Monday, May 14, 2012

Beef Stroganoff

I can't believe I never made this before.  My Mom used to make this all the time when I was growing up and I absolutely loved it.  Things have been particularly busy at work, so I wanted to make a hearty, delicious meal that could last us the first few days of the week. 

I called my Mom to wish her a happy Mothers Day... then put her to work and made her recite her recipe.  Ah, just like I remember.  She cooks and gives recipes like I do "Oh you know like a hit or two of garlic, an onion, mushrooms, sirloin steak tips..." She doesn't measure ANYTHING and neither do I.  A "hit or two" is an actual unit of measurement she uses.  The sad part? I know exactly what she's talking about.  

Ok are our ingredients.  I added some stuff after the fact, so a couple items are not pictured.

2 Tbs of Olive Oil
1 Medium Yellow Onion
1 Clove of Garlic 
1.5 Lbs of Sirloin Steak 
1/2 Bag of Egg Noodles
2 Cups of Beef Broth
 8 Oz Container of Sliced White Mushrooms
1 Cup of Sour Cream 
2 Tbs of Ketchup 
3 Tbs of Flour (not pictured)
2 Tbs of Unsalted Butter (not pictured)
Sea or Kosher Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper 

Ok so this part is important.  There are several Beef Stroganoff recipes out there that call for "stew meat" - i.e. inexpensive cuts of meat that you cook low and slow in order to make the meat tender.  My mom uses sirloin tips instead.  This is a better cut of meat.  This means a) it's going to taste better b) you can cook this in a fraction of the time.  Win.  Win.  

Finely chop your garlic and the onion...

...then cube up your beef.  The beef is going to shrink a bit, so keep that in mind.  

Learning experience:  I had a hard time getting color on my beef because I over crowded the pan.  When you over crowd the pan like this, it tends to steam the beef more than brown it.  It doesn't REALLY matter in this case, but searing the beef in a hot pan with olive oil will help seal in the juices.  

I like steak medium rare.  We aren't cooking filet mignon here but you don't want to cook this to death.  You just want to brown the outside because we will add the steak back in later, where it will continue to cook a bit more.  Season a little with salt and pep. 

This is Charlie's version of popcorn...

Now that we've set the beef aside, you will be left with delicious FLAVA.  Mo' flava mo' betta. 

Add the onions and garlic to this goodness and saute until they become nice and soft...about 2 mins.  Then, add your mushrooms.  The mushrooms soaked up all the juice so I added a little bit of butter to help along the process.  

I had a nice heavy, 6 qt pan so I was cooking over high heat for 4 minutes or so because I'm impatient.  If you are just learning to cook, work over medium heat.  

Once the veggies are nice and softened like the pic above, sprinkle the flour one tablespoon at a time...

...sprinkle, stir, sprinkle, stir. 

Ok guys and gals...this is what we'll end up with.  A large goopy roux...

Add about 1/2 a cup of stock at a time so you can continually stir and work the stock into the roux.  

The sauce will immediately thicken, but let it simmer on high for 3-5 minutes until the sauce reduces to about half the amount.  Once it gets to that point...add your ketchup.  I kept tasting it and was worried it wasn't coming out right.  As soon as I added a touch of this ketchup it tasted JUST like my Mom's.  It brought me right back to my childhood.  It gives just the right amount of sweetness and me.  Use ketchup (I thought my Mom was crazy too). 

See the coating on the back of the spoon?  This is a good indication of the right thickness.  If it isn't thick enough, add a bit more flour.  Too thick? Add some more stock.  

Right before serving, add the steak back in. 

You want this right now you say?  Oh just wait... for the magical ingredient:  sour cream.  Sour cream makes this dish - creamy, tangy, and bright.  YUM.

I couldn't find low sodium beef stock, so I waited until now to season.  It needed a little salt and pepper.  If you like this spicy you could add a little hot sauce right now as well.

You could pour this over anything really, but egg noodles is where it's at.  The are fluffy and light and just perfect with the sauce. 


The steak was SO tender and the sauce had such a wonderful depth of flavor...

....this is a classic that I refuse to change.  Thanks Mom for such a great dish and stay hungry!


  1. Yum, once again!

    Thats the exact same way my mom cooks and in turn, as do I. Moms are the best!

  2. how long do you cook the meat for after adding it back into the mixture?
    - i tried it with the same meat, simmered it for 10 mins and it had become tough :(


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