so on a random thursday morning last week, i developed a ‘hankerin’ for some Beef Stroganoff. likely fueled by our crazy Pittsburgh weather that has been up and down more than Richard Simmons in a step aerobics class. i longed for something rich, something creamy… and unmistakingly homemade. i had a 2.5 pound beef round sirloin tip roast to work with. they were BOGO at the grocer a couple weeks prior- and i knew would be perfect for a number of recipes. i did beef stew not long ago… although good- not rich enough to satisfy my craving. goulash is always good and spicy… but again, i was looking to be sated by this meal. i thought a bit more. suddenly visions of a rich, thick, oniony sour cream sauce with tender strips of beef over egg noodles seeped into my foodie mind. i punched my fist into the air in a most victorious motion…. shouting STROGANOFF!! but wait… i’d never made it before!! would it be difficult?? what is IN it that makes that sauce so creamy and divine? i planned on taking some help from a McCormick packet- but after reading the back of it- i realized it was really just dried herbs and dried milk and cornstarch and the like. i got this. i can do this. think Spags… think. i envisioned the whole process from how i would get the beef to be fall apart fork tender… to starting the thickening process for the sauce and lastly on to the flavors i wanted to incorporate. also taking into account having to bang out a three hour nursing shift i picked up at the University that afternoon from 12-3 (with forty minute commutes bookending it). OK, no worries… we can do this. i decided to get to work right away, cutting, flouring and browning my beef at 930 in the morning. i would take some help from the crock pot- adding the browned beef to it- and adding in a can of french onion soup, a cup and a half of water, one large vidalia onion (chopped) and six fresh sprigs of thyme right on top. lid on, cooked it for eight hours on low. that way, at five when i’m getting down and dirty with this dish and making the magic happen… my meat will be ready and waiting. fast forward eight hours- it’s showtime. i poured myself a cuba libre, set the Pandora to Neko Case, and pulled up my sleeves. get a pot of water boiling for your egg noodles. cook per package directions. take a sturdy bowl and place it in a clean sink. take a big colander and place atop said bowl. CAREFULLY pour your crock pot contents into the strainer. let it sit and strain into the bowl, helping the process by pushing down here and there with the back of a spatula. set these aside for five minutes in a safe place. in a large non stick skillet or shallow sauce pan, melt a pat of butter and saute some sliced crimini or white mushrooms (about seven or eight of them) until tender. remove them to a small bowl and set aside. in the same pan, melt a half stick of butter. to this add a quarter cup of flour and immediately stir (over medium heat) to make a rue. it should be thick- almost like playdough. add another T of flour if you need, to reach this consistency. quickly pour in a cup of milk. (i used 1% but any will do) and the juice from your crockpot straining procedure. whisk or stir with wooden spoon to combine. add a tsp of salt- and a half tsp of black pepper. stir. this is the point where you have to use your judgement. if this looks way too thick to you, add a half cup of water and stir some more. if needs to thin a smidge more, add a quarter cup of water. see pic below for a visual.
i think i maybe added one more quarter cup of water at this point- and then it was perfect. Add your sauteed mushrooms. Stir in a whole 8 oz. container of sour cream and stir in to combine. (still working over medium heat here) Then add all of your beef and onions and loveliness to the pan. stir again to coat all. i think i added a nice rip of fresh parsley (chopped) and stirred that in as well. taste, tweaking salt/pepper if needed. my noodles happened to finish up at the same time all of this was happening- so i simply strained them using the same colander i strained the beef with, and then added them straight into the pot. it was like angels were singing in Russian as this ethnic dish came together! stir to combine and enjoy with some warm bread. i chose an organic french baguette and sliced it ultra thinly… with plenty of butter on each piece. ((hey… don’t judge… i was ALL IN this night as far as richness and indulgence went!)) Enjoy… and you’re welcome yo!! PS- even better the second day!
pics of the process below.