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Stir-Fried Black Pepper Beef
This stir-fry is an homage to pepper steak, the Chinese-American takeout staple. A combination of powerhouse ingredients like savory-sweet oyster sauce, spicy black peppercorns and umami-rich soy sauce yields a punchy yet well-rounded dish. Though beef is typical, thinly sliced chicken thighs also work. For maximum heat, use the full 2 tablespoons peppercorns and crush them fresh. A mortar and pestle are best, but if you don’t have one, you also can crush them under a heavy skillet, rocking the pan back and forth over the peppercorns so they crack rather than scatter. Cooking the crushed peppercorns for a couple minutes with the onion and bell pepper blooms their fragrance and flavors.
tablespoons neutral oil, divided
medium red OR yellow onion, halved and sliced ½ inch thick