Braised Steak au Poivre

This is an adaptation of the famous French classic, but more economical because it's made with braising steak. It does take longer to cook but it will simmer happily unattended, and there's very little work involved. The flavour is superb!


Serves 1

Braised Steak au Poivre
 6-7 oz (175-200 g) braising steak, in one or two pieces
 1 small onion, chopped small
 ¾ level teaspoon whole black peppercorns (or if you like it hotter, use 1 level teaspoon)
 1 dessertspoon oil
 1 heaped teaspoon flour
 1 small clove of garlic, crushed
 4 fl oz (110 ml) red wine or dry cider
 1 level dessertspoon single cream
You will also need a small flameproof casserole with a tight-fitting lid or a small frying-pan with any lid that fits comfortably over the meat.


First heat the oil in the casserole and fry the onion in it for 5 minutes. While that's happening, prepare the meat: crush the peppercorns with a pestle and mortar (or with the back of a tablespoon on a flat surface) – they need to be coarsely crushed.

Next, mix the crushed peppercorns with the flour on a flat plate and spread the mixture out evenly. Press the meat on to the mixture to get the underside well coated, then turn it over and do the same with the other side, pressing and patting the flour and pepper firmly into the meat.

Now remove the onion to a small plate, turn the heat right up and when it's really hot, quickly brown the meat on both sides, scraping any flour-and-pepper from the plate into the casserole as well.

Then turn the heat down, return the onion together with the garlic and some salt, pour in the wine, then put the lid on and let it simmer – as gently as possible – for 1¼ to 1½ hours, depending on the thickness of the steak.

When it's ready, remove the lid, turn the heat right up and let the sauce bubble and reduce to a more syrupy consistency (about 1-2 minutes). Then stir in the cream till it's thoroughly blended – and that's it. Lovely with creamy mashed potatoes.

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