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How to make peppercorn sauce

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By Will Godfrey

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When it comes to rich and warming sauces, few can beat a creamy peppercorn sauce. Whether it’s for dressing up your sirloin steak, or a delicious dip for your chips, it’s a wonderfully decadent way to add a touch of indulgence to a meals. Once I’ve had a spoonful, I find it almost impossible to resist going back for more.

Known in French as sauce au poivre, it may sound fancy, but really it’s very easy to make from scratch. Forget the off-the-shelf stuff – it never tastes as good as the real thing, and you can easily whip up a homemade batch in just 10 minutes. All you need is six simple ingredients which you’ll may well have in your kitchen cupboard already.

Packed with flavour, peppercorn sauce is perfect for sprucing up lots of weeknight recipes. Just drizzle it over the top of a juicy steak to create your own version of the French classic steak au poivre. Or you can serve it with succulent chicken breasts instead. If you want to add even more flavor, cook your meat in a pan then rustle up your sauce in the same pan afterwards, so that it absorbs all the delicious meaty juices. It’s a perfect match for vegetables too – especially mushrooms.

To show you just how simple it can be to create your own signature peppercorn sauce, we’ve put together a straightforward recipe for you below.

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 1-2 tablespoons peppercorns
  • 30g butter
  • Half a shallot, finely chopped
  • 50ml beef stock
  • 30ml double cream
  • 50ml brandy (optional)

Method

  1. Crush the peppercorns lightly using a pestle and mortar (or a rolling pin).
    crushing peppercorns with a pestle and mortar
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium-high heat and sauté the shallots until they’re soft (it’ll only take 2 minutes or so).
    sautéing shallots and butter
  3. Pour in your brandy and bring to the boil for 2 minutes. Then add the beef stock and crushed peppercorns, and boil for another 2 minutes.
  4. Add the cream and turn the heat down to medium.
    peppercorn sauce gif
  5. Heat through until it’s as thick as you like it (but don’t let it boil!).
    heating up a peppercorn sauce
  6. Season as necessary and it’s ready to serve.

Tip: Want to make peppercorn sauce without cream? Just add a splash of water instead until it reaches the consistency you want. If you don’t want too much heat, just go easy on the peppercorns!  

We’d love to know what you serve your peppercorn sauce with – why not let us know in the comments section below?

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