Simplified Beef Stroganoff

Beef Stroganoff is one of the best-known Russian cousine dishes and a recipe for it seems to be a must. First, a few words about the Stroganoff family, after whom the dish is named. The Stroganoffs were one of the richest and most prominent families in Imperial Russia, who made their fortune in the 16th century through judicious investments in various businesses, and through even more judicious government connections. The original Beef Stroganoff was invented by the personal chef of one of the family members, though it is unknown which one. Basically, it consists of strips or cubes of beef sautéed in a sauce based on beef stock and sour cream, usually with onions and mushrooms. We can say that the chef who discovered the combination of sour cream, mushrooms, and some sort of meat or fish stumbled on a gold mine. This combination is delicious, versatile, and forms the basis of a number of Russian recipes, a few of which will appear later on this blog. The original version of this recipe calls for fresh beef stock. I don’t usually keep a supply of fresh beef stock on hand, which is probably also true of a lot of readers of this blog. The alternatives offered in different versions of this recipe are to use either canned stock or canned cream of mushroom soup. Those are usually heavily processed and I like to avoid them whenever possible. This recipe does not call for any sort of stock or cream of mushroom soup, whether fresh or canned.

Ingredients:

1 onion, sliced into half-rings

1 lb beef (any cut suitable for stewing)

1 cup sour cream

1/2  lb sliced mushrooms

1/2  lb (dry) egg noodles

1 tablespoon mustard (preferably Dijon, but any other will do)

2 teaspoons flour

Salt and pepper to taste

Vegetable oil (enough to cover the bottom of the pot)

Directions:

  • Rinse and pat dry the meat. Cut into cubes of approximately 1” on the side.
  • In either a Dutch oven or a large frying pan, heat the oil for about 3-4 minutes. Saute the onions until they start to brown, about 3-5 minutes.
  • Place the meat in the pan and fry in oil until it is browned on the surface.
  • Add mustard, flour, and mushrooms. Mix well and cook for 10 more minutes.
  • Add the sour cream and mix well. Cover and simmer until the meat is tender (approximately 40-50 minutes). Make sure to stir every 10-15 minutes to prevent scorching.
  • In the meantime, cook the noodles according to directions on the package.
  • Season the meat with salt and pepper when the meat is tender and can easily be pierced with a fork. (Adding salt while the meat is still raw may dry it out during cooking.)
  • Add noodles, mix well, and cook for 10 more minutes.

Note: you can save about 5-10 minutes of preparation time by using 1 teaspoon of onion powder instead of a fresh onion and adding it together with the mustard, flour and mushrooms.

Meat and mushrooms simmering in the sour cream sauce

Meat and mushrooms simmering in the sour cream sauce

The final result.

The final result.


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