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The Misadventures of Mrs. B: Beef Stroganoff

Cook. Writer. Wife. Daughter. Sister. Friend. Klutz.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Beef Stroganoff

For my first real cooking project at the new house, I chose beef stroganoff.

Okay. I didn't choose beef stroganoff. Rob did. But I was the one who decided to make it without using ground beef and a mix or cream soup. I figured I could use a new project.

I winged almost the entire recipe, and I'm certain that I could make changes that would make it even more delicious. But it was pretty good as it was!

Let's get started!

I began with a 2lb roast. I don't like using stew meat anymore, as I find that it can sometimes be really poor quality. So I cut up a roast instead. And I do sorta like getting my hands into all that meat - there really is something satisfying in slicing up a raw hunk of beef.

I feel like a sicko now.

Moving on.

Once the beef was cubed up, I salted and peppered the heck out of it.

Then I heated olive oil in a pan, and in batches browned the meat.

As that was browning, I chopped up half an onion. I didn't want to put too much onion in with the meat since I was using a smaller amount of meat than I usually do. Plus Rob's not the onion fan that I am.

The onion went into the hot pan once the meat was finished, along with a tablespoon of butter and olive oil.


Brown 'em up, baby.

I added about a half cup of beef stock to the onions and let them cook until the liquid was reduced. It really intensified the flavor.

Into the crock pot went the meat and the onions. I added around a cup of wine to the pan to scrape up any extra bits and then poured that over the meat, along with enough stock to almost just about cover everything. 

The wine was what I had on hand - white merlot.  You're probably thinking "Ew", but let me tell you that I think it imparted just enough flavor.  It wasn't as bold and rich a flavor as a red wine would lend to, say, boeuf bourguignon.  It was much lighter and I think went well with the dish overall.

And yes, "almost just about" is an actual, scientific unit of measure.  In case you were wondering.

In went some more salt, pepper, a few pinches of dried parsley and a couple of shakes of garlic powder. Plus a few shakes of worcestershire sauce. And then I set the crock pot low for 6 hours.

Can I just TELL YOU how delicious it smelled, even when I first put it on? And that just got more and more ridiculous as the hours passed.

You may be wondering at this time why I did not add mushrooms. This is because Rob hates mushrooms. So I planned on sauteing them separately and adding them to my own plate - which I usually do anyway!

So when the time came for dinner to start coming together, I sliced up a whole mess of baby bellas.

I added them to a pan with olive oil and butter. Rather than sauteing them in batches, which is the real way to do it, I was in a hurry and just tossed them all in at once.

When they were nice and browned I added a half cup of wine and let it reduce.

Mmmm...I wish you could really see how tremendous these mushrooms looked when the wine had glazed them. It was ridiculous.

As the mushroom drama was unfolding, I had a whole other situation going on with my cooking liquid. I drained the meat and poured the liquid into a pan, leaving the meat on low in the crock pot. I let the liquid boil down...

And after 15 minutes or so, I made a slurry of beef stock and flour.

Adding the slurry to the hot liquid thickened it up beautifully. I allowed it to continue simmering as I worked on the mushrooms and cooking the egg noodles.

By the way, have you ever used brown butter for noodles? Browning the butter really puts the taste over-the-top.

It starts off all bubbly and golden...

And eventually gets nice and nutty brown.


Of course, it is important to not let the butter burn.  And it's very easily done so keep an eye out!

Once the sauce was thickenend enough, I poured it back over the meat. Then I added around a half to three quarters cup of sour cream. I wanted to take it slowly so as to not overpower the dish. Turns out that for me, it was just enough. I could have used more but...again, I have to cook for my audience, if you will. Still, it was definitely enough to add that slightly tart creaminess. Yum!

 That looks kinda gross, actually.  Believe me, it looked nicer in person.

And here's the finished product!

Yes, I managed to get some broccoli in there as well.

It was really, really good, especially for something I pretty much figured out on the fly. *Someone* even had seconds!

And the meat. I have to tell you, the meat was amazing. Again, I find that it's worth cutting up the meat myself. I can see what I'm working with rather than just using the scraps of whatever the butcher department had left over.

Give it a shot, and try putting your own touches on it.  That's the beauty of cooking - as long as you have the basics of a recipe, everything else is negotiable.


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Blogger Frugal Friend said...

Did you put it 6 hrs on low on the stove or in a crockpot? And I only have cooking wine. Will that work?

March 2, 2010 at 2:09 PM

Blogger MrsJenB said...

Eek! I forgot to mention that I used the crock pot! Thank you for pointing that out!

As for cooking wine, I don't see why not. The rule of thumb I've always gone by is 'cook with what you would drink'. However, it's possible that I do that only because I never seem to have cooking wine on hand. And many people swear solely by the use of cooking wine. The wine I used was actually kind of sweet and still worked fabulously well. This really was a kamikaze project, can you tell?

Thanks also for reminding me that I didn't mention what kind of wine I used!

March 2, 2010 at 2:27 PM

Blogger Dr. Alice said...

Query: what kind of roast did you use (Yes, I know it's been nearly a year)? Reason I ask is, buying cuts of meat intimidates me. I never know what is supposed to be used for what. What cut would you use for stewing beef?

February 8, 2011 at 10:49 PM


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