Creamy peppercorn sauce is one of my favorite steak sauces ever. The moment you hear the peppercorns crack in your pan is as exciting as when popcorn starts to pop on your movie night.
This sauce has a dense, rich flavor and therefore, goes along very well with any kind of seared steak. The combination with the cream and cognac makes this sauce sooo tasty with only a few ingredients.
With this recipe I went for a Filet Mignon because it’s a very tender cut with a soft, buttery texture and a mild flavor. It has very little fat and is ideal for those who love a tender cut of meat. Of course, this creamy peppercorn sauce works with any cut, so choose the one you like most.
If you have lots of experience with meat, you’ll know exactly at which point to remove the meat from the heat so it’s done just the way you like. If you’re just starting out it might be a little more tricky to know when to remove your steak from the heat. Cooking time depends very much on the thickness of your steak, the heat, as well as your liking.
When I was in culinary school, I was taught to always touch all the steaks that I cooked in order to learn how they feel with different levels of cooking. Basically, the more firm the steak, the more well-done it is. This ‘finger-test,’ as it’s called, is used by chefs, and with some practice, you can learn it too. Check out this link to learn how to ‘finger-test’.
With some practice, you can start to feel the firmness of the meat and use that firmness to know if the steak is rare, medium or well-done. In fact, I suggest that every time you use a thermometer, you also practice the ‘finger-test’ so you start to get a sense of what various temperatures feel like to the touch.
When it comes to doneness, I recommend serving the Filet Mignon medium-rare or medium, and not well-done, due to its low-fat content.
Here is a basic overview that you can use to determine the cooking time:
7-8 minutes for a 2.5 cm (1 inch) thick cut of meat
9-11 minutes for a 4 cm (1 ½ inch) thick cut of meat
Food thermometer at 55-57° Celsius (130-135° Fahrenheit)
8-9 minutes for a 2.5 cm (1 inch) thick cut of meat
10-12 minutes for a 4 cm (1 ½ inch) thick cut of meat
Food thermometer at 58-60° Celsius (135-140° Fahrenheit)
If you’re not sure if your meat is cooked to your liking, just cut one piece and check the inside. If it’s still too red, let it simmer in the sauce for another minute or two.
It’s important to take the filets out of the refrigerator one hour prior to cooking. If the steaks are cold when you cook them, the outside will cook much faster than the inside, resulting in the filets being done on the outside, yet undercooked on the inside.
Sooo, with all this info you’re more than ready to try this recipe. Just one last thing: Filet Mignon with peppercorn sauce screams special occasion and a special occasion deserves a special side dish, too. I love to combine this with Papa Anna, a stylish way to serve potatoes.
FILET MIGNON WITH CREAMY PEPPERCORN SAUCE
- 4 pieces of beef Filet Mignon between 2.5 – 4 cm thick / 1 – 1 ½ inch, room temperature
- Cooking string to tie pieces of meat together
- 1 tsp salt
- 30 g butter
Peppercorn Sauce with Cognac
- 2 tbsp sunflower oil
- 30 g black peppercorns
- 40 ml of cognac or any other brandy
- 100 ml white wine
- 400 g beef broth
- 100 ml heavy cream
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 pinch of black pepper
- Tie each filet with a string vertically to keep its nice round form when searing it. Salt the filets on all sides.
- In a heavy-bottom skillet, melt butter over high heat, add the filets, and sear over high heat for 2 minutes without moving them. Then, turn the filets over and sear for another 3 minutes. Finally, remove them from the skillet, and set aside.
Peppercorn Sauce with Cognac
- Crush the peppercorns using a rolling pin, mortar, or the side of a hardy knife.
- Heat the sunflower oil in the same skillet in which you seared the meat over medium heat. Add the peppercorns, and immediately cover with a lid, waiting for the peppercorns to start cracking and popping up in the pan. Remove the skillet from the heat, and deglaze with the cognac. Put the skillet back on the heat until the cognac boils, remove it again from the heat, and then deglaze with white wine. Place it back on the heat, bring the wine to a boil, and deglaze with the vegetable broth. Bring the sauce back to the boil, let it simmer, and reduce the sauce by half. Add the meat, and simmer for 3 minutes until the filets have almost reached the desired cooking level. Finally, incorporate the heavy cream and simmer for another minute, season with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.
- The cooking time of the meat in this recipe is for a total of 9 minutes (5 minutes to sear plus 4 to simmer the sauce.) This will give you a medium-rare filet. Adapt the cooking time if your meat has another thickness or if you like another level of doneness, and see comments above.