help with black pepper sauce

Joined Jan 8, 2010
Hi All,

I’m running into some problems with the pepper sauce we serve with steak.

I’ve taught the staff how to make it starting of with a roux, but our kitchen is small and we only do a limited amount of sauce and the staff is short cutting by working with a slurrie.

It doesn’t taste bad, but not like it does when starting of with a roux.

In one of the threads about ‘mother sauces” I saw some remarks about quicker ways, more modern ways to make sauces and I’m keen to know more about this.

I’m limited in ingredients I can use.

I can’t get sour cream, normal cream doesn’t keep, so I can’t use that either (unless maybe I can freeze it in portions?). Green pepper corns are out as well as the price is prohibitive.

Can anyone (both home cooks and professionals) come up with a good method to make a pepper sauce, based mainly on butter and flour?
Joined Oct 2, 2010
Butzy, if I were you, living and cooking in extreme conditions, I wouldn't hesitate a single second to use powdered sauces and tweak them to my own taste if necessary.

I'm totally convinced that this (powdered) sauce will taste better than anything you can produce in quite limited conditions;

Also, there's no waste if you use this thoughtfully! I can imagine someone in your kitchen sweating shallots or onions, adding a dash of cognac or brandy, flamber, a dash of white wine and then add a solution made with the powder to produce a delicious sauce!
Joined Apr 3, 2010
Are you looking for a Steak Dianne type sauce? 

     If so I woud make a Light Bechamel with cognac, shallots, hint garlic  and crushed black pepper. Or  you could soak and boil black pepercorns and chop them.
Joined Jan 8, 2010
At the moment we should be using a bechamel sauce with lots of freshly ground black pepper, but my staff is short cutting on the bechamel sauce.

I can understand why, so I'm looking for another way to do a black pepper sauce.

Are there any shortcuts in making a bechamel sauce with about the same results as compared to making it the classic way?

I should also add that we are doing the steaks on the hot plate, so can't use the meat juices either.

Chris: I'm not to keen on the ready made sauces as they are often very salty and I haven't found one here that I really like.

At the moment I'm looking at maybe making beef or chicken stock and reducing it (and freezing in ice cube trays) and use 1 or 2 ice cubes in combination with an easy bechamel sauce.........

Can I freeze cream in portions? Or would they shift and/or seperate?
Joined Apr 3, 2010
What is short cutting a bechamel mean, God knows it is fast to make the right way. You understand why?? You are the boss and thats the way it has to be, tell them that. What kind of place are you operating?
Joined Oct 2, 2010
First of all I agree with Ed, you're the boss!

There's another way of making a white sauce and it's made with "beurre manié". Nothing more than mixing equal amounts of butter with plain flour into some kind of a dry-ish paste. This stuff keeps well in your fridge for 2 weeks! Béchamel can be made 2 ways; adding cold milk to hot roux or the invers; adding cold beurre manié to hot liquid.

You could warm some stock of your choice, add beurre manié a bit at a time as it takes a while to bind and certainly let it cook for a while to get rid of the flourtaste.

Even when using only stock your sauce will look like a genuine peppersauce. After that you can add cream or a dash of milk.

BTW, a nice way to make black pepper steak is to push the raw steak in crushed peppercorns before cooking them! Very authentic!

Quote Butzy;"... I'm not to keen on the ready made sauces as they are often very salty and I haven't found one here that I really like.  "

You should always season well, especially salt! It makes your customers drink a lot;... tsjing, tsjing as in kassa, kassa!
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Joined Feb 3, 2011
You could try this,

Use fatty topside mince, pepper corns, a bit of molasses is best or maple syrup or caramelised brown sugar and heaps of Bay leaves. Darken the mince then add a tea spoon (or so) of white pepper return to heat for a short time to activate pepper. Tip boiling water onto the mix and set aside for half hour (take of scum). Drain the water into a dish. Repeat the cooking of the meat then repeat the process but add more flavour.

It's a fast, way of making a basic stock. The trick is the bay leaves and topside mince. Don't be scared to add 10 times the normal amount of bay'll see. Use the mince for a pie
Joined Jan 8, 2010
Thanks for all the help so far. Am going to try a couple of different approaches.

Gareth: Interesting idea. I've never used mince for a stock, neither that amount of bay leaves. Worth a try, especially if I can use the mince afterwards!

Chris: I bought some beef soup (packaged dry soup by Knorr) and am going to try use a little of that to enhance the flavour. I do that sometimes with a mushroom sauce (with mushroom soup of course) and that normally works ok. Also going to try and freeze some cream in ice cube trays and see if that works!

Ed: Like your idea of soaking black peppercorn and chopping them. How does that relate to freshly grinding them? Does it give a stronger flavour or weaker? Would you fry them a little before incorporating in a sauce?

Tempted to use some brandy in the peppersauce, but might not really be child friendly?

As to the type of place I'm running: That question is too long to answer (if you seriously want to know, then send me a pm). Suffice it to say that I'm not a chef and the kitchen is only part of the operation so I can't be there all the time. I wish I could! Understaffed, underpaid and overworked!

The main thing is that I'm not completely happy with the sauce we are serving now, even if it is done with a proper bechamel sauce to start off with....
Joined Jun 14, 2002
Hmm, a black peppered bechamel is not what I'd expect with steak. In the US, that's more like something called saw mill gravy. Man, Zamibia, I can't even imagine.

Pepper sauce and steak, usually means to me steak au poivre, where the sauce is made to order in the same pan the steak was cooked in. No roux usually used.

You could also adapt the classic Sauce Poivarde:

Brown well mirepoix and meat trimmings.

Deglaze with white wine, and white wine vinegar. Reduce au sec.

Add espagnole. Simmer to develop flavors.

Infuse sauce with crushed toasted black peppercorns. Don't infuse too long, or you will lose the nuance to the harshness.


Monte au buerre.
Joined Jun 11, 2011
Are you looking for a Steak Dianne type sauce? 

     If so I woud make a Light Bechamel with cognac, shallots, hint garlic  and crushed black pepper. Or  you could soak and boil black pepercorns and chop them.
So you would basically be making a steak au poivre with this recipe. Instead of putting the peppercorns in with the sauce, I like to smash the peppercorns right into the meat and cover it all with the sauce once cooked. 
Joined Aug 6, 2011
when i make a bechemel i use 50g butter melted with 50g flour mix and cook the flour out.

I then add half Pt of milk and mix like hell. i keep adding milk until it cant take no more.

it goes lumpy but if you whisk everything in for about 10 minutes then pass it, you cant really go wrong.

(a normal bechemel takes me 1 hour to make)

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