May 7, 2014

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Photo by Judith Hausman

This is a classic, French-style pan sauce, usually made from the fat and browned bits left from searing meat. However, this version doesn’t depend on having just cooked meat, so it’s great for bringing leftover beef, pork, chicken or even salmon to the next level. For my own meal, it sauced local, heritage-breed pork chops, originally cooked on the grill.

Of course, you could predict a rich, silky combination from cognac, cream and butter. It’s the briny green peppercorns that are the surprise. They are crunchy but moist, unlike the black peppercorns that you usually grind, and they have a bright bite that makes you want more… and then even a little more. 

Warm the sauce gently if you are using it over leftovers, or make it right in the pan if you have sautéed chicken, salmon, thin cuts of beef or pork chops. Beef broth is as good as chicken for the liquid. A little thyme or tarragon might be good in it, too. 

Servings: makes about 1/2 cup of sauce

 INGREDIENTS

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon shallot, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons green peppercorns (packed in brine or vinegar)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons brandy or cognac
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons flour
  • 1/2 cup homemade or no-salt-added chicken or beef broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy (whipping) cream

PREPARATION

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the shallot, the peppercorns and the butter, and cook for 30 seconds. Add the brandy, and use spatula or wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the saucepan. Stir to combine. Stir in the soy sauce.

Sprinkle the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for a minute or so. Add the broth, stir to combine and bring to a slow boil. Cook on low for 3 to 5 minutes, so the mixture is bubbling slowly. Add the cream, return to a simmer and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until the mixture becomes creamy. Serve warm.  

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