Saturday, September 18, 2010


Ferdinand the Bull, you are safe from my teeth more so than Porky Pig would be... except when I have the craving for Beef Stroganoff.

This classic dish has been around forever. Elena Molokhovets' cookbook published in Russia in 1861 gives the first known recipe for "Govjadina po-strogonovski, s gorchitseju" or "Beef à la Stroganov, with mustard" This recipe called for lightly floured and sautéed beef cubes with a sauce of prepared mustard and bouillon, and finished with a small amount of sour cream. It was likely named after an aristocratic Russian family. Later recipes added mushrooms, onions and beef cut into the characteristic strips. Immensely popular (and kind of exotic) in the 1950's, the dish is now served around the world in many variations.

My favorite recipe is a combo of the classic 1961 Craig Claiborne recipe and my own likes and tastes. Claiborne makes a very traditional Stroganoff without mushrooms and onions, so I add those (green onions sometimes) and a splash of Worcestershire sauce, (which no one else seems to add) but with things like cornichons, tarragon and tomato sauce added to some recipes, I am safe.

I made some tonight as I was in a stay-at-home-Greta-Garbo-(I want to be alone)-mood. As I was buying a few things for it that I was lacking, I ran into a friend of mine. She asked what I was buying which led to a discussion of the dish. I told her I was omitting the noodles (it is really designed to be served over noodles or rice) since they were carb packing enemies of mine. She thought I was nuts, and thus given tacit permission, I relented. Such a great dish, easy, elegant when done well and relatively quick.

My recipe: (as usual the amounts are estimated and variable according to taste, I never measure)

1 lb beef (sirloin, flank steak, whatever you can find just not that horrible stew meat)
salt/pepper to taste
splash of Worcestershire sauce
1 sm can of button or a handful of sliced fresh mushrooms
2-3 green onions (or handful of chopped white onion)

butter (about 1 1/2 tablespoons)
flour (about a tablespoon)
1 can beef consummé (not canned broth, consummé is more intense and richer)
squirt of prepared mustard
splash of wine optional
sour cream, lots

Trim beef into strips, salt and pepper them and splash with the Worcestershire. Let marinate for a hour or so in fridge.

In saucepan melt about 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter and then add about a tablespoon of flour to make a nice light roux. Heat consummé to boiling and add to roux, whisking until roux is dissolved and sauce is nice and thick. Here you can add a splash of wine, red or white, as you desire. Set aside.

Drain beef. In some butter, sauté the beef until browned. Add the mushrooms and onions and cook until beef is done and onion/mushrooms tender.

Reheat the sauce gently and add great gobs of sour cream (I am an addict).

If you are being elegant, put the hot beef on a platter and pour the sauce over. Or just throw it all together and mix the beef in the sauce.

Gotta serve it over plain, lightly buttered noodles.

хороший (Russian for good!)

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