On Sundays, I like to carve out time to cook some dishes that will reheat well (and pack well for lunch) during the work week. It isn't always easy finding this time but when I can do this, it saves me from eating poorly during the week. You know what it's like, right? Come home late from a long day at work and no matter how much you love to cook, after walking the fur child, there just isn't enough energy left in you to make an elaborate meal. So you either stop on the way home and pick up overpriced fast food that lacks anything resembling nutrition. Or if you're like me, you have just enough energy to scramble an egg, wrap it in a tortilla, pour yourself a glass of wine and call it dinner.
Hence the Sunday cooking marathons whenever I can. One of my favorite dishes to make is pepper steak. It's also one of those dishes that reminds me of home. My mom makes the best. It's been a very long time since I've seen her make it and can't quite remember how she does it. So I came up with my own version from what I remember Mom's tasting like and although I am not too proud to admit that there's something about mom's that I can't quite replicate, my version is nonetheless quite yummy.
Maybe some day, I'll have Mom make it for me while I take notes. And then I'll post an update.
Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge. Hear that Mama?
Until that day, I'll share my version.
Let's get the party started: Since the potatoes will take the longest, I get them going first. Peel and cube one large russet potato. Add two tablespoons of olive oil to a large frying pan. Heat to medium hot; oil should be rippling and shimmering when ready. Test the pan by placing one cube of potato in the pan. If it sizzles and bubbles, add the remaining potatoes. If it doesn't even so much as burp, wait a little longer for the oil to reach the right temp. Cook the potatoes covered, keeping a watchful eye so that they don't burn. You don't want them to crust up or even brown but you do want them almost fork tender. While they cook, move on to prepping the other components.
Prep the veggies: What's pepper steak without the bell peppers? You'll need to matchstick two. They can be whatever color you have on hand. Since we all know that we eat with our eyes first, I like to make it colorful by using one green and one red. You'll also need to slice a small onion - white or yellow - whichever you have on hand.
Prep the meat: I like to use a thin steak because it cooks fast but you can use whatever kind of steak you like. I usually buy the least expensive cut they happen to have on shopping day. You'll need to cut it into bite-sized pieces. Put flour, salt and freshly ground black pepper into a large ziplock bag. Add the cut meat and shake.
Shake. Shake. Shake. (Did K.C. & the Sunshine Band just pop into your head or am I, like, totally dating myself?) Shake until all the little bits of steak goodness are well coated.
Shake off excess: I like to use a strainer over a paper plate to shake off the excess flour.
Cook the veggies: Once the potatoes are almost fork tender, remove from the pan, set aside and wipe out the pan. Add another tablespoon or two of olive oil and sauté the onions until translucent (about 5 minutes).
Add the peppers and cook another 8 minutes. Remove the veggies from the pan and set aside.
Meat browning time: Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan and once the oil is hot, carefully add the floured meat. Sauté until all sides are slightly browned.
Add back all of the veggies. Stir to combine. Add 1/3 cup water, cover and let simmer for 15 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half and the potatoes are fork tender.
Serve with a green salad. And a glass of wine is always welcomed.
Pepper Steak with Potatoes
- 1 large russet potato, peeled and cubed
- 1 small yellow onion, sliced
- 1 small green pepper, cut into matchsticks
- 1 small red bell pepper, cut into matchsticks
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 - 1 1/2 lb steak, cut into bite-sized pieces
- olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
In a large frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil until oil is shimmering. Add cubed potatoes. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Stir potatoes to turn. Continue cooking and stirring until almost fork tender but not browned. Remove from pan, set aside and wipe out pan with a paper towel.
Add another tablespoon olive oil to pan. Add onions and sauté until translucent. Add peppers and cook for 5-8 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
In a large resealable plastic bag, add flour, 1 teaspoon each of salt and ground black pepper. Shake to mix. Add cut steak. Shake to coat steak well. Turn steak out into a fine mesh strainer and shake off excess flour.
Add 2 tablespoons oil to hot pan. When oil is shimmering, carefully add the meat. Brown on all sides. Return vegetables to pan. Stir to combine.
Add 1/3 cup water, cover, reduce heat to low and gently simmer for 15-20 minutes until liquid has reduced by half or until potatoes are fork tender. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
Until next time... ¡Buen Provecho!