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Beef Stroganoff

December 14, 2009

Beef Stroganoff

I always thought of beef stroganoff as airline food, or cafeteria food. Something gloppy and lukewarm served in large buffet trays by people in uniforms. But a few years ago my dear friend Crystal requested that I make beef stroganoff for her birthday dinner, and I realized just how wrong I’d been. When done right, beef stroganoff is rich and tangy and elegant and it really makes me want to cook meat more often. Lately I’ve been craving it something fierce, so last night I decided to make it again. And I was practically swooning into my bowl, it was so delicious. If you, too, would like to swoon over dinner, give this a try.

There are about a gajillion variations of this recipe, as I discovered the first time I made it. I still have my scrawled out notes from the birthday variation, but it called for cognac, which I did not have in the house last night. I also did not have dill, and I had no interest in leaving the house as it snowed this weekend, and I don’t like snow or feel any desire to go out into it. So I had to improvise, and I must say my improvisations may have improved on my original recipe. You can do this either way, with dill and cognac, or with wine and tarragon, or with some combination of the above, depending on what you have on hand, and it will still be an unqualified success.

Beef Stroganoff

I used about a pound of beef top sirloin, trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces. You can also use beef tenderloin, or possibly steak tips. If you’re not a heavy meat eater, you could easily get away with using less meat and more mushrooms. And I suppose if you’re not a meat eater at all you could turn this into a mushroom stroganoff, but, well…this is one of those dishes that reminds me why I will never go completely herbivore. I don’t know that I can advocate for an all mushroom all the time version of this classic dish, but by all means, do what you will in your kitchen.

Beef Stroganoff

  • 1 lb. beef top sirloin or tenderloin, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 c. flour
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • salt and pepper
  • 1-2 T. olive oil
  • 1-2 T. butter
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • about 2 c. cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tsp. tarragon or dill
  • 1/3 c. red wine or 3 T. cognac
  • about 1 1/2 c. beef stock
  • 2 tsp. dijon mustard
  • 1/2 c. sour cream
  • egg noodles, cooked, drained, and buttered

Mix together the flour, salt and pepper, and garlic powder in a small bowl (preferably with a lid). Add the pieces of beef to the flour mixture, and toss to coat evenly.

Heat about a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the beef pieces in batches, about a minute or two on each side, or until they are browned but not cooked through. Remove to a bowl and set aside. Add a bit of butter or oil to the skillet if it looks dry, and add the onions. Saute until they are golden and soft, then begin cooking the mushrooms. Add a handful at a time, cooking until they are browned and soft, and adding more butter as necessary to keep the pan from getting too dry.

Beef Stroganoff

Once the mushroom are all cooked, add in the tarragon or dill (or both, if you’re feeling crazy). Stir well, then deglaze the pan with red wine or cognac. Scrape up all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan, then add back in the beef and any collected juices. Stir in the beef stock and bring the mixture to a boil.

Now let the beef mixture boil and cook for about 10 or 12 minutes, until the stock thickens and becomes a smooth sauce. This is a good time to cook the noodles.

Beef Stroganoff

Once the stock is thick and smooth, remove from the heat. Stir in the mustard and the sour cream, and stir well so the sour cream is entirely mixed in. Season to taste with salt, serve over noodles, and sprinkle with a bit of paprika for color and a hint of spice. You can garnish with parsley, dill, or chives, too, if you’d like.

Beef Stroganoff

This stuff is so good that I actually scraped the pan clean with a spatula, because I couldn’t bear to lose any of the rich, delicious sauce. This stuff is so good that it made me forget about the thin layer of snow that covers every road in town because they don’t plow the streets here in Walla Walla. It even made me think, for just a moment, that maybe the snow isn’t terrible, that perhaps it is a little bit kind of pretty.

Snow in Walla Walla

We shall see how pretty I think it is if it prevents me from driving to Tri-cities next week to catch my plane to San Diego. Whether the snow is pretty or not, though, this beef stroganoff will still be delicious.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 14, 2009 1:12 pm

    Isn’t funny how we get in the habit of associating food. Quite often to our own demise. I haven’t had a good beef stroganoff in years. Like a hearty soup, beef stroganoff warms the soul. Laura, yours looks down right delicious!!!

    Thanks for sharing…

  2. January 12, 2010 6:26 pm

    yummmy:) thanks for ur share i’d love to follow u.anyway happy new year ~~~~~~~~~~~

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