Fillet steak au poivre – it’s just fancy French for meat that’s covered in pepper, but it sounds so impressive! Like so many classical recipes it’s incredibly simple, but it knocks it out of the park flavour wise. The secret when you’re using so few ingredients is using only the best. Best quality, plump pieces of well aged fillet; good brandy or Cognac; good beef stock. Add a few baby potatoes, some fine French green beans and a glass or two of good red and it’s about as good as a meal can get.

All you need is…

4 plump beef fillet medallions (ask your butcher to cut them at least 5cm thick)
black pepper and salt
butter and extra virgin olive oil, for frying
¼ cup brandy
¼ cup water
¾ cup fresh cream
50 g (2 x 25g sachets) Woolworths demi-glacé concentrate beef stock (or any other high quality liquid stock concentrate like Nomu’s)

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Season the fillets all over with salt. Grind loads of black pepper onto a wooden board. Roll the fillets through the pepper so their sides are crusted with pepper, but not the top or bottom of the fillets. Heat a non-stick saucepan and add two tablespoons of oil and two tablespoons of butter. Fry the fillets until they start browning nicely. Remove and place fillets in an ovenproof dish. Roast in the oven until done to your liking. The best way to know what’s happening inside a really thick-cut piece of steak? Use a meat thermometer! For rare, the internal temperature of the steak should be 50 degrees Celsius. It’s 54 degrees for medium rare, 57 degrees for medium and 60 for medium well.

Make the brandy cream sauce while the steak is roasting. Deglaze the pan you fried the steak in by adding the brandy. Cook it for a minute or two, then add the water, cream and liquid stock concentrate. Let it bubble for a minute or two and it’s done!

serves

4

prep

5 min

cook

20 min

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tips, tricks and trivia

Brandy cream sauce alternatives

The brandy cream sauce really works with this, but if you don’t have brandy or it just does not float your boat, you could use some marsala or dry sherry instead of the brandy. Both would complement the black pepper notes of this fillet au poivre perfectly.

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enjoy with

With its heady black pepper notes this steak au poivre pretty much demands you open a bottle of Shiraz – something like Kleine Zalze’s Vineyard Selection Shiraz 2018. Matured for 21 months in first fill (30%), second fill (30%) and third fill (40%) French barrels, this Shiraz has loads of red fruit on both the nose and palate along with a hint of fynbos.

It has soft, juicy tannins, which makes it very quaffable right now, but it will also age well for another 10 years, so invest in a case! At time of publication it’s available online at R162 a bottle.

kleine zalze

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