Peppercorn sauces are a classic accompaniment to steaks…the Steak au Poivre is one of my favorites. But you don’t have to limit this great sauce to steaks. Obviously a peppercorn cream sauce would go great with most other red meats, but I like also like it with chicken and even some fish dishes.
Here's a quick recipe video for a simple version of peppercorn cream sauce. It’s great exactly as is, but you can also change it up with the addition of different herbs, or even mushrooms!!
Ingredients for Peppercorn Cream Sauce
- Brandy or cognac – Quarter cup
- Brown or beef stock – third cup
- Heavy cream – third cup
- Fresh ground pepper
Recipe Overview & Keys to Success
This sauce is best made in a pan that you just finished cooking meat in that still had the brown bit stuck to the bottom. The meat juices that crystallize on the bottom of the pan lend a great flavor base for the sauce, and if possible you should start there. If you do end up starting with a clean pan, I’d suggest sautéing a shallot and garlic clove until they are soft, so you get a bit of additional flavor from them before starting with the steps below
The others keys to a peppercorn sauce:
- Make sure you let the liquids reduce to the right level, to concentrate their flavor and get the right consistency
- Scrape up all those great pan drippings and get them dissolved in the sauce
- It’s best if you can use coarsely ground pepper – as opposed to finely ground
Cooking the Peppercorn Sauce
- In the pan you just roasted steaks in (or chicken, or whatever) deglaze the pan with the brandy or cognac. Note it’s best to do this with the pan away from the flame, as the alcohol will ignite. Be prepared for the flames, they will dissipate in 20 – 60 seconds. If needed, cover the flames with the lid of the pan to extinguish them.
- Let the brandy reduce by half, scraping up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan
- Add in the beef stock, stir to combine, and again let reduce by half
- Add in the cream, stir to combine, and once again, let it reduce by half, or until it reaches the desired consistency
The cream mellows out the heat of the pepper and the brandy gives a great winey/alcohol taste and make this sauce just terrific. Hope you make it soon.