Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Beef Stroganoff

This is another favorite comfort food in the Gruggen household. The recipe first appeared in 1861 in Elena Molokhovet's cookbook. Back then, in 19th century Russia, it was known as Beef Stroganov. In it's early days it was made with just beef, mustard, bouillon and finished with a small dollop of sour cream.

Beef Stroganoff became a worldwide sensation and you will find variations of it in every cuisine. In Japan it is served over white rice, while in Russia it is served over potato straws. Iranians also serve it over potato straws, but use whipping cream to make the sauce. In Brazil it is made with chicken and is called fricassee. In Nordic countries it is made with sausage and is called makkarastroganoff.

An important preparation note: we are going to pre-mix the sour cream before we add it to the dish as sour cream will curdle if added directly to hot liquid. I recommend that you serve this dish over buttered dumpling egg noodles, but also consider rice, warmed spinach or wilted arugula. This recipe serves 4.

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
12 ounces small white button mushrooms, halved
1 pound beef tenderloin, cut into 1/2 inch long, 1/8 inch wide strips
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/2 cup beef broth
1 tablespoon butter
1 small onion, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup sour cream
16 ounces egg noodles, cooked, drained and tossed with 2 tablespoons melted butter


  1. Put sliced tenderloin in a bowl. Add soy sauce. Toss, cover with plastic wrap and marinate for 15 minutes to 1 hour.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in heavy-bottomed 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until hot and shimmering, but not smoking, about 2 minutes; swirl to coat pan. Add mushrooms and cook over high heat without stirring for 30 seconds; season with salt and pepper and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are lightly browned, about 4 minutes longer. Transfer to medium bowl.
  3. Return skillet to high heat, add remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil; swirl to coat pan. Place tenderloin strips in skillet. Using tongs, spread the meat into single layer, making sure that strips do not touch, and cook without turning until well-browned on first side, 2 minutes. Turn strips and cook on second side until well-browned, about 1 minute longer. Season with salt and pepper to taste and transfer to bowl with mushrooms. 
  4.  Add beef broth to skillet, scraping up browned bits on pan bottom with wooden spoon; simmer until broth is reduced to 1/4 cup, about 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer broth to bowl with mushrooms and beef, scraping skillet clean with rubber spatula.
  5. Return skillet to medium-low heat and add butter; when butter foams, add onion, tomato paste, and brown sugar. Cook, stirring frequently, until onion is lightly browned and softened, about 6 minutes; stir in flour until incorporated. Gradually whisk in chicken broth and wine; increase heat to medium-high and bring to boil, whisking occasionally, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until thickened, about 2 minutes. Whisk liquid from mushrooms and beef into sauce and simmer to incorporate. Stir about 1/2 cup of hot sauce into sour cream, then stir mixture back into sauce. Add mushrooms and beef; heat to warm through, about 1 minute. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper and serve over buttered egg noodles.

Wine pairing: Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah or Merlot

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