MAKING THE PERFECT PEPPERCORN SAUCE

PUBLISHED: 16:15 23 January 2017 | UPDATED: 12:15 30 August 2017

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Ewen Macdonald comes up with the ideal antidote to the cold weather with his perfect peppercorn sauce

The classic use for this sauce is with steak au poivre but the fundamental basics of its creation, as in common with many French sauces, can be pimped and pressganged into alternative service.

As with any culinary endeavour the rules are made to be broken by the use of cunning intuition and intelligence, not to mention tastebuds. Turn this basic, quick and exciting recipe into your own signature sauce. This sauce is not just for steak, but for anytime. Always remember that the secret ingredient in any home cooking is versatility. It’s your house, it’s your kitchen, own that recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 Knob of Cornish Butter
  • 1 Banana Shallot
  • 100ml / Small Glass Dry
  • White Wine
  • 200ml of Vegetable Stock
  • 1 Tablespoon of Green
  • Peppercorns
  • 1 Tablespoon of Pink
  • Peppercorns
  • 1 Teaspoon of Black Peppercorns
  • 50ml Cornish Double Cream
  • 1 Handful of Basil
  • Cornish Sea Salt
Method

  1. Melt your butter in with your olive oil in a sauté or frying pan, on a low heat (using oil ensures the butter won’t burn). Finely chop your shallot and add it to the pan and cook until translucent, be careful not to burn it, then add your glass of dry white wine (keep to the Cornish theme and use something from a Cornish vineyard) . The golden rule in using wine in a recipe is; if you won’t drink it don’t cook with it. Reduce the wine down until it emulsifies with the oil and butter and all of the alcohol has evaporated. You want a sour and tangy tartness to the sauce, not a raw taste of alcohol.
  2. While you are cooking these ingredients crush your peppercorns in a pestle and mortar. Crush the black peppercorns thoroughly first then add the green and pink peppercorns, efficiently crushing these too, but leaving a few whole for aesthetic purposes. If you are using mixed peppercorns crush them all up together. Alternatively, simply crush your pink and\or green peppercorns in the pestle and mortar and then grind the black pepper into the sauce as you might do normally.
  3. Add the peppercorns to the shallots and wine and allow to infuse their scent before pouring in your vegetable stock. Depending on the use of your sauce you could of course add chicken, beef or even lamb stock. Just make sure the stock that you use is the best quality you can buy, or make.
  4. Leave the sauce on a low simmer and reduce the stock by half, then add the double cream. Season with some salt, taste and adjust as necessary. As a finishing touch add some finely chopped basil. I prefer the sauce to be on the more viscous side, but if you require a looser sauce simply reduce less or add more stock.

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