When I first decided to try making my own peppercorn sauce I wanted to find a recipe which could be made with ingredients I always have at home. I found that most recipes have a cream base, which I only have in when I know I’m going to need it. Then I came across this recipe for Quick & Simple Peppercorn Sauce on Stu’s Food which is made without cream. Instead it combines a roux base and milk to give it it’s rich creamy texture and flavour. My own peppercorn sauce recipe has grown from this idea and is the perfect accompaniment to steak, gammon or chicken.
This sauce can be prepared in advance and then reheated just before serving.
100ml chicken stock (or ½ chicken stock cube with 100ml water)
1 tbsp brandy
15g (4 tsp) black peppercorns - vary this according to how powerful you want your sauce to be
Crack the black peppercorns (15g) in a pestle and mortar (if you don't have one, put them in a plastic bag, wrap in a tea towel, and hit a few times with a rolling pin) - You want to make sure that the peppercorns are cracked, but do not over-grind otherwise the sauce will lose its intense peppery flavour.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter (35g) on a low heat.
Once the butter is fully melted, gradually add the flour (35g). After each addition mix well to ensure it is fully combined with the butter. Once all the flour is added you should have a thick smooth paste.
Cook the butter and flour mix for a couple of minutes stirring regularly - Cooking the butter and flour mix for a couple of minutes before adding the other ingredients ensures that the flour is cooked. If you skip this step your finished sauce may have an odd floury taste.
Add the brandy (1 tbsp) and mix well to combine with the butter and flour - adding the brandy at this stage ensures that the alcohol is cooked off.
Gradually add the milk (200ml), mixing well after each addition to combine with the butter and flour - I like to switch to using a whisk at this stage as it helps to break down any lumps.
Once all the milk is combined, add the chicken stock and black peppercorns and season with salt (I use approx. ¼tsp)
Simmer gently until the sauce has reduced to your required consistency.
If you're making in advance
Once the sauce has cooked, pour it into a jug or bowl and immediately cover with clingfilm. It's important that you push the clingfilm down into the dish so that it is in contact with the top of the sauce. This will prevent a skin forming.
Just before serving, pour back into a saucepan and heat gently until warm. If you find that the sauce is becoming too thick, add a little milk to loosen it the the required consistency.
This sauce can be prepared in advance and then reheated just before serving
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