One of the great classics – the secret of this dish is don’t be shy with the pepper and always allow the steaks to come back up to room temperature before coating them with the pepper. It is also worth wiping them with kitchen paper to remove any excess moisture and ensure they sear as soon as they hit the pan.
Preheat the oven to 220ºC (425ºF/Gas mark 7). Moisten the meat very slightly with some of the oil, then dredge each of the steaks in the crushed pepper to thoroughly coat.
Heat the remaining oil in the large heavy-based ovenproof frying pan over high heat. Once the oil is hot, add half of the butter. Once the butter is foaming, add the steaks to the pan and brown for about 5 minutes on each side.
Transfer the pan to the oven and cook for about 5-7 minutes for rare, 10 minutes for medium rare, and a little longer if you prefer your meat more well done. Remove from the oven and remove the steaks from the pan to rest in a warm place while you finish making the sauce.
To make the sauce, return the frying pan to the hob and carefully stir in the Cognac, the bottom of the pan scraping with the wooden spoon to remove the sediment and get all the flavour into the sauce.
Tom Barry’s family farm is Baytown Park, Dunboyne, Co Meath. He is the third generation on the farm taking over from his late father, Thomas Barry in 2008 and keeps Hereford cross suckler cows as well as pedigree Hereford cows. Herefords are such a docile breed and as a part time farmer, with teenagers helping around the farm, it’s important to have a breed that’s easy to look after and handle. Tom’s farm is in the Green, Low-Carbon, Agri-Environment Scheme (GLAS) for the past 5 years, where frequently taking soil samples and the completion of a nutrient management plan are required.