Filet au poivre

  • medium
  • 2
  • 30 minutes
Not yet rated

Chef Henry Harris never gets bored of this filet au poivre recipe, despite the fact he has been wowing diners with this version for over 25 years. First taught to cook this version of the classic French dish by Simon Hopkinson, he now stipulates that this is the 'only correct way' - its beauty lying in the perfect amalgamation of rich brandy and veal stock, combined with meaty resting juices and caramelisation from the pan. Almost syrup-like in texture, get the sauce right and it is a thing of unparalleled beauty.

First published in 2015




Filet au poivre

Cracked pepper


  • Blender


To prepare the cracked pepper for the steaks, add the peppercorns to a blender and blitz for 15-30 seconds, until they have broken into coarse pieces - there should be quite a lot of dust, but no whole peppercorns
Tip the mix into a sieve, shake over a bowl and work with your fingers to remove all of the dust. Throw away the dust and transfer the cracked pepper to an airtight jar. This mix should be made well in advance of cooking the steaks, as the resulting pepper will be quite strong
Preheat the oven to 100°C/gas mark 1/4
Once ready to cook, measure out 3 tsp of the cracked black pepper and place in a bowl. Place the steaks onto a dish and firmly press the pepper onto the top cut-side of each steak, pressing with the heel of your hand to push in. Season with salt and set aside
Add the clarified butter to a frying pan and place over a high heat. Add the steaks to the pan, pepper-side down, and cook quickly until caramelised and brown - this should take approximately 3-5 minutes
Turn over the steaks, cook for 1 more minute then drain the clarified butter from the pan. Add the regular butter, reduce the heat to medium and let the butter foam until it reaches a gentle hazelnut colour
Use the butter to baste the meat regularly - if it appears to be getting too dark, simply reduce the heat. Continue to cook, while basting, for 3-4 minutes
Add the cognac, cook off the alcohol then pour in the stock. Remove the steaks from the pan then bring the sauce to the boil, add the remaining butter and reduce to the consistency of syrup
  • 50ml of cognac
  • 100ml of brown veal stock, ideally top quality and highly concentrated
While the sauce reduces, transfer the steaks to a dish and place in the oven to rest for at least 10 minutes. Once rested, place the steaks on warm plates and pour the juices that have seeped out during resting into the pan with the sauce. Taste for seasoning, then spoon the sauce over the steaks. Serve immediately
First published in 2015

Henry Harris’s cuisine recalls the fine traditions of French bourgeois cooking with affection and generosity.

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