Dinner tonight was courtesy of a crock pot. I have a shelf in my basement full of crock pots of all sizes, yet only use a random crock pot or three on holidays when I serve a buffet dinner. Crock pots make me nervous. I have crock pot control issues. When I go off and leave food in a pot all day, plugged into an outlet, I’m afraid it’s going to escape and cause trouble while I’m gone. Or… something. I know other people use them regularly, my sister Linda for one. I just.. have no trust.
Yesterday I found a recipe on Rachel Ray’s site for a crock pot recipe Asian Pepper Steak. It looked so good, and it had been awhile since I’d done anything with beef. My P.S. (Purchaser of Steak) was happy to oblige and brought home a large amount of Angus chuck steak. I didn’t ask who Angus was. I admit to not knowing cuts of meat and let my P.S. choose the cut for the dishes I make. He chose well this time.
I put the slow cooker’s metal pot onto the stove with a little oil to heat. I trimmed up Angus’ steak, sliced it, then threw it into the hot slow cooker. I use a West Bend slow cooker that can be used on the stove, in the oven, or on its own base that plugs in. The recipe said to sear the steaks, then cut into strips. I liked my way of slicing the meat first; that meant I would get more seared brown goodness on more of the meat for a better start at flavor.
The recipe called for 6 sweet bell peppers but for just two of us, that seemed excessive so I used 3. I cut them up into fairly large strips and then sliced the onion as well. I put both the peppers and onions into the pot with the seared beef. I added the broth, tomato sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar and seasonings and put it on the slow cooker base set at medium high. I put the lid on and crossed my fingers. I didn’t want to leave it unsupervised but I had to get to the office. I shook my head, took a deep breath and closed the door behind me.
A couple of hours later I called my P.S. to ask when he was going to be home. He promised to call me when he was home, standing in front of the pot, to give me a status report. He did and by then it had been cooking for 4 hours. He said it was not bubbling merrily away as it should have been, and turned the heat up another notch. That did the trick; it was soon bubbling and I sighed in relief. Every crock pot has different settings and I’m never sure if my medium high is as high as, say, Rachel Ray’s medium high. But we still had 3 hours to dinner and the food had time to finish.
My P.S. made a kettle of white rice to go with the meat and sauce and had it ready when I returned home. I didn’t want to follow the recipe and use bean sprouts. I scooped the meat and vegetables out of the pot and into a dish, then put the pot of juices onto the burner and brought it to a boil. I added the lime juice then used cornstarch dissolved in water to thicken the gravy. I added the meat and veggies back to the pot, let them heat again, then served it over the hot rice.
It is a very tasty dish. The peppers come through strongly and the meat was fall apart tender in your mouth. It was like a sweet and sour pepper steak, and was very filling when served over rice. I’m betting it will be great leftover and warmed up, as well. The recipe made about 4-5 servings. It’s worth making again, for sure. Now that I know the correct setting on the crock pot, next time should be smoother rolling. Provided it doesn’t try to escape.
Asian Pepper Steak
3 pounds beef sirloin; thinly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
3 red or yellow bell peppers, sliced
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
4 tablespoons brown sugar
3/4 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated
Ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup water
cooked white rice
In a large skillet, sear the meat in some olive oil until nicely browned.
Place the sliced steak into the crock pot, then add the remaining ingredients except for the lime juice, cornstarch, water and rice. Place a lid on top and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6 hours.
When you are ready to serve, scoop out the meat and veggies and put the crock pot juices and the lime juice into a pot on the stove. Bring to a bubbling boil and slowly whisk in the cornstarch. Stir until thickened. Add the meat and veggies back and stir well. Heat through and serve over white rice.
adapted from Rachel Ray