Monday, January 13, 2014

Slowed Cooked and Smoky Pepper Steak

Usually when I make Pepper Steak, I use a skillet or a Wok; the dish cooks quickly on the stovetop. One problem, sometimes the strips of meat are not tender enough; the quick cooking sealed in juice and flavor, but the meat did not tenderize. I do not marinade the meat overnight, so if the cut is not tender in the first place, well there you go.

Recently I purchased a three pound package of sliced round steak and intended on making Pepper Steak.  While browsing through the newsfeed on my Facebook page though, I came across a recipe for "Hoisin Beef Stew"; regular stew ingredients: beef cubes, potatoes, celery, carrots, mushrooms; but instead of a broth as the cooking medium, the recipe called for Hoisin Sauce.  Interesting concept I thought, maybe next time I make stew I'll try the recipe out.  Then it hit me, I've never done up Pepper Steak in the slow cooker, so here was a chance to try out this method and play with the Hoisin Sauce as a cooking medium.  I love Hoisin Sauce by the way; the flavor is just so above using plain soy or teriyaki sauces, and you barely need to add any other seasoning to it.  Besides adding it to recipes, it works as an excellent glaze or barbecue sauce all on its own; so yummy on ribs or brisket.  Besides beef, chicken or pork, Hoisin can be used on wild game such as Elk and Deer; it cuts the gaminess of the deer meat, and only enhances the elk meat to a whole new level.

The meal I made took eight hours to cook in the crock pot before the meat was fall apart in the mouth tender; the peppers, onions and mushrooms were perfectly cooked.  Yes, I added mushrooms to this dish, mainly because I had a pound of fresh sliced mushrooms on hand and didn't want them to go to waste.  I am so glad I made that choice!  The flour I added in at the start helped the Hoisin sauce and any juices from the other ingredients to create a medium thick sauce that went well on a brown and wild rice mixture I made for a side dish.  If you've jumped onto the gluten free fad bandwagon, you can use rice flour instead of regular white flour.  Overall, this recipe came out pretty well, and I would make it again; maybe add in garlic, or some julienned carrot.

Now remember, if you try this recipe out and you think the Hoisin sauce is not enough in the seasoning genre; add sparingly and keep tasting, you don't want to lose the overall flavor of the Hoisin and you can always add, but not take out.  If you add any hot seasoning such as dried chile peppers, remember, the longer it cooks, the hotter it gets.

Hoisin Pepper Steak

3 lbs. round steak, cut into 1/4 inch thick strips
1/4 cup flour
1 each large green, yellow and red bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1/4 inch strips
1 large onion, cut into 1/4 inch strips
2 cups fresh sliced mushrooms
2 cups Hoisin sauce


Spray interior of a 6 quart slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray; set on low.  Place meat inside and sprinkle flour over top.  Layer bell peppers, onion and mushrooms; pour Hoisin sauce evenly over all.  Cover and let cook 6-8 hours; until meat is tender.  Serve over rice, noodles or potatoes.

Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Mary Cokenour

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