1 bunch watercress
100g unsalted butter, softened
2 tbsp soft green peppercorns in brine, drained
1kg floury potatoes, such as sebago
rice bran oil, to deep-fry
4 x 200g aged grass-fed scotch fillet steaks
1 tbsp olive oil
1 Pick half of watercress into small bundles and wash gently. Place stalks in a small bowl of iced water and set aside. Trim large stalks from remaining watercress.
2 Bring a medium saucepan half-filled with water to boil and add a large pinch of salt. Drop in trimmed watercress and blanch for 1 min, to set colour. Drain and place in a bowl of iced water to cool. Drain again, squeeze dry and place on paper towel.
3 Place butter, green peppercorns, blanched watercress and a pinch of salt in a food processor and process until well combined. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
4 Peel potatoes, if you like, and cut into fat chips. Place in a large saucepan, cover with water and add a good pinch of salt. Bring to boil on high heat and par-cook for 2-3 mins. Drain, spread out on a tray and place in fridge for 3 hrs or overnight, to dry out completely.
5 Heat rice bran oil in a deep-fryer to 180C, or add enough oil to a wok to reach a depth of 7cm, and heat on medium until a cube of bread sizzles on contact. Cook potato in batches for 3-4 mins, until crisp and golden. Drain on paper towel and season with salt..
6 Meanwhile, clean and lightly oil a chargrill or barbecue and heat on high. Season steaks, drizzle both sides with a little olive oil and smear lightly all over. Cook for 1 min, lift and turn at a 45 degree angle, and cook for another 1 min, until browned. Turn and repeat on other side. Remove from heat and set aside to rest for 2 mins. Top each steak with a dollop of watercress and peppercorn butter, and serve with chips and reserved watercress.
• Look for French green peppercorns that come in small cans. They’re soft and, though peppery, have a pleasant sweetness. If they’re a little hard, pound them lightly until soft..
• Put the par-cooked potato in the fridge for several hours or even the night before to dry out, to get that nice starchy crust that makes a great chip.
COOK 1hr 45mins
1/3 cup (45g) black peppercorns
800g chuck or blade steak, cut into 5cm chunks
1/4 cup (60ml) olive oil
150g pancetta or speck, chopped
1 large onion, cut into thick wedges
2 large carrots, thickly sliced
8 garlic cloves, peeled
1 cup (250ml) dry red wine, such as shiraz
3 cups (750ml) good quality beef stock or jus
250g small kipfler potatoes, peeled
1/4 cup (60ml) extra virgin olive oil, to serve
2 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
grilled crusty bread, to serve
1 Using a mortar and pestle, coarsely crush peppercorns. Season beef with salt and toss in cracked black pepper. Heat half of olive oil in a large saucepan on high. Add beef in batches. Add remaining olive oil if pan is dry and meat sticks.
2 Cook beef, turning, for 4-5 mins, until well browned all over. Remove from pan and transfer to a plate. Cook pancetta in same pan for 2-3 mins, until lightly browned. Remove pancetta from pan.
3 Reduce heat to medium. Cook onion, carrot and garlic in same pan, stirring occasionally, for 5 mins, until softened and lightly caramelised. Stirring will prevent garlic cloves from browning too much.
4 Return beef and pancetta to pan and increase heat to medium-high. To deglaze pan, stir in wine, scraping base of pan to dislodge and dissolve any brown bits.
5 Cook for 3-4 mins, until wine reduces by half. Add stock and potatoes. Reduce heat to mediumlow. Cook for 11/2 hrs, until beef is tender. Drizzle over extra virgin olive oil and scatter over parsley. Serve with bread.
• I often buy blade, chuck or beef cheek whole for braising. I like to cut big steak-like chunks for stews – it’s rustic, meaty and beautiful to cook with.
• Browning the meat is crucial for good flavour, so caramelise it well on all sides. That sweet, meaty taste is what a good stew is all about.
• You could cook this dish in a 165C or 145C fan oven with a tight-fitting lid for 11/2-2 hours. It won’t stick to the base of the pan and will cook evenly.