Thursday, January 20, 2011


The white stuff is piled up outside and the weather person says the thermometer is going to dip into single figures or maybe even negative numbers.  I guess we have a Siberian Express on its way.  Sounds like a good time to have a hearty Beef Stronganoff.

So simple and so scrumptious.

In the late 1940's after suffering through The Depression, the rationing of World War II and the troops coming home from far away places, Americans were ready to fall in love with foreign foods which they viewed as gourmet.  The 1939 World's Fair had introduced the country to foods from many different places.  After the war, friends were organizing into Gourmet Clubs to experiment with different flavors and techniques.  As Jane and Micheal Stern write in American Gourmet, "Like coq au vin and boeuf bourgiugnonne, beef stroganoff was the gourmet's antidote to the stark dryness of many traditional American specialties (fried chicken, grilled steak, baked ham).  Epicures, so this logic goes, want their food to be juicy and luscious, the meat cosseted in a rich gravy and accompanied by bouquets of vegetables and fulminations of spice.  How much more sensuous it was to slurp a high-spirited stew than to saw at a sauce-less, and hence puritanical, piece of meat!'

Sensuous Beef Stronganoff.  Enjoy!!!

When I was in Missouri, I bought my meat by the side and kept it in the freezer.  On a busy day when I didn't have time or forgot to defrost meat for dinner, I would grab a frozen block of hamburger and put it into a fry pan to cook and defrost at the same time.  It frequently because Hamburger Stronganoff.  I am not sure if my children have happy memories of that dish or not.  However, I don't feel too badly about my recipe, especially after I read that President John Kennedy's chef, Rene Verdon, used canned cream soup in his stronganoff that was served at the White House.
Fashionable Food by Sylvia Lovegren

Tenderloin of beef is absolutely wonderful in this recipe.  However, sometimes the budget doesn't run to expensive cuts of meat or you want to serve a large group of people and the cost of the meat would make this recipe prohibitive for you.  I like using top sirloin of beef or sirloin tips.  When I made this recipe, Tom had purchased a huge family pack of sirloin steaks.  Then due to the chemo, he didn't eat it.  My freezer was full so I pan-fried all the steaks to use in other dishes. 

Another handy hint, for when the budget is tight but beef is what you want, is to use Adolph's Tenderizer.  I use it to tenderize chuck steaks to make into shish kabobs. It is found in the spice or meat section of grocery stores.  It is all natural, I only use the unseasoned version.  It is made from an enzyme which comes from the papaya fruit which breaks down proteins in meat and therefore tenderizes it.  Has your mouth ever been a little sore after eating a lot of fresh pineapple?  Fresh pineapple contains the same type of enzyme.  That enzyme is also the reason you can not use fresh pineapple in gelatin desserts.  They never gel as the enzyme breaks down the protein.

Although you can use a cheaper cut of meat, Christy says using tenderloin is well worth the cost. She also adds canned button mushrooms, drained, to this stronganoff.

1 ½ lb. beef tenderloin, cut into thin strips
2 T flour
2 T butter
2 T olive oil
1 ½ c beef broth
¼ c sour cream
2 T tomato paste
½ t paprika
Salt to taste, I used beef bouillon for broth which is salty
Hot cooked buttered noodles

Ingredients: Beef tenderloin or your favorite cut, flour, butter, olive oil, beef broth or beef bouillon, sour cream, tomato paste, paprika, salt and noodles. 

Our family adds mushroom, Christy like the button mushrooms; I had stems and pieces in the cupboard.

In a shallow bowl, or resealable plastic bag, toss beef in flour. In a large wide shallow skillet, brown beef in butter and oil. Gradually stir in broth. In a bowl combine sour cream, tomato paste, paprika and salt. Bring beef mixture to a boil. Reduce heat; slowly stir in sour cream mixture, Do Not Boil. Cook, uncovered, over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently.  At the very end I like to add additional sour cream.   Serve over the noodles.

Cut meat into thin slices.  Use raw meat, I happened to have some left-over steaks that I used.

Put flour in a plastic bag.

Drain mushrooms.

Put beef slices in plastic bag with flour and toss beef to cover with flour.

Beef tossed in flour.

Ready to go.

1-1/2 cup hot water to dissolve bouillon.

Put bouillon in hot water and stir to dissolve.

Put butter and olive oil in large wide shallow pan.

Heat until butter foams.

Add floured beef to butter/oil mixture and brown on all sides.

In a bowl, combine sour cream, tomato paste, paprika and salt.

Stir to combine.

Add mushrooms to browned beef.

Gradually stir in beef broth and bring mixture to a boil. 

Immediately reduce heat; slowly add sour cream mixture.  Once sour cream is added to NOT ALLOW MIXTURE TO BOIL as cream will curdle. 

Cook, uncovered, on LOW heat for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently.

  Mixture will thicken slightly.

After 15 to 20 minutes, I add additional sour cream.

I like the look of the streaks of white sour cream in the mixture.

Ready to eat!  Enjoy!!!

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