This one, as the name suggests, comes from the island in the Indian Ocean where I’ve had the privilege of spending some quality time. On this very unique part of earth, in both the more formal food markets, as well as at street vendor stalls, you can find a variety of repurposed bottles and jars, filled to the brim with beautiful green peppercorns in brine. The trick to making this peppercorn sauce is locating such green peppercorns back home in your local supermarket. Back home, they are sold in small glass jars and are usually hidden away on a shelf somewhere in the general vicinity of the olives. The rest of the ingredients are straightforward to find in a supermarket.
Note that while a burger patty will work, I make my Madagascan Peppercorn Burger with thinly sliced steak – sliced thinly after being braaied, not before
FOR THE BURGER
- 800 g rump steak (or you can use 500g beef mince or ready made patties)
- 4 hamburger rolls (preferably Portuguese rolls)
- butter or olive oil
- 2 tomatoes (sliced)
- 1 onion (sliced)
- salt and black pepperFOR THE SAUCE
- 1 tot butter
- 1 tot white bread or cake flour
- 1 tub (250 ml) cream
- 1 small jar green peppercorns (about 2–3 tots when drained)
- 1 tot Dijon mustard
- 1 tot brandy (optional)
- salt and black pepper
- Light a big fire and while you wait for the wood to convert to coals through an ancient and very natural process, prepare, measure and arrange all of the ingredients. You will have to braai the steak and make the sauce simultaneously, which is entirely possible. That’s just how this recipe works.
- Make the pepper sauce: Melt the butter in a pot or pan on the fire or stove then add the flour and mix well. Immediately start adding a little bit of cream at a time and stir continuously. Keep on adding the cream and once it is all in and the sauce is smooth. Drain the peppercorns and add them. Also add the mustard and brandy and stir that in (if you don’t like brandy in your sauce, don’t add brandy to the sauce). Now let the sauce simmer until you are happy with the consistency, then season to taste with salt and black pepper.
- Braai the steak or steaks over very hot coals for 8 minutes in total until they are medium rare. You can season the meat just before, during or after the braai, depending on when you believe it’s best to season meat. As you might guess, I don’t think it matters when you salt the steak, because it won’t make any noticeable difference to the end result of this meal. You only need to turn the steaks once, which is a good thing – you can focus the bulk of your attention on perfecting the pepper sauce.
- The steak needs to rest before you slice it. This should be for at least 5 minutes so use this time to finish making the sauce. When you slice the steak, lie it flat on a cutting board and go in at a 45-degree angle instead of straight down. This allows you to slice through the fibres in the meat an additional time, resulting in even more tender slices of meat. If you struggle to produce neat, thin slices, you need to sharpen your chef’s or carving knife, or you need a new knife altogether.
- Butter or oil the insides of the cut rolls and toast on the grid, taking care not to over-toast (burn) them.
- Assemble the burger: Roll, lettuce, tomato, onion, steak slices, sauce, roll.
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