I have to say this right off the get-go:
Best steak I have ever eaten.
And it wasn’t even a good steak. It was a horrible steak. It was cheap, not aged, didn’t have good marbling, too thin, and I let it rest a bit too long so it traveled past the medium that I would prefer.
But the sauce.
Oh lawd, but the sauce.
Incredible, indescribable, an explosion of flavor that took, quite possibly, the worst strip loin you can buy and turned it into the best steak I have ever eaten. By far this was the greatest peppercorn sauce I have ever tasted, and it was also probably the easiest sauce I’ve ever made.
Let’s start from the beginning though.
A warning: there are NO concrete measurements for the sauce, it’s just splashes and dashes, so use the pictures as a guide and judge based on how many steaks you’ve made. I made 3 steaks, but only enough sauce for two of them.
Here’s everything you need for the sauce:
Brandy, heavy cream, peppercorns, and butter. It’s so simple right? You’re thinking there’s no way that could make the be-all and end-all of sauces. Just wait.
Grab a handful of peppercorns.
Toss them in a mortar and pestle
Break them up. You don’t want them powdery, just kinda crushed into pieces. You can use anything to do this, a rolling pin or just a heavy bottom sauce pan pressed down on them works just as good.
Get your steaks ready. Pat them dry with paper towel, then season with salt and pepper on each side. I also add a steak seasoning mix that’s from a local chop house, but salt and pepper is really all you need.
Put a teaspoon or two into a large skillet and get it smoking hot, literally. You need your pan to just start to smoke to get the right sear on the steaks. You want the sear. The sear is delicious. Cook them for a couple of minutes (3–4), without moving them.
Flip them over and finish cooking, another 2 minutes or so for medium.
This is that sear you’re looking for.
Throw them on a plate and loosely tent it with foil to rest for 5 minutes. It’ll cook a little bit more, so plan accordingly for how you like your steak. Never skip this resting step, it’s what helps to keep your steak juicy.
Look at that pan, covered in steak bits. NO! Don’t wash it out! NEVER wash it out! Those steak bits are what we call flavor
Toss in your crushed peppercorns (we’re doing this over medium-high heat).
Then a hearty splash of brandy, a few tablespoons.
Take a wooden spoon and scrape up all those stuck-on browned bits. That’s what the brandy is for, besides incredible flavor.
Toss in some cream, probably around a cup.
Stir it around until it’s nice and thick and brown.
Throw in a tablespoon of butter and mix it in.
Before you serve your steaks, pour in any of the accumulated juices that are on the plate. More flavor! Give it a taste, and if you need too add a little more cream (like if the sauce looks broken, like the butter and the cream have separated).
Throw some of the sauce on the plate, and top with the steak.
Of course you can have a closer look!
Here’s your (lose outline of a) printable:
Servings lots of sauce for two steaks
3 minPrep Time
12 minCook Time
15 minTotal Time
- Steaks (strip steaks work great)
- Vegetable oil (1 - 2 tsp)
- Whole Peppercorns, crushed (2 tbsp +/- before crushing)
- Brandy (3 tbsp +/-)
- Heavy Cream (1 cup +/-)
- Butter (1 tbsp +/-)
Pat your steaks dry with paper towel and season both sides with salt and pepper.
Put the oil in a large skillet and heat over high until just smoking. Reduce to medium-high heat and add the steaks to the pan. Cook for 3 - 4 minutes without moving. Flip steaks and continue cooking for about 2 more minutes for medium.
Remove steaks to a plate and tent loosely with aluminum foil. Let rest for 5 minutes.
Add the peppercorns and brandy to the now empty pan (do no clean the pan first). Use a wooden spoon to scrape up all of the browned bits left behind from the steak.
Add the heavy cream and cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce has thickened up and is a nice brown color. The sauce is the right consistency when it sticks to the back of the spoon. You should be able to run your finger across the spoon, and the sauce won't bleed into where your finger was.
Stir in the butter.
Add any juices that have accumulated on the bottom of the plate with the steaks into the sauce.
NOTE: If it looks like the butter and cream have separated, or the sauce has thickened too much, just add a little more cream and mix well.
Pour some sauce onto the bottom of a plate, and top with the cooked steak.
Remember that all measurements are rough. There's no need to actually measure anything out, just go with your gut.