Gone But Not Forgotten

Fritzel’s Pepper Steak

January 30, 2016

I first launched Lost Recipes Found as a column in the Chicago Tribune, which has a lovely archive of vintage recipe stories–good reading if you’re a recipe nerd : ) Poking around in there, I noticed that Morrison Wood, a popular Chicago Tribune columnist in the ’50s and ’60s shared lots of pepper steak recipes (obviously popular then), usually honing in on the chuck or round steak varieties of the dish braised with onions, bell peppers and tomatoes in red wine for several hours. But 59 years ago, he also shared the recipe for this more-refined saute that he felt merited the extra expense of the better beef cut. It was served by restaurateur Mike Fritzel in a chafing dish at his eponymous celebrity restaurant on the edge of the Chicago Loop. Made with butter-sauteed beef tenderloin, green bell peppers & black peppercorn, onions and mushrooms–this recipe leaves out the tomatoes. I’ve adapted it just a tad, using extra-light olive oil for the saute, adding just a little butter (optional) to finish the saute, but reserving most of it for the potatoes. My boys love this dish–as well as another Fritzel’s recipe for griddle cakes with cherry berry sauce–try that too!

Fritzel's Pepper Steak
Serves 6
Made with butter-sauteed beef tenderloin, green bell peppers & black peppercorn, onions and mushrooms–this recipe leaves out the tomatoes typical in a pepper steak--but adds lovely noisette potatoes! Delicious
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  1. 2 Tbsp extra light olive oil, divided
  2. 1 cup diced onion
  3. 1 cup diced button mushrooms
  4. 1 cup diced green bell pepper
  5. 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  6. 2 lbs beef tenderloin, trimmed into 1/4-inch cubes
  7. 1 Tbsp roughly ground black peppercorn
  8. Salt to taste
  9. 2 Tbsp dry sherry
  10. 2 tsp (plus 2 Tbsp for potatoes) butter
  11. 4 large potatoes, peeled and carved into tiny, pearl-onion sized balls, or, substitute 15 peeled tiny new potatoes
  1. Saute: In a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat, warm 1 Tbsp the oil and saute the onion, mushrooms, bell pepper and garlic, covered. Cook until soft, but not overcooked. Remove vegetables to a separate dish. In the same skillet, add remaining Tbsp of olive oil and saute beef at high heat until browned and tender. Add vegetables back into skillet with beef. Stir in pepper, salt and sherry and saute one minute more. Stir in 2 tsp of butter until melted (optional). Remove all ingredients to a serving dish and let rest while you prepare potatoes
  2. Make noisette potatoes: Carve 4 large potatoes into 15 or more pearl onion sized balls, using a melon baller or paring knife. OR Peel 15 tiny new potatoes. While you are peeling/carving potatoes, heat water to boiling in a pot. Boil potato balls until just under-done. Strain. Dry out pot and set aside. In a microwaveable bowl, microwave two Tbsp butter for 1 1/2 minutes to separate butter from milk solids (clarifying the butter.) Pour the clear-yellow, clarified butter into the pot, being careful not to add white milk solids to the pot. Heat clarified butter and add the just-under-done potato balls to the pot. Shake and stir the potatoes until brown and crispy on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon and add over the top of the pepper steak in the serving dish.
Adapted from Mike Fritzel
Adapted from Mike Fritzel
Lost Recipes Found https://lostrecipesfound.com/

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1 Comment

  • Reply Lori Vernon February 7, 2018 at 5:58 am

    My grandmother had a handwritten copy of Mike Fritzel’s original recipe which he personally gave to her. It was somehow lost after she passed away and I’ve been looking for it ever since. Thanks for sharing this one, it sounds delicious!

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