A funny thing about most people is that while they know very little about Russia they all know about Beef Stroganoff. It is not an uncommon recipe for beef stroganoff that will use ground meat. While that may make the recipe quick and easy, it does not do the traditional Russian Beef Stroganoff justice.
In most places, a dish is named after the chef who created it. In the case of Russia, it is normally named after the family for which he worked. In this case, for the Stroganoff family. As an interesting historical note and a glimpse into the royal court of the last Czar, most of the nobility in Russia dined in the French style, the Russian style being considered beneath them. They preferred French cuisine and culture to their own. It is ironic that the very top of their society, the Czar himself, preferred Russian food and it was the cuisine served at all official and state functions.
It's a simple menu but interestingly enough so are the traditional tastes of the Russian people. It's filling and great for a cold winter night. The actual preparation of the entire menu is also simple.
The Zakuska platter is an old Russian tradition that carries on today. In modern Russia most families still set out a platter before the main meal of the day. Below is a traditional Russian Zakuska list but in reality it contains whatever the family has on hand and people like to eat:
While any type of beef can be used to make this recipe, the most traditional is either filet mignon or top sirloin. Hamburger cannot be used to make traditional Beef Stroganoff.
3 pounds filet mignon or top sirloin steak
2 medium onions finely chopped
2 tablespoons tomato sauce
2 cups beef stock
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Dash each of salt and pepper
3 tablespoons sour cream
3 tablespoons flour
10 tablespoons unsalted butter
Saute the onion in 2 tablespoons butter until golden then set aside. In another large pot bring the beef stock to a boil. In a deep skillet, stir the flour over low heat until it's golden. Add 2 tablespoons butter and stir until the mixture bubbles. Remove it from the heat and slowly add half of the beef stock, the tomato sauce and the mustard. A whisk helps make the mixture smooth. Add the rest of the beef stock and the onions. Remove from heat and set it aside.
Slice the meat into thin strips and then pound slightly to flatten. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet and saute the meat until brown, about 5 minutes. Do only a little at a time or they will stew and not saute; add more butter as necessary. As they cook, sprinkle each batch with a dash of salt and pepper and then add to the sauce.
When you have cooked all of the meat, return the sauce to the heat and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce heat and cover. Simmer for 15 minutes. Remove cover and add sour cream. Cover and remove from heat. Stir after 3 minutes and serve immediately.
While not traditional, if you want to add mushrooms you can saute 3/4 a pound of sliced mushrooms after you cook the onions. Add them to the sauce at the same time you add the onions.
This is quick and easy: Wash and peel 4 large potatoes. Slice into long and thick strips. Deep fry in sunflower oil until brown and lightly crisp. Serve immediately.
Your Turn: What is your favorite dish from your heritage?
Categories: Food & Recipes