Braised Steak au Poivre in Red Wine
While the French classic steak au poivre, or peppered steak, is a wonderful idea, steak is expensive and in the winter the original recipe can be adapted to braising – which is far easier for entertaining and tastes every bit as good. I like to serve it with some crispy-skinned, buttered jacket potatoes.
This recipe is taken from Delia Smith’s Winter Collection. Serves 4
Begin by crushing the peppercorns coarsely with a pestle and mortar, then mix them together with the flour on a plate. Now dip the pieces of meat into this mixture, pressing it well in on all sides. Next, heat 2 tablespoons of the dripping or oil in the casserole, and when it is really hot and beginning to shimmer, quickly brown the pieces of meat, about 4 at a time, on both sides, then transfer them to a plate. After that, add the remaining dripping or oil to the pan and brown the onions for 3-4 minutes, still keeping the heat high. Then add the crushed garlic and cook for another minute. Now add any remaining flour and pepper left on the plate to the pan, stirring well to soak up the juices, then add the wine a little at a time, continuing to stir to prevent any lumps forming, and scraping in any crusty residue from the bottom and edge of the pan. When it's at simmering point, add the meat to the sauce, season it with salt, then pop in the bay leaves and thyme. Bring it back to a simmer, then put a lid on the casserole and transfer it to the middle shelf of the oven to cook for 2 hours or until the meat is tender. When you're ready to serve, remove the herbs, add the crème fraîche, stir it in well, then taste to check for seasoning before serving.
Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 2, 300°F (150°C).