Skirt Steak with Green and Red Peppers
I didn’t see my mom much growing up. A demanding career? You could say that. She and my dad owned a clothing store in the Bronx. And that’s where they were six long days a week. They came home well after I had eaten dinner. Just worn out. A quick supper, a little TV or the newspaper, and that was it for them. Many nights, I would sit on my favorite kitchen stepstool and eat a few bites of chopped steak hamburger off my mother’s plate when they finally sat down to eat. It always tasted better than the one I had eaten a few hours earlier.
I remember her getting ready to leave in the morning with me standing there in the front hallway watching her put on her coat. Her presence was kinda magical to me. I could never get enough of it. I felt like she was the best special treat I could ever want. She would turn to me with all this love in her eyes. She’d hug and kiss me, murmuring all these sweet tender endearments to me in Yiddish. Mama shayna, getreiyener, ketzeleh, oytzer, neshumkeleh meine. I’d lift up my hand and she’d gently kiss it… I’d stare at the imprint of her red lipstick on my hand through the day until it disappeared.
People ask me if I’ve always had an interest in food and cooking. I suppose I have. I’m asked if my mom taught me. I know the basics from her. That is, the basics that she had time to do. What I do know is that my Sundays revolved around going food shopping with her, from the bakery, to the butcher, to the fruit and vegetable market. Her lifting me up into the cart at the market and her handing me things to place in our cart as she wheeled me up and down the aisles. Sunday was the day that we stocked up for the week. And then home we walked,the bounty in the metal shopping cart rolling behind us, to make a main dish or two that would last for a few days. Things like soups, stews, roasts, chicken-in-the-pot, meat loaf, meatballs, stuffed peppers and this pepper steak. Well, sort of this pepper steak. I’m known to tweak things in my family. Back then it was green peppers and onions, and of course garlic. But the smell of sauteing onion remains the same as the beginning of wonderful things to come. Makes me feel as warm inside today as it did then.
There were two kinds of steaks stocked in our freezer then- minute steaks and rib steaks with the bone in. Also, a pile of individual burgers made from chopped steak that my mom packed for my sister to make for us during the week.
I used skirt steak for the pepper steak and know you’ll achieve equally good results with minute steak, hanger steak, or London Broil. My mom didn’t have the time/patience/inclination to cut the steaks. She just plopped them into the pan to brown them and then added the onions and garlic and peppers. I go for cutting the steaks into strips beforehand. This way you can get a lot more veggies in and if you’ve been following my blog, you know that’s what I like to do.
The beautiful green peppers are the last of the peppers grown in my raised bed vegetable container… thank you Joe… for our season.
If you forget to rub the garlic on the steaks (ahem), simply add it to the veggies!
Veggies tossed with lightly browned steak strips.
Doesn’t look like much but a wine reduction is a powerful flavor enhancer when poured over the dish.Hit It Maestro: Just a sprinklin’ of parsley helps the colorin’ go pop … in a most delightful way! Thanks, Mom…
SKIRT STEAK WITH RED AND GREEN PEPPERS
Ingredients:1 lb. skirt steak, cut into 1/2″‘ wide strips salt and freshly ground black pepper 2 garlic cloves, minced 3 T. grape seed or safflower or canola oil, divided 1 onion, sliced lengthwise, top to root 2 peppers, 1 red and 1 green (I used 3 small peppers instead of 1), cut into 1/2 ” strips 1/2 c. red wine 1 t. soy sauce 2 T. Italian parsley, chopped
- Add 1 dozen cherry tomatoes, cut in half, and add at the end of cooking.
- Replace the peppers with broccoli, snow peas or a combination of the two- about 2 cups total. Cook vegetables until just barely tender, about 3-4 minutes.
- Replace peppers with sliced mushrooms or mushrooms and peas – about 2 cups total. Generously sprinkle with parsley at the end of cooking.
- Substitute chopped cilantro for parsley.
- Add a finely chopped 1/2″ piece of ginger to garlic and and later, 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seed oil at end of cooking.
- You can also use London Broil or minute steaks. If using 2 thicker cuts of steak, carefully slice horizontally – through the center from one end to the other – so that the steaks are half as thick.
Season steaks with salt and pepper. Rub minced garlic over meat (and ginger, if using). Allow meat to rest for 10 minutes. Cut into strips.
Heat 2 T. oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add sliced onions and peppers (or other vegetables), stirring for 2-4 minutes or until just tender. Remove vegetables to a bowl and keep warm.
Heat the third tablespoon of oil (remember I listed 3 T. in the ingredients?) in the skillet on high heat, until the oil just begins to shimmer. Carefully place the steak strips in the pan (tongs work well here, I know, I tend to burn myself). Allow the meat to brown on one side for a minute without stirring. Think of 1 minute browning time for medium-rare and 2 minutes for medium; you want the meat to retain some natural juices. Stir it up, put heat on medium, return vegetables to pan, adding wine and soy sauce. Heat through for 1 minute.
Remove vegetables and meat to serving dish. Scrape up bits in pan. Turn heat up to high and reduce wine, soy sauce mixture by about half. Pour over meat, and generously sprinkle with parsley.
Makes 4 servings. Serve with steamed rice, Israeli couscous or alone.
I served it over brown rice with roasted chunks of butternut squash. Mighty good.