One of My Favorites: Beef Stroganov

And that’s Stroganov- with a “v”, not Stroganoff. I’ve found that there is a difference. See, growing up I avoided Beef Stroganoff at all costs. I remember a time when I was about 14 or so we were invited to lunch at someone’s house after church and I ate only corn just to avoid eating the Stroganoff. Even the smell of Stroganoff cooking was enough to make me queasy. There was always something… off about the whole dish; no matter who was making it. I never could explain it but I sure wasn’t going to put it in my mouth. So you can imagine my unease when I asked my mother in law what she would like for her birthday dinner a couple of years ago. She said her favorites were Chicken Alfredo and Beef Stroganoff. I almost visibly cringed and happily agreed to make the Alfredo- and have every year since. I have refused at all costs to make the off-putting beef dish.

Now, for those that don’t know, I make my dinner menus a month at a time. I try not to make any one dish too many months in a row and never make any dish more than once a month. In an effort to keep costs down I try to make one breakfast, Italian, and one Asian dish each week. This plan is generally well recieved by my family, with everyone having their favorites. However there are only so many of each that we all like and it’s pretty easy to get burned out. So I was looking around on my favorite recipe site- – for Russian dishes. (We had grown tired of the same old dishes and I wanted to expand our horizons.) I found MANY recipes for Stroganoff and didn’t bother looking at any of them. Then I came across one that bore the following description: “Originally created in the late 19th Century for a Russian count. There are a lot
of European and American versions that come nowhere close to reproducing this
dish as it was originally made. What follows is the classic Russian version.”
 Being the history buff I am- food related and otherwise- I was intrigued and investigated. It sounded delightful! Why, it called for steak! Actual steak! Not that nasty ground beef that so many versions call for. And whole mushrooms! Not the slimy canned ones. And only sour cream! Not just mushroom soup or soup & sour cream. And even though I have a general aversion to egg noodles I decided to give it a try. It was an instant hit! Even the girls loved it! (Zachariah, being only 3, is still in that “I’ll only eat meat if it’s in chicken nugget or bacon form” phase. He’ll come around. The girls did the same thing and they eat things now that I wouldn’t have even sat at the same table with when I was their age.)
The original recipe is here: http:// . I haven’t made many changes. The main change is the biggest. The recipe calls for 2 pounds of filet of beef. When last I checked beef filet was about $20 a pound. Umm… no- I think I’ll pass. Especially when I’d need 2 pounds. I buy a 2 steak, 3 pound package of flank steak at Sam’s Club for about $25 and get 2 meals out of it. You are more than welcome to make the dish with the beef filet but flank steak works perfectly too.
Here are the ingredients. There aren’t many- it’s an easy dish.
I don’t always use the No Yolks egg noodels. Believe it or not that was ALL they had at the grocery store when I went. They are good but you can use regular egg noodles too. The little bowl has mustard powder, sugar, and water made into a paste. I didn’t want to try to fit all those in the picture so I just mixed it & included the bowl. I’m lazy that way :.) As for the onions (pictured with the mushrooms) I deviated from the recipe. Although some people will dispute this (*cough* my parents*cough* *cough*) I usually use less onion than a recipe calls for. I love onions but let’s not get carried away. A little goes a long way. I usually use about half of what a recipe calls for. This is no exception. The steak is flank steak and, unless you’re using the filet as the recipe states, is best for the dish. Cut it with the grain into about 4 pieces and then slice against the grain as thin as you can get it without actually shredding it. If you need to you can put it in the freezer for about 15-20 minutes to make this task easier.
Now, brown your meat. Once the meat is cooked add the mustard mixture and stir to combine. Unless you have a HUGE pan you’ll have to work in batches. You want to cook it quickly over high heat so it doesn’t get tough. I don’t have a picture of this because, frankly, I forgot to take one. I do apologize. I’ll try to do better next time, I promise :.) What I do have a picture of, however, is…
The mushrooms & onions. Use as little oil as you can get away with because mushrooms are little sponges. They will suck up oil and release water. That being the case you may have to drain them before you add the cooked meat to the pan. You don’t want their liquid in your sauce- it will be thin enough. Once the onions are translucent and the mushrooms have softened (and you’ve drained the mixture if you need to) you can add the cooked meat to the pan. Here is one place I changed the recipe. I love Montreal Steak seasoning and I use it here. I think it adds incredible flavor to the dish. Once I’ve added the steak to the veggies I sprinkle the seasoning over the entire pan. That is usually enough to season the whole thing perfectly. But once the sauce is finished taste it to see if you need to add a little more. Ahh, the sauce. It’s the easiest part of the entire dish. Except maybe cooking the pasta. All you have to do is stir the entire pint of sour cream into the meat & veggie mixture about 1/3 of a cup at a time. SO EASY! Here’s what you should end up with.
You had your pasta water heating and then your pasta cooking right? No?! Neither did I. Well, I had the water boiling but I didn’t drop my pasta when I should have. I was late. But you can leave the sauce on a low simmer for a few minutes & not hurt it. You just don’t want to let it sit too long becaue the texture will suffer.
Isn’t that pretty? And so much better than the stuff that emerged from the Royal original.
The Recipe
1 T Mustard Powder
2 t Sugar
4-5 T Oil (if you use a nonstick pan for the veggies like I did you’ll need less. Most of the oil is for the beef)
2 C Onions, thinly sliced
1 Lb FRESH Mushrooms, sliced. PLEASE don’t use the canned version!!
1 & 1/2 Lbs Flank Steak, sliced as thin as you can get it.
About 1 T Montreal Steak Seasoning
1 Pint Sour Cream (any fat content you like)
The Method
*In a samll bowl, combine the mustard powder and 1 & 1/2 tsp of the sugar. Add enough hot water to make a paste- about 1 T. Let this mixture sit while you prep the other ingredients.
*In a large pan over medium high heat (large enough for the veggies and the meat combined) heat about 1 T of oil (about 1/2 that if you’re using non stick). Add the onions and mushrooms and cook until translucent. If there is liquid in the pan when they reach that stage you’ll need to drain the veggies and then add them back into the pan.
*While the veggies are cooking, add 2 T oil to a large pan on high heat. Add about half of the beef and cook quickly until just done. Repeat with the other half of the beef. DO NOT crowd the pan. If you need to do more batches than 2 do so.
*Once the meat is done add it to the veggies along with the mustard mixture, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of sugar, and the steak seasoning, stirring to combine.
*Add the sour cream, about 1/3 cup at a time. I know it seems as though you should be able to just dump it in, but have a little patience. It doesn’t take long and you will make sure the sauce acheives it’s full, silky potential. That’s it- you’re done. It’s as simple as that. Beef Stroganov- it was an amazing dish all along. It had just fallen into enemy hands. Here it is, reclaimed and better than any other you’ve ever had!

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