feasting with friends

Pepper Steak with Fresh Tomatoes

Glenn loves pepper steak. Glenn loves pepper steak more than anyone else in the house. Like many families, we order the occasional carry-out meal from the local Chinese restaurant. Glenn’s “go to” selection is pepper steak, occasionally substituting hunan chicken or even sweet and sour whatever. But we currently have a big “ordering” problem in our house. If, after compiling the order to satisfy all family members, Glenn has ordered pepper steak, no-one else in the house will call in the order. I mean no one. Why, you may ask??

pepper steak with tomatoes

Well, it seems Glenn believes it’s “okay” to ask if he can have pepper steak with a fresh tomato sliced and added to the other ingredients. He insists it is “okay” to request the tomato, even though tomato isn’t in any other dish they offer. All it took was one “yes” from this particular restaurant to create household mayhem. Now, that one “yes” was probably because someone in the kitchen just so happened to have a tomato from their own lunch or whatever. Five to six, subsequent “no’s” have not deterred Glenn. The rest of us find it embarrassing. It’s even gotten to the point that we make Glenn pick up the food too. We don’t want to be recognized as “that tomato family”. :-/

pepper steak with tomatoes

When, once again, Glenn is told “NO”, tomato is not available, he’ll change his order. Persnickety…isn’t he? I’ve suggested he simply add one of the dozens of fresh tomatoes available from our garden upon retrieving the food…but nope. He won’t comply. I decided enough was enough…it was time to appease this tomato monster lurking in our home. I had to make it myself…with tomatoes, cooked in the sauce.

pepper steak with tomatoes

The recipe I’ve used [adapted slightly] is one I’ve had in my files for 29 years. It was one of the many recipes received at my bridal shower. Recipe cards were included in the shower invitations, requesting each guest to supply their favorite recipe to help Glenn and I prepare meals in our home. This particular recipe hails from Pam, one of Glenn’s sisters. Now, without fear of retaliation, I can state, Pam is not known as a great cook. Her siblings have been known to refer to her as Elly Mae Clampett [Beverly Hillbillies character] due to a brownie incident many, many years ago. Someday, I may share that story. 😉 Even though Pam is not known as a great cook overall, there are a few dishes she does indeed make great! There is green bean casserole, spaghetti sauce, a Thanksgiving turkey…and pepper steak. Glenn considers it top notch dining…make it yourself and taste the “greatness”!

pepper steak with tomatoes

Pepper Steak with Tomatoes

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

pepper steak with tomatoes
2 pounds sirloin steak
1 Tablespoon paprika
2 Tablespoons canola oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1½ cups beef broth
1 cup sweet onion, sliced thinly
3 cups assorted sliced peppers [bell, poblano, sweet, etc], sliced in thin strips
1/4 cup soy sauce [preferably, low sodium]
1/4 water, cold
2 Tablespoons corn starch
3 large tomatoes, sliced in wedges [we prefer skins removed]
cooked rice for serving

•Slice steak, against the bias, in 1/4-inch strips. Sprinkle steak evenly with paprika; allow to stand 10 minutes.

•Prepare the vegetables while the steak is resting. In a measuring cup, combine the water, soy sauce and corn starch; whisk until well combined. Set sauce aside.

•Heat the canola oil in a large deep skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the steak. Brown evenly, turning meat as needed. Add the minced garlic and beef broth. When the broth begins to bubble, cover the skillet and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 20 minutes.

•Stir in the onion and pepper strips. Cover skillet, once again. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring at the 10 minute mark.

•Add the soy sauce/corn starch mixture to the skillet. Stir well and simmer [no cover] until thickened slightly.

•Add the tomatoes, stir gently. Allow the tomatoes to heat through, about 5 minutes. Serve over rice.


  1. “The Tomato Family”… lol
    I must admit that as a chef in a restaurant I wasn’t too thrilled with such requests. Each person thinks it’s only a small request but then you end up with having to change something in every dish, which is not so easy as it may sound, especially when you train cooks to follow a recipe. 😀 Now as a private chef, that’s basically what I’m doing most of the time – creating dishes according to the client’s desire. Glenn is lucky to have found his private chef! 😀

  2. I love pepper steak! I don’t know why I’ve never made it before, but I definitely order it out a lot, though now that you mention the tomatoes, I don’t believe I’ve ever had it with fresh tomatoes either! Only bell peppers and onions from what I can recall. Glenn sure is a funny guy. 🙂 At least he asks for the good ingredients, right?

    • Oh yeah, Glenn is real “funny” (insert eye roll)… 😉

      I must admit, the tomatoes are a nice addition adding another layer of flavor to the sauce. Thanks, Ngan!

  3. I loved this story Nancy.I would probably be too embarrassed to go and pick up the pepper steak too lol

    This pepper steak looks awesome! Thanks for sharing 😀

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