Green peppercorn sauce...
Two very good friends from my days in Tulsa, OK, Dennis Gaffke and his wife, Peggy, decided to retire to the hills of Tennessee after Dennis sold his company sometime in the mid-1990s. At their invitation, I decided to venture down from Pennsylvania to the outback of Tennessee to visit Dennis and Peggy for a couple of days over the New Year's holiday. (That's quite a story in itself because Dennis and Peggy had also invited another couple from Tulsa who were good friends, Jerry and Marilyn Matulis. It was three full days of laughing and partying hearty from early in the morning until late at night!)
Dennis loves to cook and is a very good cook. He once made a killer duck with a red raspberry sauce that was "to kill for"! It was during this New Year's holiday trip, however, that Dennis taught me how to make this excellent sauce.
The green peppercorn sauce takes several hours to make, but it is well worth being patient and taking the time to simmer this sauce slowly to 40% of its original content (and with no cover on the sauce pot). Just stir occasionally and the flavor just continues to grow until the sauce is perfect. In addition, the sauce thickens as it cooks down, so don't worry if it looks a bit soupy at the onset.
Interestingly, Dennis' recipe calls for using four button mushrooms but I like to use crimini (baby portabella) mushrooms...and I use eight (or maybe even ten) rather than four mushrooms to add depth of flavor. Good green peppercorns and shallots, too, are essential as is the whipping cream and good brandy. Don't skimp on using quality ingredients for this sauce. I purchase my green peppercorns online from Penzy's spices.
Dennis used this sauce for beef tenderloin and it was a homerun for that particular cut of beef. Having made and used this sauce on different meats and using different preparations for them, my suggestion is not to grill the beef on an outdoor grill because the BBQ flavor will detract from the richness of the green peppercorn sauce. An indoor grill pan works great and has the same effect of producing those great-looking sear lines on the meat. Over the years, I've found this sauce also goes nicely with pork chops, venison, and elk. I've never used it for chicken, but I think it would go very well on a chicken cutlet.
For the meal below, I used elk tenderloin which a neighbor up the street brought home from a hunting trip in North Dakota. His wife won't allow game meat to be cooked in the house, so I get all of the fresh elk and venison he brings home from his hunting trips. I cook it and then deliver packages for him to eat at lunch. This guy also loves to fish in the Atlantic Ocean. He once brought me four sides of freshly caught Atlantic sea bass that I butchered into sea bass steaks. I wrapped them individually in freezer wrap and had sea bass for almost one year. Imagine what that would have cost at a good fish store! The poor dear...she doesn't know what she is missing!
The preparation for this
meal was minimal because I had the green peppercorn sauce ready and on hand. I dressed
the elk in a little olive oil, salt, and pepper and then pan grilled the tenderloins
until they were rare. To serve the dish, I plated two pieces of tenderloin atop buttered Kluski (Polish!) noodles. I should have put freshly chopped parsley
on the noodles, but alas, I forgot. Lastly, I dressed the elk tenderloin with
the green peppercorn sauce. Even though the meat is red, I served a
Chardonnay because of the cream base in the sauce. The salad was a romaine
salad with an apple cider vinaigrette (made with mayonnaise, sour cream, fresh
grated Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, and Tabasco sauce).
Like the idea? Here's the recipe:
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