Delicious recipes featuring whole peppercorns
January 12, 2014 7:20 PM   Subscribe

What are some good recipes that use whole peppercorns as an ingredient?

I love stews where there are whole black peppercorns in the sauce, which have been softened by cooking and are delicious. I'm looking for recipes like that and more. Ideally, the pepper would be one of the main flavours of the dish, e.g. steak au poivre.

Any kind of peppercorn is fine: black, white, red, green (fresh), Sichuan, etc., as long as the peppercorn is used whole (or mostly whole).
posted by mxc to Food & Drink (18 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Beef Daube, basically garlic beef stew, could be made with whole peppercorns easily.
posted by The Whelk at 7:26 PM on January 12, 2014

This pink peppercorn ice cream recipe looks insane. I'm going to try it, now that I went looking for something like this!
posted by xingcat at 7:58 PM on January 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

Trader Joe's had a recipe for tuna steaks that was basically cook whole peppercorns in oil until they soften or pop open then add the tuna steak. I'm not normally a huge pepper fan but it was delicious.
posted by brilliantine at 8:03 PM on January 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

Madhur jaffrey's coconut rice
posted by melissasaurus at 8:07 PM on January 12, 2014

Pepper Steak Soup is good. The way I was taught to make it was a little different from any of the online recipes, since the recipe I was taught from used whole peppercorns, and the online recipes all seem to ask for freshly ground pepper. I can't believe it would be as good with ground pepper. Here's one to get you going: Pepper Steak Soup. I'd suggest using a little more of the peppercorns than is called for with the ground pepper.
posted by Meep! Eek! at 8:21 PM on January 12, 2014

This tremendous book by Andreas Viestad, Where Flavor Was Born, features many African and Indian recipes that use pepper in some incredible ways. He's a Norwegian chef who fell in love with Zanzibar and the cuisine of the Indian Ocean, and this book is his tribute to that part of the world. I highly recommend it.

One of my favorite recipes that makes liberal use of peppercorns is this one.

Lemon Pepper Chicken (from South Africa)
Serves 4

  • 1 chicken (he recommends 3 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 lemons (Meyer or Eureka work well, but I prefer Meyer)
  • 4 tablespoons of butter, softened to room temperature
  1. Using a knife or shears, cut the chicken open down the back, and open it out flat. Place it in a baking dish.
  2. Using a mortar and pestle or other tool, coarsely crush the black peppercorns, fennel seeds and cinnamon. (You want things very coarse... it's not pleasant to eat a chunk of cinnamon, so you want the pieces of all of these spices big enough that someone can pick off the cinnamon when it's time to eat later. That means your peppercorns will be largely intact and just crushed a bit.) Rub the chicken with the spices and garlic.
  3. Rinse the lemons and cut them into chunks. Squeeze most of the lemon juice over the chicken, making sure to bruise the peel to release its essential oils. Scatter the lemon chunks over and under the chicken.
  4. Cover, refrigerate, and let marinate... the longer the better, up to 24 hours if possible (turn the chicken every several hours or so).
  5. Light a grill or heat up your broiler.
  6. Rub the chicken with the butter. Place it on the grill, turning it often to prevent charring, and cook it until it's cooked through (about 30 minutes, with a chicken of his recommended size). Or broil it for about 15 minutes, until browned, reduce the temperature to 400 degrees fahrenheit, and bake for another 30 minutes. Test for doneness in both cases by poking a knife into the thickest part of the thigh. If the juice runs clear, the chicken is done.
A side dish option (I highly recommend this):
If you're baking and broiling the chicken, put it on a roasting rack above a roasting pan full of potatoes. They will soak up all of the juices and seasonings from the chicken and they will taste fantastic.
posted by Old Man McKay at 8:31 PM on January 12, 2014 [8 favorites]

Green peppercorns are used in Thai cooking: Young Green Peppercorns (Prik Thai On พริกไทยอ่อน)
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:53 PM on January 12, 2014

Carbonara could be made with whole peppercorns, or very very lightly crushed ones.

I no longer have the recipe (sorry) but pink peppercorn granita as a garnish for oysters is out of this world. The basic recipe involved essentially making an intense pink peppercorn stock, then following a standard granita recipe, if memory serves. And we'd stir in lightly crushed peppercorns right at the end, for two different levels of the same flavour.

I've made hard caramel (look up your favourite recipe) with szechuan peppercorns (fun fact: not even botanically related to peppercorns) that was excellent in both ice cream and crushed as a garnish for trifle.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:57 PM on January 12, 2014

South Indian food uses whole black peppercorns a lot. Try Pongal. I wouldn't say it's the main flavor, but it's an essential ingredient -- the dish tastes very different without it.
posted by redlines at 9:39 PM on January 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

Whole peppercorns are an important ingredient for pickled herring. Not American cuisine, but delicious nevertheless!
posted by Napoleonic Terrier at 10:14 PM on January 12, 2014

Filipino Adobo! One of my favorite comfort foods. Usually it's chicken or pork (but you can use any protein) braised in soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, and whole peppercorns. Easy and delicious, especially if you're a fan of tangy, vinegar-y food. Here's a good recipe.
posted by ad4pt at 10:39 PM on January 12, 2014 [5 favorites]

If you make chocolate, I had a pink peppercorn / citrus chocolate bar that was delicious. The peppercorns weren't whole, but I expect it would have still worked if they were.
posted by aniola at 10:50 PM on January 12, 2014

White basmati rice.

wash 1 cup rice
add 2 cups water
throw in whole peppercorns and cloves (the more you make it, the more you can hone it to your tastes)
put on high heat
give it a good stir when it boils, then cover and turn off stove

20 minutes and rice should be perfect.

You can also use cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks...basically hard and flavorful stuff.
posted by hal_c_on at 10:55 PM on January 12, 2014

It's pretty common to have whole peppercorns in chicken adobo. Filipino dish, super easy, sooooooo delish.
posted by Foam Pants at 11:09 PM on January 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

I cook ham in a slow cooker with peppercorns and various vegetables and it comes out great. Like you I enjoy eating the peppercorns, but they are separate so the more spice averse can avoid them.

Take ham (make sure it fits in the slow cooker with some room to spare) and put in slow cooker.
Add in handful of peppercorns.
Add in stock vegetables (I usually use an onion two carrots and three stalks of celery all roughly chopped)
Cover the ham with cool water and cook on high for about 4-5 hours.

Remove ham and slice to eat. I also usually save the liquid for making a soup as it picks up a lot of the ham goodness. A soup I would make (including the pepper corns would be to add in split peas to the strained stock along with a chopped up fresh onion then puree the entire thing with a stick blender until smooth to make a very easy pea soup. (Add in some of the cooked peppercorns to the mix and it is extra good, but possibly a bit spicy for some people)
posted by koolkat at 3:51 AM on January 13, 2014

Sautee the peppercorns in oil until they're almost completely soft, add fresh sweet corn and a little dry white wine. Cook off the alcohol smell and excess liquid then salt it. It's French or something. It can be eaten hot, but I like to serve it like a cold summer salad. You might add diced tomatoes, cottage cheese, or anything else that might be in a summer salad.
posted by cmoj at 4:26 PM on January 13, 2014

Jungle curry. There are plenty of recipes on Google.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 12:03 AM on January 15, 2014

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