comfort food russian style

 

You've no doubt heard of Beef Stroganoff, a warm and satisfying dish presently known by its combination of tender beef pieces, mushrooms and a sour cream based sauce served over noodles. But did you know that despite its peasant meal appearance, it actually originated for  a 19th century Russian Count? 

Indeed, the dish was created by a chef of the Count Pavel Stroganoff (or Stroganov) at a time when Russian society reveled in French culture and society. Chefs of Russian notables wanting to impress their employers by creating memorable dishes to display their global refinement and expertise. The first known recipe appeared in Elena Molokhovets' wildly successful Russian cookbook "A Gift to Young Housewives," which went through 20 editions and sold nearly 300,000 copies. 

Once Imperial Russia unraveled, the recipe appeared in Chinese hotels and restaurants before WWII. As immigrants and servicemen returned to the US from Europe and Asia after the war, the recipe's many variations made their way into modern cuisine. Some of the variations include serving with rice instead of noodles, adding onions and mushrooms, and using turkey, chicken, ground meat and even sausage (popular in Scandinavia) instead of beef.

Here is an easy and delicious recipe that you can prepare in about 30 minutes. Feel free to experiment and make it your own. 

 

Beef Stroganoff

Ingredients

2 Tablespoons olive oil
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups shallots, sliced thin
3 cups small button mushrooms, sliced thin
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced 
4 pounds beef sirloin
1/2 cup beef broth
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons flour
2 Tablespoons dill, minced
2 Tablespoons flat leaf Italian parsley, chopped plus 1 Tablespoon for garnish
1 package (10-12 ounces) wide egg noodles, cooked
Kosher salt and black pepper

Directions

1. Cut sirloin into bite-size pieces or strips. Season with Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
2. In a large non-stick skillet, melt 2 Tablespoons butter and 1 Tablespoon olive oil on medium high heat. Add sirloin pieces and sear briefly on all sides until meat is just browned. Do not overcook or meat will get tough!
3. Remove sirloin from pan and set aside.
4. Gently wipe the pan with a paper towel. Add 2 Tbsp butter and 1 Tbsp olive oil. Heat on medium until melted.
5. Add sliced shallots, garlic and mushrooms and sauté until golden brown, 10-15 minutes.
6. While onions, garlic and mushrooms are cooking, blend beef broth, Dijon, cream and sour cream in a medium mixing bowl.
7. Lower heat to simmer and add flour to the onion/garlic/mushroom mixture. Cook, stirring briefly to coat.
8. Whisk in cream mixture and add meat juices to the pan. Simmer without boiling until sauce thickens slightly, about 5 minutes.
9. Once sauce thickens, return meat to sauce and simmer briefly until meat is medium rare to medium (as you prefer), 3 to 5 minutes.
10. Season to taste with Kosher salt and pepper. Stir in dill and parsley and spoon over the cooked noodles. Top with more parsley as garnish.

Serves 6-8. Goes well with a mixed green salad and crusty bread. Many wines would pair nicely with this dish including pinot noir, dry rosé, buttery chardonnay or white burgundy.