The two times in my life when I remember my Russian food cravings becoming especially strong were the times I was pregnant with my babies. It seems I am at it again. No, not the pregnant bit but the longing for food I grew up with. When life gets especially hectic cozy Slavic food laced with butter and sour cream comes to the rescue once again.
I guess it came at a good time since I will be flying to St Petersburg in 3 short weeks. Just for a weekend and strictly for work but how can I not get excited when I haven’t been back in more than a decade! I just found out that my hotel is offering complementary tea and fresh pastries 24/7. What! I am simultaneously thrilled…and terrified. I guess 3 days can’t do too much damage on my waistline…or can they?
I’ve been thinking lately that I don’t share nearly enough Russian recipes here. This needs to change. Pronto. I guess Beef Stroganoff to a Russian is like a Carbonara to an Italian. Something we just whip up without a recipe in little time using very few ingredients. The outcome is always the same-immediate bliss followed by a food coma. It’s good and it’s very easy. If you follow a few simple rules you will make the best stroganoff.
First off, the beef quality is paramount; avoid stewing beef and buy steak. You only need a pound so buy the best you can afford. Secondly, if steak is too expensive go ahead and buy a more affordable pork loin. Really, it’s allowed. Many Russian cooks make Stroganoff with pork. Lastly, use a heavy bottomed skillet and avoid a non-stick. You want your meat to stick to the pan so it gets coated with brown bits because once you hit it with a shot of brandy they get released into the sauce and that’s where wonderfully complex flavour comes from. I know it sounded like I just mentioned the last thing but I have more. Dill pickles and mounds of mashed potatoes make Stroganoff the best dinner EVA! Don’t even think about serving your Stroganoff with egg noodles. So wrong. No idea where it came from. No noodles.
- 1 tbsp-oil
- 1 tbsp-butter
- 1-onion, thinly sliced
- ½ lbs- crimini mushrooms, sliced
- 1 lbs-beef steak, cut in strips
- ¼ cup- brandy
- pepper, freshly ground
- ½ cup-beef stock
- 1-bay leaf
- 1 tsp-whole grain mustard
- 1 cup- full fat creme fraiche or sour cream
- 3-4 sprigs-flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- Heat oil and butter in a heavy skillet and cook onions and mushrooms over medium-low heat for 7-10 minutes. Remove and set aside.
- Add cut steak to the same skillet and quickly fry over high heat for 3-5 minutes.
- Add brandy and continue cooking until alcohol burns off, add stock, mustard, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Scrape the bottom of the pan with a spatula to release all the brown bits, they will add much flavour to the sauce.
- Bring mushrooms and onions back to the pan and cook for 3 minutes until everything is heated through and bubbling.
- Stir in sour cream and parsley and take off the heat.
- Serve with mounds of mashed potatoes or rice.