Beef Stroganoff

Many of you might not know this, but I lived in Russia for about 6 months of my life. It was a unique experience and, had I been as food aware as I am now, I would have probably wanted to taste this dish in its homeland. Beef Stroganoff is a failry modern invention, with the recipe dating back only to the beginning of the 19th century. Even so, however, it looks like the original recipe from the Stroganoff family was little but a polished older Russian recipe. Count Pavel Stroganoff, in particular, well renowned for his love of food and entertainment at the court of Alexander III, seems to be the author of the recipe and the latter was already included in an 1871 edition of a popular Russia cookbook.

Although varied in content according to the source one decided to quote, the recipe seems to contain some staples: beef, onions, sour cream (although some versions swear by normal cream) and mustard. The addition of mushrooms meets criticism and applause alike, depending on what upbringing one might have had. The classical accompaniment, moreover, seems to be finely cut potato chips, although rice and/or noodles are also a strong favourite.

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Ingredients

  • 500g fillet or rump steak, trimmed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 150ml soured cream
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Method

  1. First of all, prepare the meat. Place the steaks between two sheets of oiled cling film and beat with a rolling pin to flatten and tenderize the meat. If you’re using braising or/stew steaks, skip this step. Cut the meat into thin strips, approximately 5cm long.
  2. Heat the oil and half the butter in a large and shallow frying pan, then fry the beef over a high heat for 2 minutes or until browned. Remove the strips of beef from the pan using a slotted spoon, thus leaving any juices behind.
  3. Melt the remaining butter in the pan and add the onion slices. Gently fry them for 10 minutes, until soft.
  4. Sprinkle over the flour, then stir that in. Follow with the tomato puree, mustard, lemon juice and soured cream. Return the beef to the pan and stir until combined and slightly reduced. Season with salt & pepper, then scatter over some parsley and serve.

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