Peppercorn Sauce Recipe

Yields: About 1 1/2 cups
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10-15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large shallot, finely minced
  • 2-3 tablespoons black peppercorns, coarsely crushed
  • 1/3 cup brandy or cognac (see notes for substitutions)
  • 1 cup beef broth (low-sodium is ideal)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (optional)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions:

  • Crush the peppercorns: Place the peppercorns in a zip-top bag or on a cutting board and lightly crush them using a rolling pin, the bottom of a skillet, or a mortar and pestle. Aim for a coarse grind, not a fine powder.
  • Melt the butter: Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  • Sauté the shallot and peppercorns: Add the minced shallot and crushed peppercorns to the melted butter. Sauté for 1-2 minutes, or until the shallots are softened and the peppercorns are fragrant.
  • Deglaze the pan: Carefully pour in the brandy or cognac. Increase the heat slightly and gently scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until the liquid reduces slightly.
  • Add broth and reduce: Add the beef broth and continue to cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is reduced by half (about 5 minutes).
  • Whisk in cream and seasonings: Reduce the heat to low. Slowly whisk in the heavy cream and the Worcestershire sauce (if using). Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Simmer and thicken: Simmer the sauce for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until it reaches your desired consistency.
  • Strain (Optional): For a smoother texture, strain the sauce through a fine-mesh sieve before serving.
  • Serve immediately: Serve the sauce warm over your favorite steaks, pork chops, or chicken.

Notes:

  • Alcohol substitutions: If you don’t have or want to use brandy/cognac, substitute with an equal amount of additional beef stock, white wine, or even a splash of balsamic vinegar.
  • Green peppercorns: For a different flavor profile, use 1 tablespoon drained brined green peppercorns instead of, or in addition to, the black peppercorns.
  • Flavor additions: Try a small pinch of ground mustard powder or a tiny bit of Dijon mustard for extra depth.

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