Pepper Steak

1-recipe_card_printed            2-recipe_card_handwritten

There are actually two recipes on this card, as shown above. The first one looks like it came from a newspaper. The hand-written version has all the hallmarks of being one of my grandmother’s Great Depression innovations: cheaper ingredients, a less expensive cut of meat, and the use of pre-made seasonings (in this case, Lipton’s Onion Soup Mix). I chose to make the printed newspaper version, because it sounded like a more interesting and flavorful recipe.

I made two modifications to the original recipe. First, I chose to use vegetable oil in the place of the more generic “fat”. Now there’s an artifact of the past – how often do you see a modern recipe that simply calls for “fat”? While I know that my grandmother kept a jar of “drippings” on the stove and a tub of lard in the refrigerator, this is no longer a common practice. Second, I chose to use fresh sliced mushrooms rather than canned mushrooms, for better flavor.

When making this dish, be sure to use the largest skillet that you have! I started cooking in my regular skillet (which is not tiny), and ended up transferring everything into my wok because there was no way that it would all fit.

I had concerns that the sauce might be too salty: an entire bouillon cube seemed like a bit much for a recipe with so little liquid. However, I was pleasantly mistaken. The sauce is rich and savory without being overpowering. The overall flavor balance of the dish is good, and I definitely plan to keep this one in my repertoire.


  • 1 1/2 pounds flank steak
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 green peppers
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon white flour
  • 1 beef bouillon cube
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms



Slice the flank steak into 1/2-inch wide strips.


Slice the onion and green peppers into rings.


In a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat the vegetable oil over medium high heat.

Brown the flank steak in the skillet, and remove. Pour off any excess fat.


Add the ketchup, water, soy sauce, flour, boullion cube, and pepper to the skillet.

Stir well, and heat to boiling.


Add the browned meat strips and onion to the skillet, stir to coat with the sauce, and cover.

Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the meat is tender. Stir occasionally to prevent the sauce from burning.


Add the green peppers and mushrooms, and stir to coat everything with the sauce.

Simmer 10 to 15 minutes longer, or until the peppers are crisply tender and the mushrooms have released their liquid.


Serves 6.

Click here for a print-friendly version.


10 thoughts on “Pepper Steak

  1. This reminds me if the recipe my grandma passed down to my mom. I never snagged it from her so I am super excited to try this recipe. You’re blog is so wonderful, I’m always searching for older recipes and your blog is the mother load. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  2. This pepper steak looks just amazing! I can’t weight to try the recipe. I like how you organize the ingredients so neatly/orderly in containers, like a real sue-chef

    1. Thanks! To be entirely honest, a lot of that is for photographic purposes — if there’s something particular about the preparation of an ingredient, I want to be able to show that clearly. Someday, I shall own ten thousand ramekins just like everyone on FoodTV. :)

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