The weather has started to become noticeably cooler the last few days. While the temperature has stayed in the 70s or so during the day around here, it is going down to fifty at night, making it great to open up the windows and get some fresh air for a change instead of using the air conditioner. Once the weather starts to get this way, I tend to start to think more about making different comfort foods. Comfort foods in the fall naturally seem to gravitate towards things like soups, stews, roasts and the like. I decided yesterday seemed like a good day to try something I have not made a very long time – beef stroganoff. Traditionally, stroganoff is made with beef tenderloin. However, tenderloin is not something I buy usually more than once a year, and even then it is usually around the holidays. There are plenty of good substitutes that you can use to make stroganoff instead of spending a high price you might for tenderloin. You can use sirloin steak, London broil or even stew beef if you cut it thin enough. I decided to try this classic beef stroganoff recipe from Cook’s Illustrated, which simplifies the recipes so that you can make a great meal in about twenty or thirty minutes.
Classic Beef Stroganoff
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
12 ounces white button mushrooms, cleaned and have if small, quartered if medium, cut into sixths if large
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 pound beef (tenderloin, sirloin steak, London broil or stew beef), cut into 1/2-inch long, 1/8-inch wide strips
1/2 cup beef broth
1 tablespoon butter
one small onion, minced (1/2 cup)
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup sour cream
8 ounces egg noodles, cooked in salted water, drained, and tossed with 2 tablespoons of butter
Heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil in a heavy-bottomed large skillet set over medium-high heat until the oil is hot and shimmering, but not smoking, about 2 to 3 minutes; swirl the oil to coat the pan. Add the mushrooms and cook over high heat without stirring for about thirty seconds. Season the mushrooms with salt and pepper and continue to cook them, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are lightly browned, about 4 to 5 minutes longer. Transfer the mushrooms to a medium bowl.
Return the skillet to high heat, and add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of vegetable oil; swirl the oil to coat the pan. Place the beef strips in the skillet. Using tongs, spread the meat into a single layer, making sure that the strips do not touch, and cook the meat without turning until it is well browned on the first side, about 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the beef strips and cooked them on the second side until they are well-browned, about 1 to 2 minutes longer. Season the beef with salt and pepper to taste and transfer the beef to the bowl with the mushrooms.
Add the beef broth to the skillet, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon; simmer the broth until it is reduced to 1/4 cup, about 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the beef broth to the bowl with the mushrooms and the beef, scraping the skillet clean with a rubber spatula.
Return the skillet to medium low heat and add the butter; when the butter foams, add the onion, tomato paste and dark brown sugar. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is lightly browned and softened, about 6 to 7 minutes; stir in the flour until it is well incorporated. Gradually whisk in the chicken broth and white wine; increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil, whisking occasionally, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the mixture until it has thickened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Whisk the liquid from the mushrooms and beef into the sauce and simmer it to incorporate all the liquid. Stir about 1/2 cup of the warm sauce in the pan into the sour cream, then stir this mixture back into the sauce in the pan. Add the mushrooms and beef back into the pan; heat everything to warm it through about 1 to 2 minutes longer. Adjust the seasonings with salt-and-pepper to taste and serve the stroganoff over the buttered egg noodles.
This recipe seemed a bit easier than some of the other side take a look at and allowed you to use more of ingredients you likely have on hand at home. Browning everything in the same pan as you go along with each step helps to build more layers of flavor from the dish. If you do not have any white wine available or do not like to use wine when you are cooking, you can always substitute more chicken broth or water. Mixing the sour cream with the hot sauce before you put it into the pan is a lot like tempering eggs, sour cream is likely to curdle if you edit directly to a hot liquid. To prevent this from happening, mixing it with a little hot liquid before you edit into the pan will help you to create a much better sauce. I thought the flavors of the dish were excellent and the meat came out nice and tender and very tasty. I simply used some stew beef that I had on hand, but I think a sirloin steak would work very well for this particular recipe. Stroganoff is traditionally served with noodles and I roasted some broccoli and cauliflower to go along with it to round out the meal.
That is all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!