Have you missed me? I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted, but, in addition to blogging about food, I’m a Realtor, and most recently have been crafting Christmas ornaments. With the season rapidly approaching, I’ve worked a couple of craft fairs, selling my ornaments, in the last couple of weeks. To say I’m exhausted would be a major understatement, but, my family still expects to eat, so here’s tonight’s dinner.
This recipe, as are many of my recipes, is based loosely on Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman’s recipe. Ingredients are similar, though my proportions vary from hers.
- 1 1/2 to 2# beef, sliced into thin strips (sirloin or other tender and flavorful cuts work best)
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 to 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 12 oz. mushrooms, cleaned and halved or quartered, depending on size
- 2 to 3 tbsp. brandy, cognac or red wine (optional)
- 2 to 2 1/2 C beef broth
- 1 tsp to 1 1/2 tsp. dijon or brown mustard
- 2 heaping tbsp. sour cream
- 1 # wide egg noodles, or dense pasta of your choice, cooked to al dente, according to package directions.
- Olive oil for cooking
- Salt & pepper to taste
Put your water on to boil so you can time your noodles to finish as your stroganoff does. The stroganoff takes about 12 minutes total to prepare, once your veggies and meat are prepped.
For the stroganoff, you want to use a stainless steel or cast iron pan. You will be mixing in the pan, so you won’t want a non-stick pan that could scratch. I used a 12″ stainless skillet. Add a couple of swirls of olive oil and get it hot, but not smoking. Salt and pepper the meat liberally. Then, in sections, so as to not crowd the pan, add the meat. You want to brown it quickly, just a minute or 2 per side. Remove it from the pan and into a bowl or plate with high sides, as juices will accumulate and you don’t want to lose any of this goodness. You will be returning to your pan later on. Continue cooking the meat until it is all browned.
Add a little more oil to the pan and add the onions and carrot, stirring them and cooking them until the onions start to turn translucent, then add the mushrooms in as well. Cook another minute or two, until the mushrooms start to brown slightly.
The next step is optional. If you are using brandy, cognac or wine, turn off the stove and add a couple of tablespoons to the pan. Then turn the stove back on and stir the veggies. This is a do as I say, not as I do moment. If you don’t turn off the stove, please pour the alcohol carefully. I dripped down the side of the pan, and flambe’d my veggies. This is NOT part of the recipe. That said, if by chance to you catch the alcohol on fire, DO NOT try to blow it out or put it out with water. Turn of the stove immediately and put a lid over the pan. It will quickly and safely put out the flames. Then, you can turn the stove back on and continue on your merry way to finishing the recipe.
Now add about 2 C of beef broth to the pan, turn down the heat to medium and let it simmer, scraping up the good brown bits from the bottom of the pan to help flavor the dish and let it cook down by about 1/3, about 3 to 4 minutes. In the meantime, in a small cup, add 1/2 C broth and about 2 tbsp. corn starch, stirring it up to make a slurry to thicken the gravy.
Just an aside here — why cornstarch rather than flour? Corn starch can easily be blended with cold or room temperature liquid and will not turn lumpy. You can then add it directly to the pan to thicken the gravy. With flour, you need to mix it with cold water, then add hot liquid to temper it, then you can add it to the gravy, and you still might wind up with lumps. Also, corn starch does not need to cook as long to get rid of the gluey, starchy flavor, the way flour does. And finally, corn starch will give your gravy a lovely dark color and shine. I know, we’re not talking shoes, but the sheen on the gravy just looks beautiful and silky.
Back to our recipe. Add the slurry to the pan and stir it. Let it simmer for a couple of minutes to thicken up. Add the 1 tsp to 1 1/2 tsp. of mustard and stir it in as well. Finally, add the meat, and all those yummy accumulated juices, back into the pan. Let this cook until everything is heated through.
The final step is to add the sour cream. Turn your burner down to low, add a couple of dollops and stir through. You can even turn the burner off first, but the cold sour cream will cool off the dish, but if the temp is too high, your sour cream will separate. I leave the burner on, just so you know. We don’t like tons of sour cream, and the color of my gravy is still a nice toasty brown, but, many people like their stroganoff almost cream colored. You can add as much or as little sour cream as you like, but remember, you can always add it; you can’t take it out, so add it in stages.
Now you can serve it up with noodles on the plate and the stroganoff on top. We served it with a tossed salad to complete our dinner.