “OMG it’s so cold, it’s so cold, it’s soooo cooold!!!”