Beef Stroganoff is a wonderful dish containing thinly sliced beef, onions and mushrooms in a well seasoned sauce that contains wine and sour cream. In most countries Stroganoff is served over buttered egg noodles. Potato straws are often served alongside. In the United States the dish became popular during the 1940’s and was often served at dinner parties. It was great for entertaining because the meat sauce could be prepared the day before and reheated while the noodles cooked.
The origin of the recipe, as is often true, remains difficult to trace. Some food historians think this type of meat sauce dates back to the 1500’s and may have come from Eastern Europe. Sweet cream, mustard and lemon juice were used in the earliest versions. The first written recipe with this name was published in the 1800’s and said to have come from Russia.
This recipe makes 4 to 6 servings
- 1 ½ lb. lean beef, sliced thin
- Salt, black pepper, allspice
- 2 tablespoons butter or bacon fat
- ½ lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced or 1 can of mushrooms drained
- ½ cup of diced onion
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons of flour
- Dry mustard, Worcetestershire Sauce and paprika
- ¼ cup of good table wine, white or red
- 1 cup of beef broth or bouillon
- ½ cup of sour cream
- Milk to thin the sauce
- 1 package of egg noodles or 1 recipe of homemade egg noodles
The beef should be at least ½ inch thick. Cut the beef into slices about ¼ inch or so thick. Cut across the grain. Remove any fat. Cut those slices into 1 to 2 inch long pieces. Sprinkle the slices with salt, black pepper and ground allspice. Let sit at room temperature.
Heat the butter or fat in a large deep oven proof pan. Add the slices of beef when the butter is hot. Sauté the beef for about 15 minutes. While the beef is cooking prepare the mushrooms and the onion. After the beef has browned add the diced onion. Cook another 15 minutes. Sauté until the onion is tender. Add the mushrooms and cook another 10 minutes. Add more butter if needed. Remove the beef and vegetables from the pan and set aside.
Prepare the seasonings and other sauce ingredients. Add 2 tablespoons of butter to the same pan the beef was cooked in. Add 2 tablespoons of flour and using a whisk or fork stir until smooth. Cook for a few minutes but do not brown. Slowly stir in ¼ cup of wine mixed with 1 cup of beef broth or bouillon. Add small amounts of mustard, Worcetestershire Sauce and paprika. Stir constantly until the sauce thickens, lower the heat. Add more broth or bouillon to thin if needed. Stir in the sour cream. Do not allow the sauce to boil after adding the sour cream. Stir in the beef, mushrooms and onions. If the sauce is too thick add some liquid. Stir well and cover. Remove the pan from the heat and keep warm in a low oven or in a double boiler until ready to serve.
Cook the egg noodles, store bought or homemade, in salted boiling water until done. Drain well and mix with butter in a bowl. Chopped parsley can be mixed into the hot noodles.
The sauce can be mixed into the noodles or the sauce can be spooned over the noodles at the table. Leftovers reheat well.
Less meat can be used. Add more onion and mushrooms or other vegetables. A meatless version can be made using additional mushrooms or eggplant in place of the meat.
Almost any meat can be used in this recipe such as chicken, pork or fish. The meat can be sliced, diced, crumbled or cubed. Meatballs can be used. Some recipes use sausage. Hamburger is popular in the United States. Any beef or pork steak works well. To make slicing easier partly freeze the meat beforehand and allow to thaw completely before cooking. Use a sharp knife.
Quick 1960’s version – Use 1 lb. of crumbled hamburger browned with ½ cup sliced onion. Season with salt and black pepper. Stir in a can of cream of mushroom soup and some sour cream. Thin with milk. Cook 1 package of egg noodles, drain and stir into the meat mixture.
Slices of bacon can be fried crisp, crumbled and set aside to garnish or add to the sauce. The meat can be sautéed in the bacon fat. It will add extra flavor.
Some minced garlic can be added along with the onion.
The noodles can be mixed with the sauce and baked in a large casserole dish or baking pan in a 350 degree F. oven for 30 to 40 minutes. Bread crumbs mixed with melted butter can be sprinkled on top before baking.
The meat sauce can be served over mashed, baked, fried or boiled potatoes. It can be served over a bed of cooked rice, or spooned over potato or egg dumplings, split biscuits, toast, popovers or other breads. It can be used as a filling for bread or lettace wraps or thin pancakes.
Thin the leftover meat sauce and noodles with broth, bouillon or milk. Mix in some leftover chopped boiled or baked potato and any other leftover vegetables you have. Heat and serve as soup.
Sliced green onion can be used instead of white or yellow onion. Snipped chives are nice sprinkled on top before serving.
Wine is good in this recipe but it can be left out. Add water or milk instead.
Leftovers can be reheated on the stove in a double boiler, in the microwave or in the oven.
The meat sauce without the noodles can be frozen.
Finely sliced celery can be added with the diced onion. Cooked frozen peas, corn or other vegetables can also be added.
If you have no sour cream you can sour fresh cream or milk with a tablespoon of lemon juice per cup or a can of unsweetened condensed milk with a tablespoon of vinegar. Let stand at room temperature until thickened. Some of the earliest recipes only used a couple tablespoons of sour cream. Later ones used much more. If someone in your family hates sour cream, as my father did, you can leave it out and serve some at the table. My Dad used to hover in the kitchen while his aunt and grandmother cooked to make sure they didn’t sneak in any sour cream. That drove them nuts because many of their recipes used it. The sauce is pretty darn good without it.
Some of the United States recipes from the 1950’s or 60’s add a can of tomato paste or a few tablespoons of ketchup or bottled chili sauce to the sauce.
In my opinion no hot sauce, hot peppers or other flaming seasonings should be added to this recipe. If someone in the household must have extra spicy food you can set a bottle of Tabasco sauce or a dish of chopped hot peppers on the table.