by Kato Hetschinof
There are many different versions of how Beef Stroganoff was created. The most popular theory however is that the dish takes its name from Count Stroganoff, a 19th century Russian noble. In an old Soviet recipe book, a historian traced the dish back to the residence of Count Gregory A. Stroganoff (1770-1857), who enjoyed entertaining his guests. Meat was sliced thinly since he had teeth problems.
Stroganoff is usually thought of as a ‘fancy’ dish, but it's really quite easy to prepare. The recipe shown here is served over noodles or rice. That’s how the Brazilians have managed to serve it. Beef Stroganoff actually became a national dish in Brazil, thanks to the White Russian Diaspora that ended up there after the revolution in 1917.
I decided to share this recipe because it’s relatively simple to do at home, even by a lonely expat, who can always impress guests. You can improvise, just let your fantasies twirl…
The Process: (25 minutes)
- Cut the meat across the grain into thin strips (1/2 inch x 1 1/2 inch) 1cm x 4 cm. (mouth size) Sprinkle them with salt and ground pepper. You can sprinkle allspice here.
- Melt butter in a large skillet (medium heat).
- Add mushrooms and onions. Cook and stir until the onion rings are tender, and then remove with the mushrooms from skillet.
- In the same skillet, cook meat until light brown. Stir in half of the stock, ketchup, mustard, and garlic and sprinkle the flour. Cover; simmer (medium-low heat) 15 minutes. (can add Worcestershire sauce)
- Blend the reserved (hot) stock; stir into meat mixture. You can add white wine here.
- Add mushrooms and onions to the mixture.
- Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Reduce heat.
- Stir in sour cream, a tablespoon at a time, and sprinkle in the sugar. Cook (not boil) and stir 1 minute. Turn the heat off. You can add the nutmeg, basil leaves at this point.
- Serve over a portion of the noodles (or rice). Follow package instruction.
The Main Ingredients: (for 4-5 people)
- fillet of beef (trimmed of all fat) (you can use veal)
- ground pepper (fresh is better)
- butter (can use margarine or vegetable oil)
- onions (thinly sliced separated rings)
- mushrooms white, sliced (or canned, drained)
- meat stock, hot (beef or veal)
- ketchup (or tomato puree)
- mustard (Russian only please)
- garlic clove minced (can use powder)
- smetana (sour cream)
- sugar (yes sugar!)
- noodles or rice, cooked
- Worcestershire sauce*
- white wine*
- grated nutmeg*
- basil leaves*
* these are optional ingredients
1.5 lbs (750 grams)
1/2 cup (approx. 1-2 onions)
1 teaspoon (1/8 tsp if powder)
a glass will do
just a dash
A Few Suggestions:
- This dish is usually served with scalloped or mashed potatoes. Traditionally if you have the time, thinly cut the potatoes into strips and gently fry them in oil or butter, medium heat for 1-2 minutes.
- You can use green noodles such as fettuccini.. (Or if in a rush, use the 1 minute soup noodles, such as ramen).
- You can interchange ingredients; instead of meat, you can use liver, chicken or turkey, quail, lamb or pork, ready made meatballs will do well! This can become a vegan dish, omit all meat ingredients and use cubed tofu instead. If you know how to make a casserole, this is possible too.
- Serve with steamed broccoli or green beans with carrots. (fusion like, add the vegetables to the meat mixture)
- You can either serve this all on a plate, or have it all presented on the dinner table.
- The beauty behind this meal, you can freeze this for a given day ahead of time too. Microwave it.
- Traditional garnish… a parsley sprig will do, or add some separately grated egg whites and egg yolks. Maybe some poppy seeds with the noodles.