Posts Tagged ‘pepper’

Quick, easy and satisfying

Sunday, January 11th, 2009

This dish is quick and easy to prepare, and bound to satisfy on cold evenings. Depending on taste preference or budget, the cuts of steak that can be used are fillet, rump or sirloin. The tangy sauce and sautéed potatoes make perfect accompaniments. If you prefer your steak cooked rare, decrease the sauté time by two minutes per side. Serve this dish with roasted root vegetables or a purée of carrots and parsnips.

Pepper steaks with Dijon mustard sauce and sautéed potatoes (serves four)

Sautéed potatoes Ingredients

1kg Rooster potatoes

1 tablespoon olive oil

40g butter

8 leaves of fresh thyme or rosemary

1 clove of garlic (whole and unpeeled) Sea salt

Freshly milled pepper


1. Peel and cut the potatoes in half, and then into slices 1cm thick. Wash them in cold water after peeling and dry them with a towel before cooking.

2. Heat the oil and butter in a large, heavy-based frying pan. When it starts to foam, add the potatoes, thyme or rosemary and garlic.

3. Cook over a medium heat for about ten minutes, ensuring you shake the pan frequently to brown the potatoes evenly and avoid sticking.

4. Remove from the heat and season with sea salt and pepper.

5. Finish cooking in the oven (preheated to 180C) for about ten minutes. Remove and check the seasoning to taste.

Pepper steaks with Dijon mustard sauce


2 tblspns (15g) whole peppercorns

2 steaks (10oz or 300g each)

Sea salt

30g butter 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

100ml créme fraíche or double cream


1. Place the peppercorns on a chopping board and crush them with a rolling pin to a coarse finish. Press down on the rolling pin as you crush them.

2. Lightly salt the steaks and roll them in the peppercorns, pressing down on them as you do so. Refrigerate for about 15 minutes before cooking.

3. Heat the butter in a large, heavy-based frying pan until very hot. Add the steaks and sauté over a high heat for five or six minutes on each side. Remove the steaks from the pan (retaining the pan without washing) and place in a warm oven while you make the sauce.

4. Remove the frying pan from the heat, stir in the mustard and the cream and scrape the bottom of the pan to dissolve any remaining meat juices.

5. Place the pan back on the heat and cook until it almost reaches boiling point, but don’t allow it to boil. Taste and season if necessary. Remove steaks from the oven, pour the sauce over the meat and serve.

Slowly does it for summer

Sunday, August 3rd, 2008

03 August 2008
By Kevin Thornton
It’s great fun to cook with friends and family – especially when there are children involved. I tested out this theory recently in the sunshine in Portugal, where, with the sea breeze blowing up towards the house, I prepared a meal using the combined cooking talents of family and friends.

Communal food cooked for large gatherings must involve food that is easy to prepare and full of wonderful flavours. Dishes should be served in large bowls that can be placed in the centre of the table – so that everyone can help themselves.

Ideal dishes are fresh tomato and mozzarella salad with olive oil and fresh basil; chicken fajitas; homemade guacamole and tomato salsa; roasted new potatoes with rosemary and garlic; and roasted free-range chicken.

The chicken we had was free-range and yellow in colour, as it had been corn-fed. I bought it locally in the morning and it came in its full glory – complete with head and everything else attached. Despite our agreement to cook communally, I was left to deal with the bird.

I find slow cooking brings out the best flavour in roast chicken, so I got to work on it straight away, with the intention of leaving it to cook while we headed down to the sea.

Having removed the offending extraneous pieces and cleaned it entirely inside and out, I placed three whole garlic cloves and half an onion (sliced) in the chest cavity, along with half a lemon.

Then, I covered the chicken with a sprinkle of local olive oil, fresh lemon and lime juice, sea salt, freshly milled pepper and fresh rosemary. I placed the chicken in to cook at 100 degrees centigrade for between five and six hours.

When we returned home I turned the oven up to 200 degrees for half an hour while we prepared the dishes listed below. This last blast of high heat finishes it off beautifully.

If you are cooking the recipes below for large groups, just double the amounts.

Fresh tomato salsa (serves 6)
7 fresh tomatoes, finely diced
2 red onions, finely diced
Half clove garlic, crushed
Half jalapeno pepper, crushed
Pinch of cumin
Juice of two limes

1. Combine all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.

Guacamole (serves 6)
2 medium avocados, halved lengthwise and with stones removed
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 white onions, finely diced
4 fresh tomatoes, finely chopped
6 coriander leaves or flat leaf parsley if you don’t like coriander

1. Using a spoon, remove the pulp from the avocados and place in a medium bowl.

2. Drizzle avocado pulp with lemon juice and mash it up using a fork. Add remaining ingredients and stir.

3. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Chicken fajitas (serves 6)
6 large, boneless, skinless chicken breasts (preferably free-range), cut in half
200ml vegetable oil
Juice of 4 limes
1 small white onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves of garlic, crushed and then finely chopped
2 red jalapeno chillies, seeded and finely chopped
8 leaves of coriander
Half teaspoon sea salt
Flour tortillas
Tub of crème fraîche

1. Combine all the ingredients, except for the tortillas and crème fraîche, in a glass or ceramic dish and allow the chicken to marinade in the fridge, preferably overnight or for at least five hours.

2. Remove chicken breasts from marinade and grill until the juices run clear when the meat is pierced with a knife.

3. Slice chicken into thin strips and place it on warm flour tortillas, add the salsa or guacamole and roll.

4. Serve with a dollop of crème fraîche.

Kevin Thornton is a Michelin-starred chef and owner of Thornton’s Restaurant on St Stephen’s Green in Dublin.