Beef Stroganoff

What other Russian specialty is known abroad as widely as Beef Stroganoff (беф строганов)? Perhaps none. So today we’re talking about dish that  makes all us Russians proud, even tho here and there you can find fierce discussions, generously seasoned with “And my mom never cooked beef stroganoff with mushrooms!”, “The size of the piece must be 5 cm, not 4!” and other vacuous remarks.

Vacuous they are because let’s face it — beef stroganoff is one of the most democratic meat dishes. Make it with mushrooms, make it with creme fraiche, even make it pork stroganoff — it’s all up to you.  After all, according to one of the versions, count Stroganoff’s chefs specially invented this dish for so called “open suppers”, which could be visited by anyone from the street (dress code was kept tho). This recipe you will read below is hardly original one — but it represents the thing I call “main idea of the dish”, no extras, all the chances for creation kept :).

So the main idea of beef stroganoff is to saute meat pieces in sour cream sauce. As simple as that. Let’s see what do we need to make it happen.

  1. Meat. Originally beef, easiest choice would be fillet steaks, about 600 g in total. The tricky part (the only one) will be to cut it, you need to do it across the grain. The size of the pieces should be roughly 5 x 1 x 1 cm, longer is okay, but not thicker.
  2. Flour — 1 tablespoon.
  3. Oil to fry in, about 5-6 tablespoons.
  4. Onion — 1, medium-sized, red or white. Peel it and chop it finely.
  5. Salt, pepper, herbs (I like to add oregano) according to your taste.
  6. Sour cream — 200 ml.
  7. Pan, which is suitable for cooking meat with sauce and has a lid. That’s it!

Advice: find time to cook your first beef stroganoff, not expecting that it will be great from the very beginning. Try this and that, find the way how YOU like it — falling apart or still chewy, a lot of sour cream or just the hint, with tomato sauce or without it.

Okay, let’s cook.

  1. Heat your pan, add oil and keep the heat high. Add chopped onion and fry it until golden (I prefer just make it transparent).
  2. Add sliced meat, fry it for 7-8 minutes, stirring often. While stirring, add salt and pepper. Actually chefs say that you need to stop frying meat when it looks “lacquered”. For me and my pan this takes mentioned 7-8 minutes.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-high. Add flour to meat, mix well, and add sour cream. If you want to add tomato sauce and/or herbs, this is the time. Stir everything until it simmers (but not boils heavily).
  4. Cover with the lid and saute 15 minutes. Time can vary from 15 to 30 and even more minutes (if you prefer falling apart kind of meat). I usually saute for 15 minutes and then try every 5 minutes.  Don’t forget to stir occasionally.
  5. Enjoy 🙂 Goes well with virtually everything — rice, green salad, french fries, mashed potatoes etc etc etc.
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