STEAK AU POIVRE

@janbraai Steak au PoivreIn the recent past France has taken a lot of our best rugby players who play for the French teams on French fields. Here we are simply returning the favour by taking their favourite way of preparing steak and using the recipe in a braai way, around the braai fire! To braai steaks medium rare over very hot coals should take you about 8 minutes and to make this sauce should also take you about the same time, so if you have a big enough fire with flames and coals, the two acts can be performed simultaneously. Alternatively, make the sauce, keep it warm and then braai the steaks. I know the name of this recipe is unpronounceably difficult so you are welcome to just call it a ‘French-style pepper steak’.

WHAT YOU NEED (feeds 4)

  • 4 sirloin or porterhouse steaks (off the bone, about 350 g each)
  • 2 tots black peppercorns (or rainbow peppercorns)
  • coarse sea salt (in a grinder)
  • 2 tots butter
  • ½ cup brandy
  • 1 onion (grated or very finely chopped)
  • ½ cup beef stock (or any other stock or water)
  • 2 tots Dijon mustard
  • ½ cup crème fraîche (or sour cream)
  • fresh parsley or chives (finely chopped, to serve)

WHAT TO DO

BRAAI THE STEAKS

  1. Make a proper big fire.
  2. Crush all the peppercorns by placing them on a cutting board and using a bottle of wine to roll over and press them a few times.
  3. Take the steaks out of their packaging, wash them under cold running water, pat them dry with kitchen towel and use a sharp knife to trim away all excess sinew and fat.
  4. Just before the braai, grind salt onto both sides of each steak. Aim to get salt on the edges of the steaks instead of the centres. This way you will still hit the centres, but the sides will be properly salted as well.
  5. Now spread the crushed pepper out on the cutting board and press both sides of each steak into the pepper. If you run out of pepper before you’re done with all the steaks don’t panic, simply crush additional pepper.
  6. Braai the steaks over very hot coals for about 4 minutes on each side until medium rare. When the steaks are ready remove from the fire.

MAKE THE SAUCE

  1. Prepare the sauce by starting to melt the butter in a pan over flames.
  2. Now for the step that has an element of actual danger so be a bit prudent here and get kids to stand well back. Add the brandy to the pan. If it does not spontaneously catch fire from the fire, set it alight. Half a cup of brandy does not explode in the way petrol explodes, but for a few seconds there will be quite a bit of flame so keep your eyebrows out of the way and make sure you have space to retreat and stand back once you have set it alight. Let the alcohol burn off, and as soon as the flames die down, proceed to the next step.
  3. Add the onion to the pan and sauté for a minute or three until it starts to change colour. Now stir in the beef stock, mustard and crème fraîche.
  4. Taste the sauce and add a bit of salt if you feel so inclined but remember that there is also salt on the steaks.

SERVE

Let the steaks rest for a few minutes and then carve all of them into slices using your favourite, biggest and sharpest knife. Put all the meat and sauce on a platter, sprinkle with fresh parsley or chives, and place this awesome feast on the table with pride.

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