I did promise an article on Beef Stroganoff and it is time I delivered. You are of course all aware that all these delicious sauces prepared by a long list of famous chefs were only used to cover up the taste of the rotten meat they were forced to use. That even applied to the Kings and Emperors of the time. I think the peasants didn’t see meat from one year to the next.
Beef Stroganoff is not particularly difficult, or I could not cook it. Anyway I just cook it for the wife because I only like beef in casseroles or stews. She is a cook and likes someone to cook for her for a change. I am sure you understand.
I got this recipe from Youtube, a channel called Chaplin’s Classics. The cook, Jack, unfortunately passed away last year but he always struck me as a genuinely nice human being. He said this recipe came from a restaurant in Texas where he used to work owned by a Swiss. In the video he forgets the mushrooms as well but never mind, I add them and also shuffle round his cooking order.
The first thing you need is steak, I use fillet though other cuts may work just as well. You get one piece of steak and slice it thinly to get strips (for the wife I have to slice those in half again but that’s because she is “difficult”). You then season the strips with salt and pepper and dip in flour.
Take one half a large onion and slice it thinly into half circles. Take four of five white mushrooms and slice them; I prefer to do them a bit on the thick side. Now fry up the onion to get it soft, this can take a while. Put to one side. Sprinkle one or two teaspoons of paprika on the steak slices, ensure they are covered well and fry them to seal them, not more or they will get cooked too much. Now fry the mushroom slices in the same pan as the steak, they will pick up the paprika in the remnants in the pan. When they have gone a bit brown add the onions, a chopped clove of garlic and some brandy (don’t add the brandy to the pan while the pan is over a heat source) and red wine. Simmer to reduce it. Once it has been reduced add the steak and a ladle or two of beef stock, jellified if possible. and then reduce that.
Your Stroganoff is now just about ready. Late in the process check if you need salt and pepper by tasting (NEVER trust a skinny chef !) and adjust as needed. Now you can add some double cream as your taste desires and basically you are ready. All that is left is to add some chopped parsley when you serve it.
This is not a precise recipe, you have to experiment to get what your taste desires.
What do you serve it with ? Classic would be tagliatelle. I usually do it with Spätzle (another German thing that my family love but I don’t). I like Rösti but have never managed to get close to how the Swiss do it.
If you look at any video showing this they do not cook it the way I do. I have found that to get the onions soft you need to cook them first and it may take quite a while. Most will tell you to cook the steak strips first but I don’t think the onions need to be cooked in the paprika remnants of the steak whereas the mushrooms do. The other thing is to cook this in olive oil and butter, not vegetable oil.
Like all such dishes you can cook this for two people but any more needs two pans and for me trying to do that is four times the work and eight times the disaster.
© well_chuffed 2022