James Martin’s steak with whisky-braised onions

Steak image
James Martin image
James Martin. Image: Peter Cassidy

Every chef becomes obsessed with certain ingredients at some point in the year and right now, my obsession is onions. These, combined with steak and a simple mustard sauce, were a favourite dish of Johnny on Camera Two when we were filming the show.




Steak with whisky-braised onions and mustard sauce

Foodies James Martin’s steak with whisky-braised onions James Martin’s steak with whisky-braised onions Print This
Serves: 2
Nutrition facts: calories fat
Rating: 3.3/5
( 9 voted )


  • 4 onions, peeled
  • 50ml whisky
  • 600ml beef stock
  • 100g salted butter
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • A few pine sprigs, washed and patted dry
  • 1–2 tbsp olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 400g rump steak, 5cm thick
  • 150g long-stem broccoli
  • 2 tbsp Scottish grainy mustard
  • ½ tsp English mustard
  • 2 tbsp salted butter
  • 25ml whisky
  • 75ml double cream


Place the whole onions in a pan with the whisky and beef stock. Cover and bring to the boil then reduce the heat slightly and simmer for 40 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to lift the onions out of their cooking liquor and set aside to cool a little. Reserve the liquor.

Meanwhile, place the butter, garlic and pine sprigs into a separate pan and place over a low heat to melt the butter. Preheat a griddle pan over a high heat.

Cut the onions in half horizontally, then drizzle over the oil and season well. Cook on the griddle pan or on the BBQ, flat-side down, for a couple of minutes until charred. Lift onto a plate and set aside.

Season the steak all over, then brush with some of the melted pine butter. Cook on the hot griddle pan for 2 minutes, then brush with more butter, flip over and cook for another 2 minutes.

Add the long-stem broccoli to the pan for the last 2 minutes of cooking, again brushing with pine butter. Lift the steak onto a board and rest for 4 minutes.

To make the sauce, put both types of mustard in a pan with 1 tablespoon of the butter and 200ml of the reserved onion cooking liquor. Pour in the whisky, then flambé to burn off the alcohol, tipping the pan gently and carefully to ignite. Place over a medium heat and simmer until the liquid has reduced by half, then stir in the cream and season well. Whisk in the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter to finish.

Slice the steak into 3cm thick slices and place on a platter with the broccoli, then spoon over the sauce. Pull the onions into petals and dot around before serving.

From James Martin’s Islands to Highlands (Quadrille, £25). Photography: Peter Cassidy

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