Mummy's Pepper Steak Sandwiches

Monday, September 14, 2015

If you love a great sandwich, gather round.  This is the tale of Mummy's pepper steak sandwiches.  A dish that perplexed me regarding steak cuts, and weirded me out with the spice blend.  When I was eating this dish, I was reminded that my preconceived notions are almost always wrong, I need to trust Aarti, because I have no idea what I am talking about.

First I though, steak on a sandwich?  When I splurge on steak, I want to grill it, or cover it in butter and have a nice sophisticated dinner.  Putting an expensive meat on a sandwich seemed disrespectful. Then when I saw that this was pepper steak, I thought it meant spicy sermons and bell peppers to set my mouth ablaze. Again I read the recipe, and the spice blend didn't seem like it would taste very good, with the cloves and the cinnamon.  I don't want to ruin this nice steak by putting it on a sandwich AND making it taste like pumpkin pie.  I was queen of the skeptics on this one.  

I have no idea what I am talking about.  I took one scrumptious bite of this sandwich and now I'm a believer.  Not a trace of doubt in my mind.  I'm in love...  lol, okay, I'll stop with the song.  The pepper is merely fresh ground pepper, the steak flavor was on point, and sandwiches with steak are damn delicious.  I urge you to try this and become a believer yourself.  

You will need:

1 pound sirloin petite roast, or sirloin fillets
1 TSP whole black peppercorns
3 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
pinch of cayenne 
1 TBSP malt vinegar or apple cider vinegar
Kosher salt
2 TBSP sunflower oil
1 medium onion sliced into half moons
2 TBSP minced, peeled fresh ginger
1 large ripe tomato sliced into 1 inch wedges
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
4 toasted sandwich rolls

Step one, slice the steak against the grain in 1/2 inch pieces.  Then take your knife or a mallet and flatten them to around 1/4 inch thickness.  Set aside.

In your spice grinder, grind the peppercorns, cinnamon stick and cloves into a powder.  I suppose you can use already ground spices, but a fresh grind is extra flavorful.  Add your ground spices to a small bowl, then mix in the cayenne, vinegar and 1 TSP Kosher salt.  When mixed, you will have a grainy and sand-like paste.  Cover your beef strips with the paste and let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes.

In a large (preferably cast iron) skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and a pinch of Kosher salt.  Heat onion until translucent, around 2 to 3 minutes.  Add in the ginger and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes longer.  You want the onions to be light golden brown and smell sweet.

Make a layer of onions covering the bottom of the pan, then add the beef strips, laying them atop the onions.  Cook for about 3 minutes, until the underside of the steak has browned slightly.  

Stir the beef and onions all together and cook for another minute.  Then add in the tomatoes, and stirring occasionally, heat for around 5 minutes or until the tomatoes start to wilt down and the skins roll back slightly.  

Turn off the heat entirely, and let everything sit for 5 minutes.  The tomatoes will meld into the juices from the beef and onions to make a slight gravy type sauce.  Add the water and scrape the bottom of the pan to incorporate all the liquids into a gravy sauce.

Toast your rolls lightly, and if you like, butter the insides.  (That is my trick to make any burger or sandwich taste like it came from a restaurant)  Fill with your steak mixture with a bit of the sauce to get absorbed by the bread, and top with cilantro.  That, my friend, is one tasty sandwich.

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