Bryan Webb

Steak & Chips

Steak and Chips is still the nations favourite meal, a special treat for most, its certainly my first choice to cook for my wife and myself on a rare night off at home and it’s the original fast food, as it should not take more and ten minutes to put together.

Steak “au poivre”

I have served steak “au poivre” since I took over Hilarie’s Kitchen from Simon Hopkinson who’s recipe this basically is.  When I took over Tyddyn Llan it went straight on the menu, one hotel inspector who ordered it commented where the garnish was, to me it needs no garnish just homemade chips and a crisp green salad. Steak and Chips

Ingredients

- 2 tablespoons of black peppercorns
- 2 tablespoons of white peppercorns
- 4 175g/6oz fillet steaks or whatever your choose or budget
- Salt
- 3 tablespoons of sunflower oil
- 75g/3oz unsalted butter
- 2 good slugs of brandy
- 8 tablespoons of meat glace

1. Crush the peppercorns in a pestle or a coffee grinder. Tip the pepper into a sieve over a bowl and shake well to remove all the powdered pepper, use this for other seasoning. You can buy crushed peppercorns in the super market.

2. Press the peppercorns onto both sides of the steaks and place on a tray.

3. Heat the oil in a thick bottom frying pan which is big enough to hold all the steaks without crowding until hot. Place the steaks in the pan and fry for two minutes until a crust is formed, turn the steaks and cook for a further two minutes; do not have the heat too hot as to burn the pepper. If you require your meat more cooked turn the steaks again but resist turning too often.

4.  Remove the steaks to a warm tray or plate and keep warm in a very low oven. Add 50g of the butter to the frying pan and allow to colour to a nut brown then add the brandy and be careful if you are near curtains or your valuable vent above the cooker in case it ignites, boil scraping any bits from the bottom of the pan, add the cream, meat glace or stock and bring to the boil.

5. Place the steaks on warm plates and add the remaining butter to the sauce and whisk, strain if you wish and pour of steaks and serve with whatever you fancy.

Chef's tips

The most important thing about steak and beef in general is that it has to come from good cattle and in Wales we are lucky to have our very own Welsh black beef and secondly it has to be hung for at least three weeks and more in case of a good roast rib or Sirloin.

When it comes to choosing the right steak for the right dish, it is to a certain extent, a matter for you. But there are a few thing to remember: fillet steak is tops for tenderness but forgoes flavour: Sirloin ( so called because the King knighted the loin) is the most common steak that you will come across and falls between the good flavour of my two favourites rib eye and rump steak and the texture of a buttery fillet.

Grilling (if you have gas barbeque make use of it in all weathers, grill outside and let the meat rest in a warm oven) produces a terrific crust on beef that contrasts well with a rosy red and juicy inside. For this reason, I have never understood the wish for a well done steak. I understand that the sight of underdone and bloody meat can be off putting, but I would rather have a stew if I wanted well cooked meat. The most important thing about grilling steak is that the grill must be very hot and when frying the oil should be almost smoking before you put the steak in, and remember that resting meat after cooking even a steak is very important.