Somewhere in the late 70’s or early 80’s, young up-and-coming home cooks thought they could “simplify” everything. Just “throw it all together and let it cook while you’re shopping at the mall” was the attitude of the day. Well, that easy-go philosophy might work for some common recipes, but not for authentic, genuine, old-time pepper steak. There’s a mandated method to this dish that needs to be followed if you’re going the differentiate between true pepper steak and a “meat and pepper stew.” See for yourself!
2 lbs. top sirloin, about 1 to 2 inches thick
2 Tbsp. Frank Davis Beef Seasoning*
¼ cup vegetable or corn oil
¼ stick sweet creamery butter
1 medium yellow onion, cut into ¼-inch slices
2 tsp. garlic, finely chopped
¼ tsp. ground ginger
1 cup chicken stock + 1 cup bottled water
2 Tbsps. cornstarch
1 tsp. granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
4 medium green peppers cut into 1/2” strips
6 cups cooked long grain rice
12 French pistolettes
First, meticulously trim away all traces of fat from the sirloin. Then begin slicing it—against the grain—into 2-inch by ¼-inch strips. When they’ve all been cut, sprinkle on the beef seasoning and toss the strips thoroughly to distribute the seasonings evenly. While all this is happening, put the oil and the butter together in a large skillet, stir them to combine the two, and then bring them up to high heat.
Then, about a scant handful at a time, drop in the sliced beef and quickly sear it, flipping and turning it frequently, until each piece is beautifully browned (which if done right should take no more than about 3 minutes). As all the batches are done, place them on a warming platter and set them aside momentarily.
Next, drop in the onions and the minced garlic and sauté them until both have wilted and cleared (turned transparent). Then when the veggies have gotten soft, sprinkle on the ginger, stir it into the combination quickly, and then pour in the chicken broth and bottled water mixture.
At this point, heat the stock to a rolling boil but immediately reduce the heat to a moderate simmer. Now cover the skillet tightly and cook the sauce for about 6 to 8 minutes. During that time, thoroughly blend together the cornstarch, the sugar, the Worcestershire, and the soy sauce; then stir it slowly into the pan sauce. Cook, stirring continuously, until the mixture thickens and boils. Note: The sauce needs to boil and be stirred continuously for exactly 2 minutes in order to thicken properly.
When the time has elapsed, add the sliced steak back to the skillet and toss in the green pepper strips. Finally, combine the two ingredients completely, put the lid on the skillet, reduce the heat to medium-low, and continue to simmer everything for 5 more minutes.
All that’s left to do now is to spoon out about a cup of the piping hot rice into soup-type bowls then cascade ladles full of the beef and bell peppers over the rice. Of course, you should have about a dozen or so hot French pistolettes on the side. . .just for sopping.
This, y’all, is the real deal!
You can use any high quality beef seasoning that you choose for this dish.
Be certain to clean the bell peppers well, taking care to remove all the inner membranes and the seed pods.