Pepper steak is a recipe I grew up eating, but it’s certainly relevant today. Naturally dairy and gluten free, it also happens to be wintertime comfort food at its healthiest. Serve it over cauliflower rice for a really light, nutrient rich, protein packed weeknight dinner.
Round steak comes from the rear end of the cow, therefore it’s lean and tough. However, this also means that it’s more flavorful when cooked correctly (not to mention healthier, as there’s such little fat). The reason filet mignon is tender is because it comes from the midsection of the cow which isn’t worked. I used to say to my students, “have you ever seen a cow do sit ups?”. The tenderloin area is finely marbled with fat, and fat equals tenderness, but not necessarily flavor.
Anyways, the way to cook tough meat is “low and slow”; braise, stew, or roast. This steak is “braised” during it’s 30 minutes of cooking time in the liquid. The moist heat breaks down the muscle fibers, leaving the meat tender instead of tough. With the veggies thrown into the sauce, it becomes a one pan dinner.
1 lb beef top round steak, cut into strips, 2-3 in. long and 1/2 in. thick
2 tbsp. olive or avocado oil
1 white or yellow onion, sliced thin
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 c. chicken or beef broth
¼ c. light soy sauce (or tamari)
¼ tsp. sugar
½ tsp. pepper
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
3 bell peppers, any colors, sliced thin
1 (14 oz) can petite diced tomato, drained
2 tsp. cornstarch
¼ c. cold water
1. Heat 1 tbsp. oil in skillet on medium high heat and add onion and garlic, stirring until soft, fragrant, and beginning to turn golden (about 5-8 minutes).
2. Remove with a slotted spoon.
3. Add remaining 1 tbsp. oil and sauté the beef until browned.
4. If there is excess grease when the meat is done cooking, drain the fat. Add the broth, soy sauce, sugar and ground pepper to the skillet, stir well.
5. Return onion and garlic to skillet and simmer all together for 30 minutes over medium low heat with the lid set on top but askew.
6. Add celery, bell peppers and tomatoes.Cover and cook, stirring occasionally until celery and peppers are crisp/tender-around 5-8 minutes.
8. Dissolve the cornstarch in cold water by stirring them together in a small bowl.
9. Stir mixture into the skillet, stirring frequently until thickened (around 2-5 minutes).
10. Serve plain or over rice, noodles, or any grain of your choice.