Beef Stroganoff

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This is an extremely easy recipe and so great as comfort food! Elena Molokhovets‘ classic Russian cookbook (1861) gives the first known recipe for Govjadina po-strogonovski, s gorchitseju “Beef à la Stroganov, with mustard” which involves lightly floured beef cubes (not strips) sautéed, sauced with prepared mustard and bouillon, and finished with a small amount of sour cream: no onions, no mushrooms. An 1890 competition is sometimes mentioned in the dish’s history, but both the recipe and the name existed before then. A 1912 recipe adds onions and tomato paste, and serves it with crisp potato straws, which are considered the traditional side dish in Russia. The version given in the 1938 Larousse Gastronomique includes beef strips, and onions, with either mustard or tomato paste optional.

After the fall of Imperial Russia, the recipe was popularly served in the hotels and restaurants of China before the start of the Second World War. Russian and Chinese immigrants, as well as U.S. servicemen stationed in pre-Communist China, brought several variants of the dish to the United States, which may account for its popularity during the 1950s. It came to Hong Kong in the late fifties, with Russian restaurants and hotels serving the dish with rice, but not sour cream. In the version often prepared in the USA today in restaurants and hotels, it consists of strips of beef filet with a mushroom, onion, and sour cream sauce, and is served over rice, potatoes or pasta.

In the UK and Australia, a recipe very similar to that commonly found in the USA has become popular, generally served with rice. British pubs usually serve the dish to a creamy white wine style recipe, whereas more ‘authentic’ versions are often red stews with a scoop of sour cream separately served on top.

Beef Stroganoff is also very popular in China and Portugal, under the name estrogonofe or “Strogonoff”. The Brazilian variant includes diced beef or strips of beef (usually filet mignon) with tomato sauce, onions, mushrooms and heavy whipping cream. Stroganoff is also often made with strips of chicken breast rather than beef (also called fricassee in some restaurants in Brazil). Brazilians also prepare stroganoff with chicken or even shrimp instead of beef. It is commonly served with crisp potato straws, as in Russia, but with the addition of white rice. Sometimes one can also see creative servings of estrogonofe, such as a crepe filling, a topping for baked potatoes, or on pizzas. Many recipes and variations exist: with or without wine, with canned sweet corn, with ketchup instead of tomato sauce, etc.

Stroganoff is also popular in the Nordic countries. In Sweden, a common variant is korv-stroganoff (sausage stroganoff), which uses the local falukorv sausage as a substitute for the beef. In Finland, the dish is called makkarastroganoff, makkara meaning any kind of sausage. Beef stroganoff is, however, also a common dish.

Stroganoff’s popularity extends to Japan, where it is most commonly served with white rice, or white rice seasoned with parsley and butter. Its popularity increased dramatically with the introduction of “instant sauce cubes” from S&B corporation. These are cubes with dried seasoning and thickening agents that can be added to water, onion, beef, and mushrooms to make a stroganoff-style sauce. Additionally, Japanese home recipes for Stroganoff frequently call for “non-traditional” Japanese ingredients, such as small amounts of soy sauce.

Beef Stroganoff is popular in Iran, where it is made with strips of lean beef fried with onion and mushroom, then further cooked in whipped cream and topped with crisp potato straws.

After doing some research I decided I did want mushrooms and onions and I found some recipes from the old country which included nutmeg… so why not add that? I have a nutmeg tree. I also elected to use red wine instead of the white wine that some recipes called for. I would like to make it with the traditional potato strips, but this time I went back to my Great Grandmother’s Egg Noodles instead. She would make them on Sundays and hang them over a broom stick to dry. I love them with anything saucy. I served this with red cabbage salad and broiled tomatoes. Everything went perfectly with some Burgundy wine. Here are the recipes:

Broiled Tomatoes:

Preheat the oven to 350°

Cut the tops of ripe tomatoes. Sprinkle with a bit of sugar, salt and pepper (lots of pepper).

Place in the preheated over for 15 minutes. Remove and top with grated Parmesan Cheese.

Turn on the broiler and place tomatoes under the broiler until the cheese melts and browns slightly.

Beef Stroganoff (Govjadina po-strogonovski, s gorchitseju “Beef à la Stroganov, with mustard” )

“This recipe is from the “old” Russian Tea Room Restaurant in NYC (before the original owner’s daughter took it over.) Authentic in flavor and preparation (no short cuts) and was always served over RICE (not noodles) at the restaurant.”

Ingredients

    • 2 lbs lean boneless sirloin (trimmed of fat and gristle) or 2 lbs bottom round steaks, in one piece ( trimmed of fat and gristle)
    • 2 teaspoons salt
    • 2 tablespoons flour
    • ½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
    • 4 tablespoons butter
    • 1 medium onion, minced
    • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
    • ½ cup red wine
    • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
    • ½ lb mushrooms, thinly sliced
    • 1 teaspoon of paprika
    • 1/2 of a nutmeg seed grated (or if you are using pre-grated, 1/2 teaspoon)
    • A splash of brandy
    • 1 cup sour cream at room temperature

Method

  1. Cut meat into 1/2 inch thick slices. Sprinkle meat with salt, flour and pepper, let stand for 15 minutes.
  2. Heat butter in a frying pan or wok. Add the onion, cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, then add the mushrooms, saute for another 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add meat to pan and cook for 3 minutes, turning meat to brown evenly.
  4. Stir in mustard, and cook 1 minute more. Add 1/2 cup wine and tomato paste. Reduce heat to low, cover pan and simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently.
  5. Add the splash of brandy, paprika and grate the nutmeg into the mix. Simmer for another 2 minutes on low.
  6. Add sour cream.
  7. Over lowest possible heat, simmer for 5 minutes to heat through. Do NOT let it boil.
  8. Serve over hot noodles, rice or potatoes.

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