Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Whisk Wednesdays—Pavés de Rumsteak au Poivre Vert (Sirloin Steaks with Green Peppercorns)

Pavés de Rumsteak au Poivre Vert (Sirloin Steaks with Green Peppercorns)One of my favorite meals that I order when I eat out is on the menu this week: peppercorn steak. At restaurants, however, I usually find the black peppercorns too spicy and overpowering. This recipe calls for green peppercorns, or poivre vert, which are also from the unripe berries of the pepper plant but have a milder taste than their black counterpart. I used the dried version of these green peppercorns, and I won't be going back to black ones again when making pepper steak at home.

I used to cook everything in a non-stick, Teflon-coated frying pan. As well, I used only the Max setting on my stove burners. You can bet I had a lot of burnt bits and smokiness to deal with. Now I know how to make a mean pepper steak that's not burnt or flavorless.

Flavor Base # 1: Create the fond by searing the steak
Pan frying uses a lot less oil and some butter for flavor, and is also considered a dry heat cooking method. After sprinkling the salt and crushed green peppercorns on the steaks, I seared them in a hot pan with oil and butter. When you sear the steak, the outside is caramelized and browned [not burnt], and a crust forms on the meat. This is called the Maillard reaction, which adds flavor to the dish.

As well, after browning, fond (means "base" in French) is stuck to the bottom of the pan. It's these bits that flavor the pan sauce. [You can't use a non-stick frying pan for this!]

Here is some information to determine when a steak is done. After the steaks were finished cooking, I removed them to a warming plate.

Flavor Base # 2: Flambé with Cognac
Then, I poured off any fat, added the Cognac and then quickly lit it. According to Wikipedia, "igniting a sauce with alcohol in the pan changes the chemistry of the food and adds another level of flavor."

Flavor Base # 3: Deglaze the pan with veal stock and cream
Finally, I returned the steaks to the pan and then added Thomas Keller's veal stock, which I had stored in the freezer, and some cream to deglaze the pan. Deglazing simply means lifting up the residue stuck to the bottom of the pan, and it's the secret to a good pan sauce. As well, a good veal stock is key, and what better veal stock to use than Thomas Keller's! It's worth the time and effort. I then reduced this sauce for a bit and seasoned it with salt and pepper.


Pavés de Rumsteak au Poivre Vert (Sirloin Steaks with Green Peppercorns) mise en placeYou can find the recipe for Pavés de Rumsteak au Poivre Vert (Sirloin Steaks with Green Peppercorns) in the book Le Cordon Bleu at Home or here. To see how the rest of the Whisk Wednesdays group fared with their recipe, click here (or check out the sidebar) and then click on each blogger!

Pavés de Rumsteak au Poivre Vert (Sirloin Steaks with Green Peppercorns)
Tasting Notes
This was the most delicious peppercorn sauce I've ever tasted. It was complex tasting, but not peppery. Plus, it's not hard to make (especially if you have some good veal stock in your freezer).

Next Week (November 12)
• Entrecôte Lyonnaise (Steak, Lyonnaise style) pages 158-159 and grilling/browning

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Running total: $829.25 + $15.41 (steaks) + $4.40 (sauce) + veal stock (free in freezer) = $849.06

Butter used so far: 8 pounds, 5 tablespoons

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::Whisk Wednesdays::
We're cooking our way through a cooking school curriculum using the Le Cordon Bleu at Home cookbook. The "classes" are based on the Le Cordon Bleu curriculum found online and used as a guideline. Not all the items in the curriculum are in the cookbook, but most are. Where the items are not in the book, we try to find a suitable substitution. Find out more here.


Maria said...

I love your whisk Wednesdays! So fun!

homeladychef said...

This article makes my day! Thanks for sharing, learnt a lot from ya! :)

NKP said...

Oh, that looks so delicious. I am hungry for this dish all over again. We used dried green peppercorns too. And when we finished dinner - I was scooping up all the leftover sauce from the pan with my fingers. It was sooo good.

natalia said...

Lots of interesting things...but can I come for dinner ?

Jessica Eiden Smedley said...

Shari - the husband loved it! It was hard to snap a picture before he inhaled it all. I agree, it was simple to make.

Anonymous said...

Looks really good. Love all the things I learn from your posts. I am noticing that your sauce turned out thinner than mine and I was wondering if I reduced mine too much...I never know when to stop reducing! What do you think...should I have stopped before it got as thick as it did? It tasted divine...maybe too divine...LOL. Great post. Thanks for keeping me on track. Oh, and I agree about the green peppercorns...the flavor is amazing...I never knew the differences between them before, and the green is such a nice peppery flavor without the bitterness and bite that the black ones have. Am looking around to see what else I can make with these green peppercorns!

Manggy said...

Omigosh, I love me some peppersteak. (Hah, non-fancy name!) 8 pounds of butter?! I think my heart just exploded!! :P

Jacque said...

Looks heavenly and I'm glad you learned how to make one of your favorite restaurant dishes at home, and even better :)

Veronica said...

What a delicious looking dinner. I've always been afraid to flambe.

Michelle said...

The pepper steak was just too good for words. And yours looks fantastic!

Love that plate too!


Michelle said...


Forgot to mention that I love green peppercorns too! And if you like green peppercorns you should try the pink ones....yummy!


Anonymous said...

yummy yummy!! now you make me crave for steak!

thecelticcookinshanghai said...

All my favourite things in one dish, cilantro, shrimp and asian flavours. I make a simialr soup always a winner in our house. Can't understand anyone not liking cilantro.

Shari said...

maria - Glad you like them!

homeladychef - Hope you make it - it's so delicious!

natashya - It was finger-lickin' good, wasn't it?

natalia - Sure, you can come for dinner!

kayte - I should have reduced my sauce more!

manggy - 8 pounds over 10 months = ~ 1 tbsp per day. Is that ok??! ;)

jacque - I'm running out of things to order when I'm out for dinner, though!

tennen - Thanks for visiting!

veronica - Flambe isn't so hard. It's kind of fun, actually!

michelle - I'll have to try the pink ones too! I have a mix of all of them, but using just one kind would be interesting.

eliza - Thanks!

jacqui - I agree! Would love to know more about your soup.

Thanks, everyone!

Shari said...

jessica - It was an inhaling, lick-the-finger kind of sauce!

Anonymous said...

Absolutely fabulous! I love reading your posts from WW...*Ü*

Anonymous said...

Just re-read this post as I was making this dish. It was most helpful -- more so than the cookbook!
Thank you!