“This is the best time to serve up some good old fashioned staple food...With flavours abound and dreams of the past.”
Winter with its short days and long nights, its cold winds that chill us to the bone, and the cold stark surround of white everywhere you look, makes you hunger for something hearty. There are things that I look forward to at this time of year. This is the best time to serve up some good old fashioned staple food. Beef Stroganoff is just that; a hearty and warming meal, giving a sense of comfort from within. With flavours abound and dreams of the past.
Of Russian origin, this meal or its variances has been in existence since the early 1800’s. The dish was invented by none other than Count Pavel Aleksandrovich Stroganoff himself. He was a rather dashing chap in his day by all accounts.
Beef Stroganoff has a flavour that seems to caress the body from within as it heats us up internally. Yet it is a simple dish of thin strips of beef cooked with onions, mushrooms, and seasonings, served in a sour-cream sauce. These few ingredients are what is used to make a classic beef stroganoff sauce, a combination of pearl onions and shallots give the finished dish a more interesting texture and flavor. Why not try this one out or perhaps you have a different recipe, care to share?
Here is what you will need:
600 grams ribeye steak
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion
½ cup pearl onions
½ cup chopped shallots
1 ½ cups button mushrooms quartered
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons regular flour
2 cups beef broth
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon freshly chopped chives
Salt and pepper to taste
The all important how to:
Tenderize the steak gently with a mallet. The goal is to have the meat at a maximum of ½ inch thick. Slice into thin stirps and set aside, season with salt and pepper.
Place a skillet on the stove on a high heat then add a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, place half the seasoned steak into the skillet and cook on one side for 30 seconds, then turn over, cooking for a further 30 seconds. Then remove from the heat. You are just looking to sear the meat, once it is placed in the stroganoff it will finish cooking. Add the remaining oil and repeat the exercise with the remaining steak, then set to one side.
Turn the heat down to a medium, then add two tablespoons unsalted butter and let it melt. Place the onions and shallots into the skillet and cook for one minute, then add the mushrooms. Cook mushrooms until they appear golden, then remove capturing all the goodness at the bottom of the skillet.
Add the remaining butter to the skillet and let it melt. Add the flour and stir until you have a paste-like composition then add half of the stock, stirring as you do. Add the mustard and continue to stir. Add the remaining stock and sour cream stirring all the while.
Reduce heat to simmer, stirring occasionally. Once the sauce has reached a consistency similar to that of half and half cream it is time to add the pearl onions and steak. Simmer for 1 ½ minutes then remove from the heat.
I love this dish over egg noodles with a sprinkle of chives for decoration. But like I always say, it is up to you. You could have pasta or mashed potatoes. Happy New Year.
Ian Leatt is general manager of Pegasus Publications and a trained chef.