Beef Stroganoff

Beef Stroganoff

Preface

It looks like ALOT of information below, but just read it once. This recipe is actually quite easy and quick, but it's greatly enhanced by using the proper TECHNIQUE.

This is a perrenial favorite at my house and an oft-requested birthday meal. It's relatively simple to make and a winner every time. I got the recipe from our edition of Joy of Cooking dated back to 1985. They've changed it since and not for the better. This recipe taught me a few thing about cooking meat that I've used many times since.

Its all about the steak

You don't have to get the choicest, most expensive cut (though I do love using a Rib-Eye or NY). How you slice, season and saute the meat will be the difference between decent and interstellar. See the 'preparing the steak' section below.

Ingredients

  • 1 - 1 1/2 lbs Decent Steak
  • A Bunch of Butter
  • Fresh Ground Salt and Black Pepper
  • A Solid Bunch of Mushrooms quartered or sliced
  • A Couple of Onions skins removed, sliced into 3/4' rings
  • 3 Tbsp. Butter
  • 3 Tbsp. Flour
  • 2 Tbsp. Good Mustard
  • 6 Tbspl Greek Yogurt
  • 3 Cups Beef Stock
  • Big Package of Egg Noodles

Process

Mise En Place

Do yourself a favor. Until you're the master of multitasking, take a moment and collect everything you'll need. It actually saves time and doesn't leave you hanging. After you have your ingredients together, start a pot of water, and get a cast iron skillet ready.

Prepare the Steak

Trim the steak, but not completely, leave bits of fat to help imbue it with flavor. Cut the steak against the grain into 1x1/2" strips. How do you know the grain? Look at it. Cut it somewhere, gently pull it apart and observe the natural grain of the meat. However you need to section the steak in order to cut strips against the grain is what you have to do. Once all the pieces are cut, lay them out flat and grind fresh salt and pepper on both sides.

Start your sauce. After making a simple roux with the butter and flour, add the hot beef stock just a little at a time - whisking to fully incorporate before adding the next. After you've blended it all in, bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. When done, add the yogurt and mustard - remove from the heat. When it cools a little, taste it. Add salt and pepper to taste (since it will coat alot of noodles, I suggest erring on the salty side- you'll thank me later).

Cook the Steak

This is where, for lack of a better expression, 'the rubber meets the road'. You don't want rubber though, so listen up. The goal is to:

  1. Sear the outside but have a medium rare middle
  2. Get the onion flavor in there
  3. Keep your pan super hot but not valcanic
Get your cast iron skillet hot and add a dollop of butter. As soon as it bubbles and browns slightly, lay out your steak cuts.

You're going to do a few batches, so don't crowd the pan - quickly lay out a half dozen or more flat. Immediatally add a handful of the sliced onion on top, breaking up grouped layers.

Let that go for a minute or two, then (using a fork or something) flip each strip of meat. At the same time, try and ensure the onions are direcly on the heat as much as possible.

Two more minutes at the most and get it all out of the pan onto a plate. Put the skillet back on the stove and add another dollop of butter. Let it get nice and hot before you put the next batch of cuts on. When it's done put it on the same plate and continut. Letting the meat rest on the plate with the onions and drippings for at least 10 minutes after searing is crucial

Add some more butter to the pan and throw in the mushrooms. Grab a handfull of onions from your cooked meat and toss them in. Cook on high heat for a couple minutes, stirring occasionally, then cover and let simmer.

Put the noodles in the boiling water. By now, you should have your sauce done and off the heat, your meat cooked and mixed with the onion on a plate, and your mushrooms nice and soft. While the noodles are cooking, separate out the onions from the steak. If desired, roughly chop the onions for a topping. After 6 minutes the noodles are done. Drain the noodles and put back into your empty noodle pan. Add the sauce, meat and mushrooms and serve