2 trimmed slices of fillet (or contre-filet) weighing 180–200g (6½–7oz) each
40g (1½oz) currants
1tablespoon coarsely crushed black pepper (crush it in a pestle and mortar or wrap in a cloth and crush with a bottle)
50g (1¾oz) butter
3tablespoonsarmagnac or cognac
3tablespoonsstock made with ½beef stock cube
Bring ½litre (scantpint) water to the boil and throw in the currants. Allow to boil for 5 minutes, then drain and refresh under cold water.
Salt the beef on both sides and roll in the crushed pepper, pressing it well into the meat with the flat of your hand.
Heat alittle of the butter in a small frying-pan and cook the fillets, allowing 2–3 minutes on each side over a moderate heat. (The cooking time is only a suggestion, much depends on the thickness and texture of the meat and on your own taste. A note on this subject can be found in the previous recipe.) When they are cooked, remove the steaks and keep them hot on an upturned plate placed on a larger one and covered with a bowl. This allows the meat to keep hot without drowning in its own juices.
Pour off the butter in which the steaks have been cooked but do not wash the pan. Put the currants in the pan with the armagnac or cognac away from the heat (because the object of using spirit is to loosen the meat juices from the surface of the pan, and not to perform a firework display). Reduce over a low heat, then add the stock. Simmer for 2 minutes without allowing the liquid to reduce too much. Then gradually add the remaining butter in small pieces, giving the pan four or five swirling shakes to incorporate the butter into the sauce, without giving it a chance to become ‘oily’. Add salt if necessary.
Arrange the steaks on two hot plates and pour the sauce over them.
Coteaux d’Aix, Bandol, Côtes du Rhône or other full-bodied red wine