I always try to eat delicious food. Unfortunately I don't have that much money, so I have to cook a lot of it at home. But thats OK because I love cooking and I love eating at home with my wife. This is a website with my favorite recipes and a little bit of commentary.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Serious Beef Stroganoff

Tonight I made one of my all time favorite dishes - Beef Stroganoff. Beef Stroganoff was the prize-winning recipe created for a cooking competition held in the 1890s in St. Petersburg, Russia. The chef who devised the recipe worked for the Russian diplomat Count Pavel Alexandrovich Stroganov, a member of one of Russia's grandest noble families. The guy was real old and probably had to gum his food, so the chef made him a dish that he could eat. Most of the fancier recipes for beef stroganoff call for beef tenderloin. I have three very good recipes for beef stroganoff. The first (shown immediately below) I got from the New York Times many years ago. The author of the article claimed that it came from the 1954 edition of "The Soviet Cookbook."

Beef Stroganoff

From the 1954 edition The Soviet Cookbook

1 pound beef (Sliced thin)
2 onions
3 T butter
1T flour
¾ cup sour cream

Saute everything in butter except sour cream and tobasco. Then add flour, cook 2-3 minutes. Add sour cream and tobasco and cook for another minute or two. Serve with fried potatoes.

I suppose they were having a shortage of noodles in Russia at that time but there were plenty of potatoes around. You simply must serve beef stroganoff with fried potatoes. I thought it sounded a little weird when I read it, but I tried it and I cannot think of a more perfect combination. If you actually were in Russia, you would of course have a shot of vodka. The Russians I know always put a little peppercorn in the bottom of the shotglass and let it sit for a minute. They say the peppercorn absorbs the fusil oils that tend to give people hangovers.

Another recipe for beef stroganoff comes from The Professional Chef. It calls for tenderloin, beef broth and other standard stroganoff ingredients. It doesn't use onions but it adds Dijon mustard. There is also a recipe for stroganoff in The Gourmet Cookbook. That cookbook is made from all the best recipes from Gourmet Magazine over the years. The Gourmet stroganoff recipe again calls for Dijon but also adds dill. They make the sauce for the stroganoff by first making a roux.

My recipe for stroganoff is a mixture of all three. I can't afford tenderloin but I want nice tender meat. What I do is slow cook the meat for about an hour so that it is nice and tender. I use a roux for the sauce and I also add dried dill weed. I like the added flavor that a few dashes of Tobasco adds.

Koko's Beef Stroganoff

Cut 1 pound of beef into chunks and brown in 1 T butter combined with 1 T olive oil.
Next dice 2 onions and add to the beef, along with 1 14 oz can beef broth. Add a few dashes of Tobasco. Add about 1 teaspoon of salt and some fresh ground pepper. Bring to a simmer and cover. Cook 45 minutes covered, then add a healthy amount of sliced mushrooms and cook covered for 15 more minutes.

To make the sauce, melt 1 T butter in a saucepan. Mix in 1 T flour to make a roux. Next pour 1 cup of the sauce from the meat into the roux and bring to a simmer. Cook it until the sauce has thickened a bit but not too much.

Meanwhile remove the cover from the meat pan and turn up the heat. Reduce the remaining liquid in the meat pan. Add 1 T Dijon mustard. Add 1/2 t dill weed. Add 3/4 cups sour cream and stir well to combine. Add the roux sauce and cook until heated through - about 1 minute.

Serve over fried potatoes.