I’m sure you are familiar with the phrase “everything old is new again“. Whether it is clothing, hairstyles or even food, over time a true classic never disappears but waits in the background to be rediscovered. Case in point is Braised Beef Stroganoff. Said to have been named after a 19th century Imperial Russian dignitary, this classic dish was served at elegant dinner parties in the ’40’s, became a trendy favorite again in the ’50’s and ’60’s, and is now making a reappearance. Whether it is because of the popular retro series, Mad Men or Thomas Keller’s recipe in his ad hoc at home cookbook, I’m very happy that this classic has been rediscovered.
Beef Stroganoff is usually prepared with tender pieces beef in a flavorful mushroom and sour cream sauce served over buttered noodles. If you look through your oldest cookbooks, you will be surprised how recipes for Beef Stroganoff vary from book to book. From beef tenderloin to ground beef, with everything from cognac, sherry, or beef broth used to bring additional flavor, and cream to canned cream of mushroom soup used to prepare the sauce, there appears to be a version to suit everyone’s taste and pocketbook.
Braised Beef Stroganoff
Recipe serves 4, adjust accordingly
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees
- 1 1/2 lb. boneless chuck short ribs, cubed into 1 inch pieces
- flour for dusting the meat
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 – 2 Tbsp. canola oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
- 1 garlic clove, peeled
- 1 c. red wine
- 2 c. beef broth
- 2 c. water, more or less (beef broth may be substituted)
- a couple branches each of fresh thyme, rosemary, and parsley
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 lb. cremini or button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
- 3 Tbsp. butter
- 2 Tbsp. canola oil
- 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 3/4 c. sour cream plus additional for garnish
- salt and pepper to taste
- chopped fresh parsley or dill, optional
- paprika, optional
- cooked buttered egg noodles or pappadelle
Season the meat with salt and pepper, dust with flour and shake off the excess. Heat oil in a Dutch oven and brown the meat in batches. Remove the meat to a plate and deglaze the pot with the wine and let reduce by half. Add the onion, carrot, garlic, herbs, broth, salt and pepper to the pot then return the meat and any accumulated juices. Add enough water, if necessary to cover the meat by at least one inch. Cover the pot with a lid and place in the the preheated oven. Check from time to time to make sure that the braising liquid is just at a simmer. Lower the heat, if necessary, so that it doesn’t boil. Cook until the meat is fork tender, approximately 2 1/2 to 3 hrs. *The meat can also be braised on your stovetop at a low simmer or even prepared in a slow cooker.
When the meat is tender, remove from the oven. Place the meat in a container, strain the broth and pour over the meat. Refrigerate for one day. (This step can be eliminated but the flavors will improve if allow to sit overnight.) To continue the recipe, bring the meat and braising liquid to room temperature.
In a large sauté pan, heat the butter and oil. When hot, add the mushrooms and cook until golden brown, then remove to a plate. Add the braising liquid to the pan then add the mustard and sour cream and whisk until smooth. Return the mushrooms to the pan and let the sauce simmer until desired consistency. Add the beef to the sauce, season with salt and pepper to taste and simmer until the meat is heated through. If the sauce becomes too thick, thin with a little cream. To serve, place noodles on a plate and top with the Beef Stroganoff. If desired, add a dollop of sour cream, a pinch of paprika and garnish with chopped parsley or dill.
Retro food is making a comeback across American and I can see why Beef Stroganoff is one of the dishes that is popular again. This richly satisfying meal of tender beef coated in a creamy mushroom sauce and ladled over buttered noodles is delicious. All that is needed is a crisp green salad and a crusty piece of bread served with a glass of red wine. After enjoying my version of Beef Stroganoff, perhaps you will leave your table humming “Laura’s Theme” from the classic movie Doctor Zhivago.