Long-fed beef is beginning to become very popular in Australian restaurants. As in the United States, it means the cattle are fed for up to 250 days on grain. Some Australian producers treat cattle with wagyu bloodlines in this way, which creates a seriously luxurious piece of beef. You can order long-fed beef from specialist butchers.
4 300 g long-fed dry-aged sirloin steaks
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped pink peppercorns
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped green peppercorns
3 tablespoons black peppercorns, dry-roasted
3 tablespoons white peppercorns, dry-roasted
100ml olive oil
2 tablespoons brandy
50ml olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
300g lean beef trimmings
100g shallots, roughly chopped
5 garlic cloves, finely sliced
100g field mushrooms, roughly diced
2 tablespoons black peppercorns, coarsely cracked
1/2 bunch thyme
300ml Veal jus
600ml pouring cream
lemon juice, squeezed
1 tablespoon finely chopped green peppercorns
1/2 bunch tarragon, leaves chopped
1 quantity Caramelised shallots or onions
300g baby mâche leaves or watercress
1. A couple of hours prior to serving, combine the peppercorns, brush the sirloin steaks with olive oil and press the steaks into the pepper mix to coat all over. Refrigerate until required.
2. To make the pepper sauce, take a large casserole and heat the olive oil and butter over a high heat. Fry the beef trimmings vigorously until they are well coloured all over, then add the shallots and garlic. Cook together until the shallots collapse and begin to caramelise, then add the mushrooms and continue cooking until soft. Add the peppercorns and thyme and cook for a few more minutes. Deglaze with brandy, tilt the pan towards the flame (taking care) and then flambé the alcohol.
3. Allow the brandy to reduce completely before adding the veal jus. Bring to the boil over a medium heat and reduce to a rich glaze. Add the cream, bring back to the boil and season with salt and lemon juice. Reduce to a very low heat and cover with a lid to keep the sauce warm while you prepare the caramelised shallots.
4. To cook the steaks, first bring them to room temperature so they cook evenly. Heat a frying pan wide enough to accommodate all the steaks over a high heat. Add olive oil and seal each steak well for 2 minutes on each side. Reduce the temperature of the pan if the steaks are getting too much colour. Remove the steaks from the pan and rest for 1 minute in a low oven to keep warm.
5. Deglaze the frying pan with the brandy over a medium heat, stirring any sediment off the base of the pan. Once reduced to a thin syrup, add this to the pepper sauce. Bring the pepper sauce back to the boil and check the seasoning. Pass through a sieve and add the green peppercorns, a knob of butter and the tarragon.
6. To serve, arrange a steak on each plate and cover with the pepper sauce. Top with the caramelised shallots, then the mâche leaves dressed with the vinaigrette.
• This pepper sauce is excellent with duck too, especially with the addition of some duck liver pâté blended into the hot sauce.
This recipe first appeared in Botanical by Paul Wilson.