03 October 2014

Beefing Up

After dalliances with vegetarianism and even "vegan weekdays", I believe I've come to a point of being a conscientious omnivore.  I know there's a whole universe out there that doesn't believe that those two words belong together, but I like to think that I can prove them wrong.   I eat meat once every two days or so, and I've changed my shopping habits to make sure that I'm getting meat that was responsibly raised and slaughtered.  To me, that means cows, pigs and chickens that were raised the way that my great-grandparents would have raised them.

So this is a recipe for beef stroganoff, which is something that I've loved since I was a little kid. It's Russian in origin, but apparently became immensely popular in the 1970s.  It's really, really hard to take an appetizing photo of beef stroganoff, so you'll have to excuse the image below.  I find it hard to really get excited about a recipe when there's no photo, so I figured that even a rough photo would be better than none at all.  Just rest assured that it tastes way, way better than it looks.

Beef Stroganoff

1 lb grass fed beef - a good cut, like a ribeye or even tenderloin - sliced thin
3 cloves minced garlic
2 or 3 minced shallots (1/3 cup of minced onion will do if you don't have shallots)
1 teaspoon of vegetable oil
1/4 cup of butter
3 tablespoons of flour (if you're gluten free, you can sub in your favourite gluten free flour but you'll only want about 1-2 tablespoons of it - soy flour works for me, or even cornflour)
1/2 cup of sherry, port or red wine (each will have a different flavour, so my advice is to pick what you'd normally like to drink)
1/4 cup beef stock
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups of sliced cremini mushrooms
3/4 cup of sour cream
1/2 teaspoon of chopped dill
Salt and pepper to taste

To serve: egg noodles or rice (this should feed about 3-4 people, so go for about a package of broad egg noodles and 1 to 1.5 cups of basmati or other long grain rice - follow package instructions to cook)


First off, make a choice - do you want to use two pans or one to cook the stroganoff?  I leave the decision up to you.

Heat butter in a pan over medium heat.  Add shallots and cook till translucent.  Add garlic and cook till it doesn't smell raw anymore.  Be careful not to burn.  Add flour and stir to combine.  Allow to cook - keep stirring - until it starts to smell a little bit like toast.  Add in whatever of the three alcohols mentioned makes you happy, and stir to remove lumps.  Cook down for a minute or two till it doesn't smell so... alcoholish.  Add beef stock.  Stir.  

If you're using one pan, take the mixture and empty it into a big bowl now.  If you're using two pans, just set this mixture aside and heat the second, larger pan on the stove now.  

Melt butter in whatever pan you're using over medium-high heat.  Add mushrooms and cook for five minutes until they shrink down and look sort of browned.  Add sliced beef and stir, allowing the beef to sear/cook/brown, but being careful not to overcook (it's easy to overcook because it's sliced thin).  About a minute on its two sides is pretty much good.   

Into this pan, add the liquid mixture and stir to combine.  Add the sour cream and bring to a simmer.  Add the dill.  Taste.  Add salt and pepper to your taste.

Either combine with noodles, or serve over rice.  A side of sauteed green beans is a good veg option.  

Unappetizing Photo:

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