Cookin’ With Rants: Beef Stroganoff
I made this the other weekend on a late-breaking change of mind and the experience reminded me of just how wonderfully filling and decadent this heartstopper can be. I took Mom’s basic recipe from my miniRant period and kicked shit up a notch or two flavor-wise. This is an easy but sort of time-intensive dish due to all the reductions.
- 1 large cut of sirloin or chuck (1/2 – 3/4″ thick) – Cut into cubes
- 1 Onion (yellow or white) – diced
- 1 Package of baby Bella mushrooms – sliced
- 1 Bottle (~500ml) of Sherry – I use actual sherry, not the shitty cooking kind
- 1 large tub of sour cream – do not use low fat. Just don’t.
Put the meat and onions into your skillet (note: this dish will de-season cast iron, be warned) and brown the meat and cook until the onions are clear and limp. A small pat of butter and some light oil or olive oil will do fine for this. When browned, add about 1/4 of the sherry and simmer. Stirring frequently, reduce this mixture. This first reduction should give you a nice, dark brown pan sauce in the skillet.
Just before the brown pan sauce begins to thicken, add another 1/4 bottle of sherry and reduce again. Add pepper to taste here. Then repeat this step for the third quarter-bottle. At this point, you should have a fairly thick amount of deep-brown fragrant sauce with your tenderized meat and onions. I’d note that I can’t explain why you can’t just add a whole half-bottle and skip a reduction, but the results just aren’t the same.
For the final reduction, add the mushrooms and the remaining 1/4 bottle of sherry. The goal with this final reduction is to let the mushrooms absorb some sherry while keeping them fairly meaty while doing your reduction.
Just as the pan sauce begins to approach the thick, dark texture again, dump the entire tub of sour cream into the skillet and mix it in well. The stroganoff should be grayish-brown here. Low- or no-fat sour cream will tend to clump and just be disgusting, so don’t use that. Simmer until fully heated and bubbling. Using less sour cream will work but will result in a flavor intensity you might find unappealing. I’d also note that you should not salt this until this point, since reducing alcohols will impart a salty flavor by definition.
I like to serve this with a green vegetable – Brussels sprouts are my personal favorite. Also, I grew up eating this over rice, but noodles can certainly substitute just as well. You can also add black olives to this dish, or also garnish the served-up helping with capers if you’re feeling fancy. The leftover stroganoff will keep only a day or two in the refrigerator, but you can eat it cold like ice cream straight out of the container.
Note: You could use yogurt as a sour cream substitute, but if you do, go with plain Greek yogurt, and don’t plan on the leftovers being too awesome. You’ll have to stir constantly over a lower heat to keep the yogurt from curdling.