Saturday, 6 December 2014

Creamy Peppercorn and Brandy Sauce - Thermomix Version

This is our absolute favourite sauce of all time to have with steak, so it was about time I wrote up my recipe for the Thermomix!

It's also good with pork steaks, or even chicken breasts, but for me, this is complete 'steak dinner' perfection served with chunky chips, grilled tomatoes and mushrooms, and peas (or petit pois in our case!) and of course, a perfect medium rare steak. Throw on some crispy onion rings if you're going to really push the boat out! If you haven't got a Thermomix or you really love setting fire to your sauces (seriously!), then worry not, my original recipe is here, and if you want instructions on how to cook the perfect steak sous vide in your Thermomix (however you like it cooked, and whether you have a TM31 or a TM5), you can find them here.

This makes enough sauce to serve four generously (it yields around 350ml so possibly six - I'm just incredibly greedy with this sauce because I love it so much!), and you can also freeze leftovers, which re-heat very successfully with a vigorous stir at the end. If you would like to cook your steak sous vide, you can put the sauce aside to keep warm while you cook your steak, or re-heat, and it will be quite happy. Lay some greaseproof paper over the top to stop a skin forming, or just give it a vigorous stir before serving.

Serves four, takes 20-25 minutes to cook, 164 calories per serving (but you're not seriously counting with this, are you??) ;)
[Calories in square brackets]

  • 3 small shallots (or 1 banana shallot), 70g after peeling [17]
  • 1 garlic clove [6]
  • 30g butter [221]
  • A shot of brandy (35ml/35g - or you could use whiskey) [77]
  • 230g water
  • Beef stock concentrate / cubes to make up 450ml (I often use one and a half 15ml tbsps of Knorr Touch of Taste Beef Bouillon - comes in little brown bottles - I also sometimes add an extra 1/2 tbsp of it to the sauce at the end, but wait until you've tasted it first. I don't recommend OXO as too salty) [18]
  • 2 x 15ml tablespoons of green peppercorns (from a jar, in brine) [9]
  • 1-2 x 15ml tbsp cornflour (depending on your preferred thickness - see method) [36-72]
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste (I suggest 1/4 to 1/2 tsp) [2]
  • 50g double (heavy) cream (around 40% fat content) [233]
  • Salt to taste

If like me, you're not a fan of running around like the proverbial 'blue-arsed fly' in the last few minutes before serving up dinner trying to bring everything together; this sauce will forgive you quite happily if you make it a little before needed, cover it and then warm it through again stirring gently while your steak is resting.

1. Put the drained peppercorns onto a small chopping board or small plate (I find a little plate is easier so they don't roll away!) and use the back of a large spoon to gently crack them, until you hear them popping.

2. Weigh the butter into the bowl, put the lid and MC on and chop 3 seconds / Speed 8. Then drop the garlic and shallots onto running blades, Speed 8, then scrape down.

3. Cook for 5 minutes / Varoma temperature / Reverse / Speed 1 / MC off. It will brown just ever so slightly on the bottom, but don't worry, and don't scrape it off.

4. Add the 35ml/g brandy (or whiskey) and cook for a further 3 minutes / 100C / Reverse / Speed 1 / MC off. The liquid will mostly evaporate, and now you can use a spatula to just scrape up any 'fond' caramelised on the bottom of the bowl, which will have softened and be easy to scrape up (pure flavour, keep it in there!). My preference is for flexible silicone spatulas, but use whatever you find easiest.

5. Add the 230g water (cold), beef stock concentrate, green peppercorns and some freshly ground black pepper (e.g. 1/4 teaspoon is good for starters, if you're measuring) and cook 8 minutes / 100C / Reverse / Speed 1 / MC on.

6. Next it's time to thicken your sauce. As a guide, 1 x 15ml level tbsp (equivalent to 3 level tsp) cornflour will give you a thin, pouring consistency sauce (peppercorns may stay at the bottom of the sauce), 1.5 tbsp cornflour will give you a 'medium' consistency sauce (may suit most people, you can add more if it's too thin for you) and 2 tbsp cornflour will give you quite a thick sauce (useful if you want to add the juices from your cooked steak to the sauce, which will thin it out a little). Mix 1 to 1.5 level tbsp (15ml) cornflour with 2-3 tbsp cold water in a very small bowl (e.g. a ramekin) until lump free then add to the sauce in the Thermomix bowl. Cook 2 minutes / 100C / Reverse / Speed 1 / MC on.

7. Add 50g cream, and mix in 5 seconds / Reverse / Speed 2.5, then if you're happy with the consistency / thickness take a clean teaspoon and check for seasoning (see paragraph below). To thicken it further, add another 1/2 tbsp cornflour mixed thoroughly with 1 tbsp cold water and cook out for another 2 minutes / 100C / Reverse / Speed 1 / MC on.

8. Regarding seasoning, add salt and further freshly ground pepper to taste, then stir for 5 seconds / Reverse / Speed 2.5 (I think this is quite a personal taste thing - I add another 1/4 tsp of ground pepper, and 1/4 tsp salt and sometimes a further 1/2 tbsp of beef concentrate, but this might not be to your taste, so taste and season with caution, until you're happy you have a killer pepper sauce!).

Of course, when you've taken a photo of your steak with a tasteful amount of sauce poured over it (as above) be sure to then pour lots more over it, so you can dip your chips and some crusty bread in it too...!

If you enjoyed this sauce, and you can wield a spoon and pan, why not try my delicious rich Madeira sauce with wild mushrooms the next time you have a steak?

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