Brandy Maple Pepper Steak Flambe

March 19, 2011
3 Ratings
  • Serves 2
Author Notes

One of the very few recipes I do with flambe is with brandy, steak, and cream. This new recipe is based on the traditional French technique, but introduces new flavors: maple syrup and a distinctive spiciness. By adding a hint of ground fennel to black peppercorns, they become pretty interesting together. The idea for this partnership I learned from thirschfeld when I was testing his great swordfish recipe. So here I am using it with beef. A filet mignon or sirloin will work best here. This is a very peppery steak, so feel free to cut down on its amount if you do not love pepper. —Sagegreen

What You'll Need
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons black peppercorns, freshly milled, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed, freshly ground
  • 1/2-1 teaspoons sea salt, to taste
  • 8-10 ounces grassfed beef sirloin or mignon, divided into 2 portions, about an inch thick
  • 2-3 tablespoons unsalted premium butter
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons white basalmic vinegar (cider or champagne vinegar will also do)
  • 3 tablespoons brandy, warmed
  • 1 shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 ounces mushrooms, (porcini or other boletus mushrooms soaked in 2 tbl. white wine to reconstitute)
  • 1 ounce fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, no stems
  • paper thin slices of one half Meyer lemon, seeds removed
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup, grade B
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
  1. Mix the peppercorns and fennel together in a shallow dish as long as your steaks. Pat the the steaks dry with paper towels. Press the steaks down in the pepper mix on both the top and bottom sides. Then let them rest for a few minutes. I don't like to add the salt yet because it draws out the juices, and the steaks need to be dry for searing.
  2. Heat the butter in a heavy bottom saute pan. Sear the steaks over medium high heat for about 3-4 minutes per side (or 5-6 minutes if you like your steak medium well done). Reduce the heat to low. Season with the salt. Splash in the wine and vinegar; cook for another minute or so.
  3. Warm the brandy slightly by placing in a small cup immersed in hot water. Pour the warmed brandy over the steaks. Leaning away from the pan (with all other combustibles cleared well away from your stove), flambe with a long kitchen or fireplace match. When the flames burn off, add the shallot slices, wine-soaked mushrooms (I include the wine, too), fennel, thyme leaves, and lemon slices. Pour the cream into the pan and stir, cooking for about a minute. You may want to check to see that your steaks are cooked to your desired degree of doneness with a discreet tiny cut to the middle, but take care not to let any inner juices escape. When perfectly browned on the outside and still pink in the middle, remove the steaks to a platter to let them rest.
  4. Stir in the maple syrup to the pan to finish cooking the sauce. Cook for 1 minute. To serve, spoon the sauce with shallots, mushrooms, fennel, and lemons over the steaks. Garnish with chopped flat leaf parsley. Serve with mashed potatoes or grits.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Lizthechef
  • indieculinary
  • pauljoseph
  • wssmom
  • TiggyBee

21 Reviews

Lizthechef March 21, 2011
My Hungarian sister, you have out-done yourself here! Love the recipe, photo and I really am trying to embrace fennel. Totally a wimp when it comes to flaming a recipe. Thumbs up!
Sagegreen March 21, 2011
Thanks, Liz. my Hungarian sister! Notice I kept paprika out of this altogether and actually have rather restrained the pepper with a few subtle fennel accents, not to overpower the cream. There sure are some very exciting, daring recipes this week. Mine looks quite tame by contrast! But we loved this as a special treat with the maple finish.
indieculinary March 21, 2011
Sounds delicious.
Sagegreen March 21, 2011
Thanks, srirachayeah.
fishersfoodie March 20, 2011
how strong is the fennel flavor with both the ground and sliced fennel?

This sounds awesome--I've been checking out both your and thirschfeld's recipes-and i love how you reference his earlier recipe as inspiration for this. I'm so impressed with this community of wonderful, creative and supportive cooks!

i was considering submiting my recipe for flaming sirloin with bleu cheese fondue, but you guys have me more than a little intimidated! LOL
Sagegreen March 20, 2011
Thanks, fisherfoodie. Would love to see your recipe! It sounds wonderful. I am intimidated everyday by this site, so welcome to the club! I have a subtle fennel flavor here, using only 1/2 tsp, where thirschfeld uses 1 whole tablespoon. Both recipes settle on 1 1/2 tsp. of the pepper. I am going for much more of a pepper dominance. My use of sliced fennel is also very minimal, more for an accent. The mushrooms are more pronounced. Yes, this is a very supportive wonderful community. Hope you will love it as much as we do!
fishersfoodie March 20, 2011
yes, like my pepper to be the dominatatrix! LOL...didn't catch the amount of the dried--you're right that will be the accent. Thx, Lorigoldsby
Sagegreen March 20, 2011
Oh, my! You are our finalist this week with that beautiful Florentine-like tart....hard to imagine you could feel intimidated. Congrats on being a finalist, even more so with your first entry here! You are up against our star, though! I have learned tons from thirschfeld.
pauljoseph March 19, 2011
Sagegreen seems to be very good recipe but I can only try on Easter day or after because I am on lend.
Sagegreen March 19, 2011
Thank you, no rush! Lent won't end until late April this year, too.
pauljoseph March 19, 2011
excellent will try
Sagegreen March 19, 2011
Thank you so much, pauljoseph. Please let me know what you think. I am going to try your pineapple after I get some rum.
wssmom March 19, 2011
Sounds delish, and astoundingly I have everything on hand except the white balsamic vinegar. Is it hard to locate?
Sagegreen March 19, 2011
Thanks! Mine is called Golden Balsamic; no, it's not hard to find. Regular supermarkets may carry it, too. You could use a cider or even champagne vinegar, instead. I just want something light to balance out the sweetness. Also the white wine is to keep the color and flavor light as well, vs. a red wine. I suggest a sirloin or filet mignon, but also a top round grassfed steak could work. Let me know what you think!
Sagegreen March 19, 2011
I just increased the amount for the sauce and decreased the pepper, since my company found both a good idea....just in case you are going to make this!
TiggyBee March 19, 2011
Hmmmm...I like it... Sounds fantastic!
Sagegreen March 19, 2011
Thanks, TiggyBee!
inpatskitchen March 19, 2011
Wow! We just had Amanda's Sugar Steak with Bourbon the other night, but this sure looks like it could be the next one one our plates.
Sagegreen March 19, 2011
Thanks, inpatskitchen. Yeah, but Amanda created her marvel with what, just 4 ingredients?
hardlikearmour March 19, 2011
Love the combo of maple and fennel! I think I'll try it next time I make pancakes, though I won't be setting them on fire :) Great recipe, sagegreen!
Sagegreen March 19, 2011
Thanks, hla. I wasn't sure I would be entering anything this week, but I got inspired at the Farmer's Market this morning with grassfed steak! Photos coming later.