Beef Stroganoff


Created in the early 19th century and named for Count Pavel Alexandrovich Stroganov, the last male scion of a rich and aristocratic Russian family for whom the creator, a French chef, worked, this dish became an international haute cuisine classic. The Franco-Russian treat combines the seared steak and Dijon mustard of French cuisine with the sour cream of Russia. And although the name of the Stroganov family’s chef is now lost, naming the creation for his patron was probably a wise career move. 

Made by my grandson August Pearson
The alternate spelling “Stroganoff” (the original name is spelled in the Cyrillic, not Roman, alphabet) is used internationally for the dish. Some recipes use mushrooms and ketchup, others do not. But beef, onions, Dijon mustard and sour cream are essential. The other essential is that the strips of beef are fried quickly, part at a time, so they brown lightly, rather than stew. I use beef “flatiron” steak, but fancier cuts of tender lean beef can be used, up to and including tenderloin. 

The traditional accompaniment for the dish is “French” fried strips of potato. But rice and noodle dishes also go well. The recipe serves six. 

1-1/2 pounds “flatiron” (blade of chuck) steak

Butter and sunflower or other vegetable oil (not olive)

1 large onion, very thinly sliced lengthwise

1 tablespoon flour

2 cups beef broth

2 tablespoons red wine

1/2 pound small mushrooms, end of tips removed, mushrooms halved lengthwise

2 tablespoons tomato ketchup or 1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 bay leaf

1 1/4 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 cup sour cream

2 tablespoons snipped fresh dill for topping (optional) 

Trim tough parts off surface of beef. Cut away any fat. Slice steak across the grain into 1/4-inch slices. Cut any pieces longer than 3 inches into halves. Set aside. 

In large frying pan (one you can serve in) fry sliced onions in 1 tablespoon butter plus 1 tablespoon oil until quite limp. Sprinkle with flour and stir well and gently fry 2 minutes. Add broth and wine, and stir well. Let mixture come to a boil. Add mushrooms, ketchup or paste, mustard, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Let simmer gently, covered, 10 minutes. Turn off heat. 

Heat a griddle or another large frying pan. Add some butter and oil and fry part of the beef, such that it all rests without overlap on the pan and fries. Stir to turn the pieces frequently, until they are gently browned in parts and the pink color has just left. Transfer beef to the sauce mixture, using slotted spoon.

Add more butter plus oil to frying pan as needed, continue to fry part of the beef at a time until finished.

Reheat the pan that contains the sauce, mushrooms, and beef, and simmer 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in sour cream and remove from heat as soon as the mixture bubbles. Taste and add salt, if necessary. 

Sprinkle beef mixture with snipped dill, if used,. Serve with noodles, rice or French fries.

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