Classic pepper sauce is on the table this week. It's a classic sauce for a reason, no matter what it never grows old! Rich, creamy, bold punchy flavours and a little brandy kick - damn now I wanna whip some up and I only just ate it the other day 😉 Read on, to see how I make mine and what I serve it with (STEAK!)
PEPPER SAUCE INGREDIENTS
Pepper - I use 2 types of pepper in this recipe. Green peppercorns are chopped up and a good grind of fresh black pepper too.
Brandy - 50ml does the job. Is it "essential"? You can defo make it without BUT the extra kick is worth it. Just swing around your parents and raid the drinks cabinet if you have none 😉 REMEMBER to burn off the alcohol and watch your eyebrows when doing so!
Beef Stock - about 200ml will do you here to make enough for 4-6 people. Adds great richness and flavour to the dish. Can you use veg stock? Yep, but try to stick with beef for the richness & flavour.
Cream - it wouldn't be a creamy pepper sauce without it, would it? Full fat all the way.
Sour Cream - the slightly tart flavour helps add acidity to the dish and thicken it up too. For me, classic pepper sauce without it just isn't as good.
Butter - does it need an intro? Everything but your waistline is better with butter 😉
Herbs - thyme is my go-to herb for the recipe but if you don't have any a little sprinkling of dried herbs like oregano or mixed herbs will do the trick!
Garlic - a single clove will do here. If you are a fan then go ahead and chuck another one in. Just make sure you crush that baby up.
HOW TO MAKE PEPPERCORN SAUCE
I like to make mine in advance and reheat it. The reason being is I can sit back, relax, and enjoy a glass (bottle) of wine during the process instead of frantically rushing around the kitchen. BUT, sometimes I am running late, the kid is being a kid and I need to make the sauce on the fly. I think that's what is the best part about this sauce is you can have it ready in about 10 minutes.
Option 1 is to have a saucepan on the side and saute the garlic in butter for a minute, flambe the brandy (as shown in pic), reduce it to 1/2 and then add the pepper, herbs, and stock to the saucepan. Cook this for 3-4 minutes and then add the cream and sour cream and cook it on a high simmer for 6 - 8 minutes or reduced to your liking. All you need to do is reheat it in a saucepan or even the microwave when ready.
Option 2 is basically the same except using the pan you fried the steak in. The sauce will cook a little quicker here as the frying pan has a wider base so the liquids will reduce quicker. The benefit of this is less cleaning to do and a little extra juicy steak flavours from the pan. Disadvantages are you need to be organised so yous steak doesn't go cold and you can't drink as much wine during that period 😉
CAN YOU FREEZE CLASSIC PEPPER SAUCE
Isn't that always the Q with milk or cream-based recipes. The short answer is yes, you can. It may split a little when defrosting but once you heat it up (gently) and stir it then it starts to look "normal" again. Truthfully though unless you make a MASSIVE portion you won't need to! It will keep safe to eat in the fridge for about 3 days. Looks like steak twice in one-week #winning
WHAT CAN YOU EAT WITH CLASSIC PEPPER SAUCE?
Steak is the simplest and easiest answer. A good piece of beef cooked medium-rare and you are SORTED. But, that's not all that peppercorn sauce works well with. Simply over some grilled veg like broccolini or carrots. Slathered over a grilled chicken breast or with some pork tenderloin too. A fav of mine is over a baked potato, topped with bacon bits and cheese!
The pairing isn't necessarily for the sauce but more the sauce and the steak! It's hard to pair a wine just with a sauce. Probably because it's been a while I just ate sauce for dinner 😉
So the classic pairing with pepper sauce is a juicy steak. When I cook up a juicy steak I usually look for a nice Aussie shiraz! Recently I was in South Australia, found TONS of wines & wineries that now take centre stage in my cellar. In fact, I would probably say two-thirds of my wines are from SA. With that being said Manser Family Wines were one of the great wines I discovered on my trip. They don't have a cellar door but a good friend Daniel O'Connell whose uncles and Grandfather are the custodians of the vines got me onto them and I haven't looked back. Dan has a particular sense of pride in the Block 4 Shiraz as he and the family picked the fruit for the first vintage released in 2016 of this lovely Shiraz after the Manser’s took over custody of the vines. Rated 96 points from Sam Kim, it defo piqued my interest immediately. I can see why after having about 5 bottles of the stuff at this stage (not as I write this - although that would make for a fun piece!).
The wine is full-bodied. It's not for the faint-hearted. But, I think that's why it works so damn well with the bold flavours of the steak and classic pepper sauce. Decanting it is defo advisable. Probably about the same time you take the steak from the fridge to come to temp will do. You get tons of good black and blue fruit, a nice spiciness, and a little mint on the back palate too. It's rich, complex, enjoyable and one that'll keep on giving. Grab yourself a dozen, drink one ASAP to form your opinion, and then cellar a few for 10 years and drink a wine that would/should cost double the current rrp. You can also grab it along with 11 other stunning reds as part of “The Tasting Panel's Swag of Splendiferousness” pack, while stocks last of course.
OTHER SAUCE RECIPES
Some other classic and "new age" sauce recipes that I LOVE with steak are....
Chimichurri by Yours Truly
Mushroom Brandy Sauce by Cynthia McLoud Woodman of 'What A Girl Eats'
Miso Steak Sauce by Yours Truly
Chermoula Sauce by Tania Sheff of 'Cooktoria'
Anchovy Caper Salsa by Yours Truly
Horseradish Butter by Yours Truly
SIDE DISHES TO GO WITH STEAK & CLASSIC PEPPER SAUCE
Crispy Smashed Potatoes by Yours Truly
Thermobextas Potato Bake by Bec Allum of 'Thermobexta'
Grilled Asparagus w/ Lemon & Dukkah by Yours Truly
Artichoke & Potato Sala w/ Creme Fraiche by Phenie Ooi of 'The Devil Wears Salad'
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Happy Cooking & Happy Eating Friends!!
- 200 ml beef stock
- 100 ml heavy cream
- 50 ml brandy
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 2 tbsp sour cream
- 1 clove garlic crushed
- 1 knob butter
- 1-2 tbsp green peppercorns
- salt & pepper
- In a saucepan cook the garlic in butter on medium heat - 1 minute
- Add brandy and flambe, reduce liquid by half - see tips/tricks
- Add green peppercorns, thyme, stock, salt/pepper and cook for 3 - 4 minutes until reduced
- Add sour cream & cream and cook on medium heat for 6 - 8 minutes until reduced to your liking. Remove thyme and serve!
- wooden spoon
- measuring utensils
- to flambe is to light the alcohol on fire. Be VERY careful as it will flame up quickly. Stand back and watch those eyebrows!
- you can make the sauce without brandy if you don't want the alcohol but it defo adds more flavour
- dried herbs will work well if you don't have fresh thyme