I was so excited about visiting the Cognac region, and it deﬁnitely lived up to expectations. Good Cognac makes for a good sauce – and happy drinking!
Fillet steak & diced potatoes with pink peppercorn & cognac sauce
4 medium potatoes (about 400g), roughly diced
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 x 175g ﬁllet steaks
25g unsalted butter
2 shallots, ﬁnely diced
3 teaspoons pink peppercorns, crushed
100ml beef stock
150ml double cream
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
small bunch of ﬂat-leaf parsley, leaves picked and chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Place a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. When hot, add the potatoes, followed by 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and the garlic. Allow to cook, stirring occasionally, for 15–20 minutes.
Place another non-stick frying pan over high heat. Rub the steaks with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, then place in the hot pan. Let them cook for 2–3 minutes, then turn them over and continue to cook for a further 2–3 minutes for medium-rare. (Cook the steaks for an extra 2 minutes each side for medium, 4 minutes for well done.)
Add half the butter to the pan and spoon over the top of the steaks for about a minute, then remove the steaks from the pan to a warmed plate and pour over the pan juices. Season with salt and pepper.
Return the steak pan to the heat and add the remaining butter.
When it foams, add the shallots and cook over medium heat for 3–4 minutes until golden. Add the Cognac and gently shake the pan – this will ignite the Cognac and burn the alcohol off. When the ﬂame dies down, add the pink peppercorns and continue to cook for about 2 minutes before adding the beef stock. Bring to the boil and then ﬁnally add the cream and mustard. Season with salt and pepper, then remove from the heat.
Toss the potatoes, add the parsley and turn the heat off.
Place the steaks on plates, then divide the potatoes between the plates. Spoon the sauce over the steaks and serve.
James Martin’s French Adventure is in stores now and on Amazon.