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Steak au poivre with oven ‘frites’

Inntravel (an awesome holiday company specialising in walking and other ‘slow holidays’) asked me to come up with a French recipe for their #FlavoursfromFrance campaign. (Little warning for you – don’t click that there link unless you are genuinely thinking of booking a holiday – it’s a SERIOUSLY dreamy website that you could get lost in for a while.) I was very happy to help out, as I just don’t ‘do French’ enough, which is crazy really as their cuisine is right up my greedy little street. 
When I think of French food, I think of rustic bistros, not Parisian haute cuisine. I love dishes like Moules Mariniere, Tartiflette, Coq au Vin, Croque Madame… The ultimate flavour of France surely though is a good Steak Frites. This is my version, with a pepper sauce. My ‘frites’ are done in the oven as, let’s face it, you need a HUGE vat of oil to fry chips and that’s just a massive faff. These are healthier and they really are just as good. The pepper sauce is an authentic one, with no cream, but if you wanted to you could add a lick of cream at the end, I won’t judge!
It’s supposed to be a fiery hot, heavily peppered steak and sauce, but if serving kids just hold back on the pepper as much as you see fit. All you need to wash this down is a glass of red and a suitably insouciant attitude. Vive la France!
Watch out for a competition on the Well Worn Whisk Facebook page, prize courtesy of Inntravel, coming later this week! You won’t want to miss it!
Serves: 2 people 
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes

2 thick cut sirloin steaks from your butcher (ask them to cut them fresh)
A little olive oil 
Lots of freshly ground black pepper
Sea salt 
For the ‘frites’:
750g King Edward or similar potatoes, skin on
4 tablespoons olive oil 
1 tablespoon of fresh rosemary, finely chopped
Sea salt 
For the sauce: 
3 tablespoons brandy 
150ml strong beef stock (I used a Knorr stock pot and made it twice as concentrated)
Lots of freshly ground black pepper
100g butter
To serve: 
Rocket and red onion salad with balsamic dressing

  1. Preheat the oven to about 180C. Fill a metal roasting tin with the oil and preheat. 
  2. Take the steaks out of the fridge and let them come to room temperature. 
  3. Slice the potatoes into quite thin sticks, skin on. Wash them in a bowl of cold water and then drain, leaving on a teatowel to dry as much as possible. 
  4. Add the chips to the hot oil and throw in the rosemary, tossing them to cover well in herbs and oil. Let them roast for about 40 minutes, turning them a few times. 
  5. When the chips are nearly done, heat a heavy bottomed frying pan so that it is smoking hot and you can’t hold your hand over it. 
  6. Whilst the pan is heating up, lightly oil the steaks and cover with as much ground pepper as you’d like. I like a lot!
  7. Add the steaks to the pan (don’t overcrowd the pan, if doubling up and doing 4 then do it in two batches – if you overcrowd the pan they will steam). Let them fry for 2 minutes on each side for rare (just how I like it!), 3 minutes on each side for medium, and 4 for well done. Turn the steaks over and when the time is up take out and rest on a warm plate. Season with a little salt whilst resting. 
  8. Keeping the pan on a high heat, add the brandy and deglaze, scraping the bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon, add the stock and let this liquid reduce by about half. Whisk in the butter and taste. It shouldn’t need any salt if using commercial stock. You may want to add a little more pepper or even some cream. Add the juices of the resting steak to the sauce and turn down the heat until ready to serve. Dress the salad at the last minute. 

Inntravel paid me to write this post but I’m happy to recommend their website. The link is nofollow as per Google guidelines. 



  1. January 22, 2015 / 10:18 am

    They're just as good and a whole lot less faff – unless you have a deep fat fryer but I don't think many people do, do they? Thanks for commenting! Rachel x

  2. February 2, 2015 / 9:51 am

    Ok so these were amazing! Not sure why I've not done them before. My boyfriend loved them, and he's very hard to please-thanks! X

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