The Truth about Fillet Steak with Porcini and Pepper Sauce

Fillet steak with porcini sauce (16 of 17)

“Oh what a tangled web we weave. When first we practice to deceive.
– Sir Walter Scott”


You are a liar, Sir! You know who you are and I’m calling you out on it. I hope your ears are reddened by being caught out in such a pathetic attempt at misdirection. I didn’t buy it at the time and I’m not buying it now. 

For the rest of you, here’s the back story. A chap, whom I know vaguely, and myself were both in a group of people discussing recipes. Someone mentioned my blog. He (the vaguely known one) pretended to be intimate with it. He pontificated about the meat and he thought he was getting away with it. He pushed his luck. He shoved it over the cliff of truthfulness, right onto the rocks of deceit. He asked why I didn’t do walk-throughs on the recipes. He assured me that he had read loads of my posts. It became obvious to me (and everybody else there) that he had never seen my blog. As is the case with the inveterate liar, he couldn’t see that we knew he was telling porkies.

So, to make him feel as small as he should, here’s the truth about one of the tastiest meals I have ever cooked, Fillet Steak with Porcini and Pepper Sauce.

Fillet steak with porcini sauce (1 of 17)

Not a lot of ingredients. Truly, lots of delicious flavour.

Ingredients for two people

  • A nice piece of centre cut fillet steak (enough for two)
  • 2 large shallots
  • Half a tablespoon of mixed red, white and green peppercorns
  • 200 ml of chicken stock or equivalent of concentrated stock*
  • A handful of top quality dried porcini mushrooms
  • 100ml of Marsala wine
  • 100ml of cream
  • Salt and pepper
  • A little olive oil for frying
  • A bottle of great wine to accompany this delicious dish

*I make my own, concentrate it and freeze it in ice cube trays.

Just to make the point about the walkthroughs, I will show everything. First, open and decant your bottle of great wine.

Fillet steak with porcini sauce (6 of 17)

I was given this bottle of Chateau Petit Gravet back in 2010.

Trim and slice the shallots.

Fillet steak with porcini sauce (3 of 17)

Slice them nice and small. Small like the mind of the practised liar.

Place the mushrooms in a bowl and add some hot water.

Fillet steak with porcini sauce (2 of 17)

The mushrooms are reconstituted. The water takes on huge flavour too.

Heat a small amount of olive oil in a frying pan. Sauté the shallots over a medium low heat until they become translucent.

Fillet steak with porcini sauce (4 of 17)

How many times have I showed things frying for your education?

After about 20 minutes, take the mushrooms out of their water. Slice them up about the same size as the shallots.

Fillet steak with porcini sauce (7 of 17)

It’s a walkthrough. That’s why I have this picture here.

Add the mushrooms to the pan. Add most of the mushroom water. Turn up the heat and reduce the sauce by about half.

Fillet steak with porcini sauce (8 of 17)

Be careful to not add the bits of grit that will have sunk to the bottom.

When this has reduced by about half, add the Marsala wine.

Fillet steak with porcini sauce (11 of 17)

More big flavour from this “Widows favourite” wine.

Reduce this by about half again. Season with a little salt. Add the stock, reduce again.

Fillet steak with porcini sauce (9 of 17)

My stock is in concentrated form. If that fella had concentrated on the truth, I wouldn’t be showing you this.

Next add the peppercorns. In truth, you can add them earlier. I would be lying if I said otherwise.

Fillet steak with porcini sauce (10 of 17)

The peppercorns bring another dimension of flavour. Lovely notes of colour too.

When the sauce is getting a bit thick, add the cream.

Fillet steak with porcini sauce (13 of 17)

The sauce will have darkened, like my mood when I have to listen to damn lies.

Sir the cream in and let it thicken to a nice consistency.

Fillet steak with porcini sauce (14 of 17)

The sauce will darken to a dark mushroomy brown/green as it thickens too.

While this is going on, slice the fillet into serving sized pieces.

Fillet steak with porcini sauce (5 of 17)

A totally gratuitous meat slicing shot. In truth, I enjoy them.

Season the steak with salt and pepper. Heat a cast iron skillet to very hot and fry your fillet steaks.

Fillet steak with porcini sauce (12 of 17)

Lovely fillet steak.

Fry until you get a nice crust on the end. Turn the steak over and place the skillet in a hot oven for 5 minutes.

Place the steak on a warm plate. Pour over the sauce. Add some green veg for colour.

Fillet steak with porcini sauce (15 of 17)

I have been practicing my overhead shots.

Enjoy this delicious dish with somebody who will truly appreciate it. They will undoubtedly tell you it is the best meal they have ever tasted. They are probably not lying.

Footnote on calling out the liar: Given that the liar had not seen the blog before, I feel pretty certain that they will not bother looking at it now either. But, now you know about them and their lying ways. That makes me feel good. 


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Latest comments
  • Finally a good looking pepper sauce!

    • Thanks Donna,
      The sauce was almost green. I can’t say how tasty it was. It was one of the best I have done. Delighted with it!

  • People stealing your pics and buggers calling you out about steak – Jesus C whats the story!?!?! Great looking dish :0)

    • Hanging with the wrong crowd Big Fella’. Good that I’m not feeding the same people!

  • I’m still admiring that chopping board of yours. You know, the one that featured in a previous post in its own right and in pretty nearly every chopping shot since… OK, having established my bona fides… yum! That’s a very handsome piece of steak, too.

    • Thanks Kate,
      That board has history, going back to the original ‘Board Meeting’ post. It brings me joy and sadness as the late and missed Richard McGary was one of my participants in that bit of nonsense and good fun.
      The link is here, if you want a laugh (and a bit of a cry for me).

  • Telling porkies? That’s a new one on me … maybe you should create a dish by that name in honor of the liar … just make it with beef 🙂

    • Pork pies = “pies” rhymes with “lies”! Gotta love that Cockney rhyming slang! 🙂

      • Thanks Angie. John at Sybaritica is based in the frozen north of Alaska. Not too many Cockney’s there. Though, post Brexit, they may get a few more….

  • Ha ha – I hope he does see the blog now! That looks like an excellent steak 🙂

    • There’s a large part of me hopes he reads it. The cheek of the git!

  • Such a beautiful creation makes you forget about the liars! 🙂

    • Thanks Ronit. You bring me back to reality and get me to focus on what is important – The steak and the sauce.

  • Just had breakfast but could do that steak right now!!!

    • Happy to have done that. Do try to wait until at least lunch time.

      • I did wait. It’s on the menu for Sat. Evening.

  • What is the world coming to? Strangely your quote is one I used for my yearbook quote, Eastside High School, Paterson NJ, year 19__ (let’s just say a long time ago). I always thought it was Shakespeare. Fifty years later I learn the truth…and a great recipe to boot. May surprise my husband with this one come the weekend. Thanks. N.

    • It would be a nice surprise for your other half. Hopefully not too shocking to learn about the origins of the quote. Suffice to say, you are not the only one who mis-attributes stuff to the Bard.

      • Yes true, I was a young and naive kid trying to be sophisticated.

        • I’m an old git trying to do likewise. I continually fail. The trying is fun all the same.

          • I agree. This old git likewise just wants to have fun (with apologies to Cyndi Lauper).

  • This sauce looks and sounds amazing as does that beautiful filet!

    • Hi Julie,
      Nice to have you back commenting. I must do some more upmarket stuff to keep you coming back. Hope all is good with you.

      • hahah Conor. I miss commenting more. I tend to get stuck in the kitchen or writing. I always enjoy your master pieces.

  • This looks great, Conor! Very good looking beef.

    • Thanks Stefan,
      I was particularly happy with this piece of cooking. The sauce really was pretty special. The mushrooms were of particularly high quality. This made a huge difference.

  • I equally admire your talents for cooking and humorous storytelling! 😀

    • Thanks for that Melissa. Great to hear from you. I assume the summer is a busy one on the Island.
      Best as ever,

  • Well the NOIVE of that liar! You know, we have some frozen tenderloin fillets that could use a good cook before they get too old. I just might have to make this, and I PROMISE I won’t chastise you for not detailing every step. (Good Lord, if he had ever read ONE post of yours, he would realize what an idjit he was for saying that. You even include gratuitous pouring, shaking, and chopping shots to boot. Shame on him. xoxo

    • You always bring a bit of US color to the conversation Kathryn. I love the ‘idjit’ word and spelling. He was a bit offside, for sure.
      Hope all goes well.

  • I actually love your gratuitous ‘shot’ – darn nice piece of meat I can taste on my palate!! Porcini mushrooms prohibitively expensive here, but . . .and I have to look up your St. Emilion wine 🙂 ! Luvverly!!

    Off topic: hope you are ready from Saturday . . . . methinks a great route for the ‘Tour’, can’t wait, here goes the sleep for July . . . but it will be wonderful to sit on the back of the ‘foto-moto’ and travel around the country again!! Since Cadel E left have not been so enthusiastic, but love the SKY team and shall be barracking for CF!!!!

    • Hi Eha,
      I haven’t had a minute to watch any of the TDF. This is a crying shame but, what do we do? I plan to sit with the TV on next Thursday when they ascend Mt. Ventoux. We did it as part of our Paris to Nice trip last year. It is a beast of a climb and it will bring back some fond memories. They attack it from the Bedouin side which is the same route we did (there are three). That leaves two to be completed!

  • That really sounds and looks delicious. And I love the copper pan too.

    • Thanks,
      I’m blessed to have a set of decent copper pans. I was in a store in the US recently and saw what they cost new. Eye watering. I will treat mine with more respect in future.

  • To spite the liar your photos are particularly wonderful Conor.

    • Sandra,
      He deserves to be spited, at least.

  • The only way you could walk us through your recipes with more detail is to come over and cook it for us. My grandma would say “nowt so queer as folk” and boy do people like that person prove it out regularly. Very strange.

    • Hi Virginia,
      Strange but not rare, unlike the steak. It would be fun to pop over there and do a bit of cooking.

  • This is absolutely gorgeous, Conor. I happen to have everything but the mushrooms in my kitchen, waiting for me to get home. I had been thinking of a different sauce, but you’ve leaned me in your direction.

    • Thanks Jeff,
      The whole thing was pretty simple really. But, that sauce was wonderful. Since cooking it, I have been on a quest here in Dublin to find mixed peppercorns. They are not easy to get. I must look online.

  • Great recipe! Looks delicious 🙂 I just did a blog post of my recipe for my marinated lemon and rosemary lamb. Feel free to check it out at Thanks 🙂

    • Hi Seda,
      Thanks for the kind words. I love your approach to the lamb. Using smaller cuts is a great idea that I must employ more often. There are less of us living at home these days and doing complete legs means a lot of leftovers. That, in itself, is not a bad thing either.

  • Conor, I’ve taken the steaks out to make this sometime this weekend but had a question. Do you eat the peppercorns or scrape them off leaving the gravy behind?

    • Hi Kathryn,
      Apologies for the delay in responding. I was out at a dinner last night and didn’t get in until late. I ate them. They were mostly red, green and white with only a few black (no, I’m not a racist). Sum they were pretty soft by the time the sauce was cooked. Really delicious!

      • Hey no worries, the filets are still defrosting in the fridge and wasn’t planning on making them until tomorrow or maybe Saturday depending on our plans. This is good grass-fed local beef that is in our freezer, I just wanted to finish using it up until next season and this is the perfect recipe! I’ll pick out most of the black peppers and leave mostly whites, greens and reds. Thank you my dear! I am still on a 12-day vacation from work, hence the late night U.S. post from me. (Although it’s not even 12:30 am but probably time to put the head down.)

        • I might add that gourmet mixed peppercorns are available in bulk here in the U.S. at my local grocer. I paid exactly $1.50 U.S. for about 2 tablespoons. The dried porcini were much more spendier but they are locally harvested from our own trees here. They were about $4.50 U.S. for 0.5 ounces (14 grams) of them dried. Money worth spent, I am sure to make my beef sing the song of the gravy.

          • Brilliant stuff. The porcini I used are eye-wateringly expensive. However, that is money well spent. I spent a shocking €4.59 on a teaspoon worth (or so it seems) of “organic mixed peppercorns”. That organic word is overused. I have a vision of the peppercorn grower floating on an organic airbed in a swimming pool of sparkling water, smoking a big, organic cigar. Can’t wait to see the recipe.

          • Oy still up but really headed to bed. The recipe will be yours my dear. I’m linking up to your post but with a photo of two of mine. I can’t think of anything to make it any more perfect to make it a new recipe. xo

  • Love. Love. Love! The story, the recipe, the photos and especially the captions:) and this is the truth;-)

  • I am not much of a beef eater but this looks mouthwatering delicious!! And shame on that liar, he does not know what he is missing😊

  • Mr. Pants on fire may be related to someone I know…or perhaps several someones. If the best revenge is a life well lived, you’ve just proved the point. Marvelous looking dinner!

      • My children would have called you out for using the “I” word, lol! 🙂

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