Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Nom Report, Episode 4, Beef Stroganoff

This kitchen exploration has been better than retail therapy for us, and doesn't feel as much like instant gratification.  Cause instead of coming home with new stuff we shouldn't be spending money on, we can spend less on groceries, make dinner and maybe lunch the next day, feed a friend, and enjoy the glow of having made something special.

For Tuesday's effort, Regina decided to give her Royal Inspectorness a break from chicken and we went with Beef Stroganoff.  Regina's father makes fabulous Beef Stroganoff; it was always a favorite growing up.  Unfortunately, like so many things her Da makes, she just can't replicate it to her satisfaction.  Part of the problem is that said father seems to cook by pure instinct and doesn't always remember what he puts in dishes.  Or maybe it's the love he puts into his cooking for his family, but it's just never the same.  So in the same way Regina had to make a new kind of spaetzle to adjust for that disconnect between his cooking and hers (more on that later), she hunted for a beef stroganoff recipe that was tasty but different enough that it didn't feel lacking.

After a bit of effort (no, we don't WANT a recipe with condensed soup in it) Regina found something with potential on the ever reliable foodnetwork.com.  A disclaimer at the bottom of the recipe warned that it had not been tested by Food Network Kitchens.  Dun dun duuuuuh!  What the hell, we're trying it anyway.  Recipe first, then comments:

Beef Stroganoff
  • Butter and/or olive oil for frying
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 1 (20-ounce) sirloin steak, cut into 1-inch strips (We used top round, which was cheaper, and worked fine)
  • Flour for dredging
  • 1/2 cup red or white wine, plus more for deglazing pan (We actually ended up using about 1 cup)
  • 16 ounces beef stock
  • 1 pint sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon Worchestershire
  • Salt and pepper
  • Egg noodles or rice as an accompaniment (We used egg noodles)
  • Garnish: parsley (Didn't bother with this)
In a hot saute pan melt butter and saute the mushrooms first then add the onions. The mushrooms take a little longer. In a separate pan brown strips of sirloin that have been dredged in flour. Set aside. When the onions and mushrooms are done, deglaze both of the pans with a little white or red wine and combine all ingredients into one pan. Add 2 cups beef stock, white wine or water and 1/2 of the pint of sour cream. Simmer for 30 to 45 minutes. During the cooking the sour cream will separate and some of the butterfat will become visible. This is normal, just stir the pot. Just before serving add the balance of the sour cream, stir to combine. Serve over noodles or rice pilaf and garnish with parsley.

First of all, if you read the recipe, you will note that it never tells you when to add the Worchestershire.  Because of this, we forgot to put it in.  We don't think the result was lacking because of it, but you can use it and tell us how it is.  We would add it with the beef broth.  Also, regarding the wine, we used Riesling as usual.  But Regina was a bit concerned about just using the wine and the beef broth together without reducing some of the alcohol.  So we measured out about a cup of wine, deglazed the pans with about 1/4 c total, combined the pans, and then added the rest of the wine.  We let it reduce to about 1/2 a cup, and then added the beef broth.  Oh and we also took some advice from Julia Child, via Julie & Julia (love that movie).  That bit about don't crowd the mushrooms is totally true.  We didn't even use the whole 8 oz, but they were perfect according to Kami.  Regina doesn't eat them, she just uses them for flavor.

Overall, Regina enjoyed this recipe and the Nom Inspector (which abbriviates to NI...lol) gave it an enthusiastic stamp of approval.  Regina ate the leftovers for lunch and they reheat well.  We will definitely make this again.  We might even try it with red wine in the future, but it's good with the white.

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