Filet Mignon Steaks with Sichuan Peppercorn Sauce Recipe
Source: Steaklover's Companion

Serves 6



Mountainous Sichuan in western China is the largest of all the country's provinces. The cuisine is renowned for its assertive flavors and fieriness, due largely to the abundant use of chiles and the small, brown, aromatic Sichuan peppercorns. Chef Susanna Foo tells us, "Sichuan peppercorns are as important in Chinese cookery as black peppercorns are in the Western world. Even though they originated in the Sichuan province, they are widely used all over China." Beef is consumed more in Sichuan than in many other parts of China, and it is invariably cut into bite-size pieces and stir-fried as in this recipe.


For Sichuan Peppercorn Oil:

2 tablespoons Sichuan peppercorns

1 cup corn or olive oil

3 garlic cloves

For Steaks and Marinade:

2 tablespoons brandy

1 1/2 pounds filet mignon steaks, trimmed well and cut into1/2-inch-thick slices

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 tablespoon corn oil

For Rice:

2 cups medium-grain rice

For the Stir-Fry:

1/2 cup corn oil

1/4 cup chopped onion

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon minced ginger

1 teaspoon dried green peppercorns

1/2 cup beef stock

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 red bell pepper, seeded and julienned

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves



TO PREPARE PEPPERCORN OIL: Toast the peppercorns in a hot, dry skillet. Turn the heat to medium-low and shake the skillet or stir frequently, for about 20 minutes, or until the peppercorns are dark brown and fragrant. Heat the oil in a saucepan until very hot. Add the peppercorns and garlic, and cook for 2 minutes over high heat. Turn off the heat and let cool. Pour into an airtight bottle or container and store in a cool, dry place. The remainder of the oil not used in this recipe will keep for three months if stored properly.

TO PREPARE STEAKS: Place the brandy and filets in a mixing bowl, add the cornstarch, add toss together to coat. Add the oil and mix well, making sure the pieces of meat are separated from one another. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

TO PREPARE RICE: Wash the rice 2 or 3 times until the water is clear, and drain well. Place 2 cups of water in a heavy saucepan with a tight-fitting lid and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the rice, turn the heat to very low, and stir once to loosen any grains sticking to the bottom. Cook for 5 minutes and then cover the pan. Simmer the rice for 15 minutes, without lifting the lid. Remove the pan from the heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed. Fluff with a fork just before serving.

TO PREPARE STIR-FRY: Heat the oil in a wok to 350 degrees F. Add the beef in 2 batches, using a fork or chopsticks to separate the pieces as they cook. Cook for about 2 minutes, or until the steak is seared and well done outside but rare inside. Remove the steak from the wok with a slotted spoon, drain on paper towels, and keep warm. Strain off the oil and reserve for another use. Heat 2 tablespoons of the peppercorn oil in a clean wok or skillet. Add the onion, garlic, ginger, and peppercorns, and stir-fry over high heat for about 2 minutes, or until the onion is golden. Mix the stock with the cornstarch in a cup and add to the wok. Add the soy sauce, salt, and bell pepper, and stir-fry for 2 minutes or until heated through. Return the steak to the wok, add the cilantro, and stir-fry until the sauce thoroughly coats the meat, about 3 minutes.

TO SERVE: transfer the rice and stir-fry to separate serving bowls and let your guests serve themselves.