Szechuan steak au poivre forestière

Serves 4

I have often used Szechuan peppercorns in cooking and regretted it afterwards because their intense heat tends to stay with you. It wasn't until I went to Bar Shu in Soho, a restaurant specialising in Szechuan cooking, that I learnt to enjoy the sensual heat that these innocent little peppercorns give off.

Steak au poivre is, of course, a classic French dish that doesn't often find its way on to restaurant menus these days. I don't know why because it's a bloody good dish and I'm going to give it a little Asian twist here – instead of using wild mushrooms, which aren't in season right now, I'm going to use a selection of Asian mushrooms that are readily available, fresh and dried, in supermarkets and Asian stores.

I've opted for my favourite steak here, butcher's steak or onglet, as it's known in France. It is next to the flank or bavette and hangs just below the kidneys, which gives it a really special flavour. It's called butcher's steak because it was the butcher's treat. You will need to ask your butcher to save these for you as there are only two per animal and you can normally get two to three portions out of each. If this fails, then use flank steak, rump, sirloin or rib.

4 butcher's steaks, each weighing about 200-250g
1tbsp Szechuan peppercorns, lightly crushed
Sea salt
1-2tbsp sesame oil
2 large shallots, peeled, halved and finely chopped
1tbsp grated fresh root ginger
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
250g fresh mushrooms like shiitake, inoki, black fungus, king oyster, etc, or dried & reconstituted
2tbsp rice wine
1tbsp soy sauce
200ml beef stock
1-2tbsp cornflour
1tbsp chopped coriander

Trim the mushrooms and cut them into even- sized pieces. Gently cook the shallots, ginger and garlic in a tablespoon of the sesame oil for a minute or so then add the mushrooms. Continue cooking for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally and add the rice wine, soy and stock, bring to the boil and simmer very gently for 10 minutes. Dilute the cornflour in a little water and stir in enough to just thicken it, then simmer for another 2-3 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a large, heavy-based frying pan or two with the remaining sesame oil. Season the steaks with salt, and pepper them fairly heavily. Cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side, keeping them rare, then remove from the pan and leave to rest on a plate for a minute or so.

Pour any juices from the steak into the sauce then slice the steak 4 or 5 times on the bias. Spoon the mushrooms and sauce on to warmed plates and lay the steak on top.

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
A teenager boy wakes up.
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Critics say Kipling showed loathing for India's primitive villagers in The Jungle Book
filmChristopher Walken, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johanssen Idris Elba, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale
Life and Style
food + drink
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Life and Style
Playing to win: for Tanith Carey, pictured with Lily, right, and Clio, even simple games had to have an educational purpose
lifeTanith Carey explains what made her take her foot off the gas
Arts and Entertainment
A still from Duncan Campbell's hour-long film 'It for Others'
Turner Prize 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hadley in a scene from ‘Soul Boys Of The Western World’
musicSpandau Ballet are back together - on stage and screen
Arts and Entertainment
From left to right: Ed Stoppard as Brian Epstein, Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Elliott Cowan as George Martin in 'Cilla'
tvCilla review: A poignant ending to mini-series
Life and Style
Bearing up: Sebastian Flyte with his teddy Aloysius in Brideshead Revisited
lifePhilippa Perry explains why a third of students take a bear to uni
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Alan Sugar appearing in a shot from Apprentice which was used in a Cassette Boy mashup
artsA judge will rule if pieces are funny enough to be classed as parodies
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Food and Beverage Cost Controller

    18,000 to 20,000 per annum: Accountancy Action: Our fantastic leisure client i...

    Marketing Analyst / Marketing Executive

    £20 - 24k: Guru Careers: A Marketing Analyst / Marketing Executive is needed t...

    IT Administrator - Graduate

    £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

    USA/Florida Travel Consultants £30-50k OTE Essex

    Basic of £18,000 + commission, realistic OTE of £30-£50k : Ocean Holidays: Le...

    Day In a Page

    Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

    Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

    and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
    Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

    Last chance to see...

    The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
    So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

    Truth behind teens' grumpiness

    Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

    Hacked photos: the third wave

    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
    Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

    Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

    Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
    Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

    Education, education, education

    TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
    It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

    It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

    So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
    This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

    Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

    Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
    We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

    Inside the E15 'occupation'

    We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
    Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

    Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

    Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
    Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

    Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

    The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
    Witches: A history of misogyny

    Witches: A history of misogyny

    The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
    Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

    Meet the most powerful woman in US television

    Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
    'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

    Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

    Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style