Fillet au Poivre

by Henry Harris

Main Medium ​​​​​​​ 2 ​​​​​​​ Prep/Cook: 30 minutes, Prepare the peppercorns 2 hours prior to cooking


500g of beef fillet, cut into 2 x 250g steaks

2 tbsp of clarified butter

butter, 50g-75g

50ml of cognac

100ml of veal stock


75g of black peppercorns, whole

75g of white peppercorns, whole


1. 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

2. 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

3. Preheat the oven to 100°C/gas mark 1/4

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

5. 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

6. 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

7. 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

8. Add the cognac, cook off the alcohol then pour in the stock. Bring to the boil, add the remaining butter and reduce to the consistency of syrup

9. 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