by Rick Goldman
Beef stroganoff is an ancient Russian dish invented in the early 19th century. It’s a savory mixture of tender beef, freshly seasoned with salt and paprika, and often served with sour cream. It’s a mouth-watering dish that can easily dissuade you from your diet plans.
Accordingly, the visual appealing of beef stroganoff has such an intriguing aroma that makes it impossible to resist. Although it’s a masterful dish on its own, it is often served with a side dish as well (pasta or rice) to complement its salty and savory taste.
This Russian dish is as exotic as its name. Therefore, you first need to know how to cook it to perfection. In this article, we will be going through every step from cooking a perfect stroganoff to the various side dishes you can serve it with.
Before cooking beef stroganoff, let’s look at the ingredients required for this dish.
Considering that stroganoff is a quick-cooking dish, you need to pick the most tender slice of beef you can. That’s because you will cook it in medium to high heat, and you need to make sure the meat doesn’t dry up. Tenderloin is most suitable for this method of cooking. Also, remember to refrigerate the meat 30 minutes before you start cooking.
This will make the meat easier to cut.Then, start with discarding any lingering fat on the meat to achieve the desired taste of the dish. Use your kitchen knife to cut the meat into thin slices, approximately half inches thick and two inches long. To maximize the tenderness of the meat, slice along the grain of the tenderloin as well.
However, before you start cooking, get ready your pan with medium-high heat on your stove to help the slices cook fast. So make sure you are swift and skillful with your work.
Once the pan is ready, pour one tablespoon of olive oil all over the pan. Swerve the pan to see the oil move freely. If it does, that ensures that your pan is hot enough for the beef. Next, add one tablespoon of butter and stir in the pan. You should waste no time, and add your first batch of meat onto the mixture of butter and olive oil.
Add the slices of beef but try not to overcrowd the pan. If you do so, it will cause the juice to accumulate at the bottom of the pan, and the meat won’t get the brownish sear that you want. Another key trick is not to add salt to the beef just yet. The salt will deprive the meat of the moisture, and inhibit the browning.
Unlike most dishes, try not to stir the slices too much. Instead, let the meat to cook on its own, and flip the pan from time to time to make sure it cooks evenly. You will know that the beef is ready once all the pink meat will make the transition into a brownish hue. Set aside the batch when it’s done.
Another defining ingredient for a perfect stroganoff is the sauce. To make the sauce, you need to saute the onions and mushrooms. Add some more olive oil and butter to the already heated pan. Drop half a tablespoon of finely chopped onions on it, followed by 8 ounces of mushrooms, seasoned with salt.
Sprinkle a hint of black pepper and add 3-4 sprigs of thyme for flavor. Saute the mushrooms until they achieve that brown color. Next, you can add some wine as a flavor booster. This will help enrich the alcohol-soluble flavors in the sauce.
Likewise, add 1/4th of a cup of beef stock when all the alcohol has evaporated. Let it simmer for about a minute before adding the previously cooked beef along with the juices collected on the plate.
Turn the heat off before the next step. Add one cup of sour cream and just two tablespoons of mustard for an extra punch of flavor. Stir the mixture slowly and uniformly to make sure all the beef get well blended with the sauce.
After a couple of minutes of stirring, taste, and add some spices or salt if needed. Your beef stroganoff is ready. Now you need to choose what to serve it with.
The savory punch of the stroganoff is well highlighted by the naturally bland flavor of the rice. You can use regular, ginger or basmati rice, and boil it to perfection. The good thing about rice is it doesn’t need any seasoning.
Spoon your cooked stroganoff on top of the rice. The sauce will ooze through the rice, and form an irresistible combination. Sprinkle some parsley and curly onions on top for a final touch.
If you’re a fan of the natural texture of the pasta and are worried about your calorie intake, try egg noodles as a side dish. You can easily make it using some flour and egg, and a pasta maker.
Place separate servings of steaming egg noodles, and add the stroganoff on top with a spoon. Add some curled parsley for decoration, sprinkle paprika for extra flavor.
If you’re not a strict diet, however, and want your taste buds to go wild, stroganoff with sauteed potatoes is a must. Make sure the potatoes are evenly cooked and well-seasoned to match the quality of your meaty delight.
The potatoes must have a golden hue, and a mild coat of herbs on it we recommend. This will make the serving look more appealing without any added decorations.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for a more unconventional alternative, and want to keep a check on your calories, braised red cabbage is your best option. When you have braised with sugar and certain fruits, the braised cabbage can prove to be an amicable combination for the spicy and creamy serving of the stroganoff.
Not only does it taste delicious, but it also gives your dish a tempting appearance, and a feast for both the eyes and the taste buds.
No matter which serving you choose, your beef stroganoff will surely make your guests want more if you manage to follow the instructions methodically. Make sure to carry out the steps hastily as you don’t want your beef to dry up.
Furthermore, be cautious when in haste as reckless mistakes can often lead to accidents. You should try to cook both the stroganoff and the side dish simultaneously to ensure both of the dishes maintain the same taste.
About Rick Goldman
Rick Goldman's grandpa was a captain of a California coast cruise. This afforded Rick the luxury of traveling to exciting places along the Pacific Coast as a young boy. He got to try different, exotic foods on these journeys - something he really enjoys blogging about from his grandpa's beautiful garden home today.