This celebrated Russian stew is rich, creamy and luxurious and can be accompanied by potatoes, pasta, rice or buckwheat.
|Preparation time: 10 minutes||Cooking time: 20 minutes|
|Serves: 4||Difficulty: Moderate|
- 85g/3oz/just over 1/3 cup of butter
- 2 yellow onions
- 225g/8oz/2 cups of button mushrooms
- 1 tsp fresh dill
- A few sprigs of parsley
- 450g/1lb/2 cups of beef tenderloin steak
- 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon of tomato purée
- A pinch of salt and pepper
- 400ml/4dl/3/4 pt/1 3/4 cups of beef stock
- 1 tablespoon of plain flour
- 125ml/1.5 dl/1/4 pt/1/2 cup of white wine
- 250ml/2.5dl/1/2 pt/1 cup of sour cream
- Mashed or fried potatoes, pasta, rice, or boiled buckwheat, to serve
Make it vegan: Use plant based margarine instead of butter and vegetable stock instead of beef, an unfiltered vegan white wine, and vegan steak strips or tofu steaks instead of beef. Use vegan sour cream, try making your own, or substitute it with a cup of vegan yoghurt mixed with a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar.
- A chopping board and sharp knife
- A large casserole dish
- A sieve
- A wooden spoon
- Finely cut the beef into long, thin strips, peel and dice the onion, and chop up the dill, parsley and mushrooms.
- Heat the butter in a large casserole dish over a medium high heat.
- Add the mushrooms and onion to the pan and sauté them gently for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is slightly translucent.
- Then add the beef strips to the pan and sauté for a further 3 or 4 minutes, stirring often, until the strips are lightly browned.
- Add the salt, pepper, mustard, tomato purée and beef stock to the pan, and stir everything together.
- Bring the contents of the pan to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat slightly and allow them to simmer.
- Gently sieve the flour into the pan and stir it in, before stirring in the wine. Finally, add the sour cream, stirring in a few tablespoons of sour cream at a time. Continue to simmer for another two minutes.
- Remove the Stroganoff from the heat and stir in the parsley and dill.
- Serve with mashed or fried potatoes, rice, pasta, or boiled buckwheat.
- Приятного аппетита! (Priyatnovo appetita!)
- Once you’ve added all the sour cream, don’t continue cooking the Stroganoff for more than two minutes- any longer and the beef will toughen too much.
Pronunciation: /ˈstrȯ-gə-ˌnȯf/ (strow-goh-noff)
Relatives: Beauf Bourguignon (France)
Beef Stroganoff seems to have been popularized in the late 19th century. It likely takes its name from the Stroganovs, an enormously wealthy and influential Russian family who were first ennobled in the 15th century, but its exact origins and its connections with the Stroganovs are a bit murky.
In the 19th century, the Russian nobility were famously enamored with France and its culture. Many wealthy families had apartments in Paris, sent their children to be educated in France, spoke French to one another, and employed French servants and companions: the Stroganovs certainly had French chefs. As a result, 19th century Russian dishes could be a bit of an amalgamation of Russian and French cuisine. Stroganoff has strong similarities to French Beauf Bourguignon and has a classic French creamy mustard sauce,but it has a definite Russian twist, as it incorporates sour cream, which was (and is) a staple product in eastern Europe and Russia.
Stroganoff is particularly associated with Alexander Grigorievich Stroganov, a 19th century count and government minister, who, towards the end of his life, purportedly suffered from poor dental health and found himself unable to eat large chunks of beef. According to one story, Alexander Grigorievich asked his French chef to prepare him small strips of beef, fried and then softened in sauce, so that his teeth could cope. As he often had many friends and acquaintances over for lunch, members of other households became familiar with his chef’s beef recipe and asked their own chefs to prepare it, and so the recipe spread.
Another story is that the dish became popular after the Stroganov chef, Charles Briere, prepared beef strips in sour cream for a St. Petersberg cookery competition in 1891. When he won, he named the dish after his employer as per Russian custom, albeit in the French naming style, so called it Beef Stroganoff: ‘Beef in Stroganoff sauce.’ The dish actually appears in Elena Molokhovets’ 1887 edition of her Russian Cookbook, A Gift to Young Housewives, so Stroganoff predates the cookery competition- but Briere’s victory (and Molokhovets’ book) may have helped popularize it throughout the country. Briere’s version certainly developed the dish from Molokhovet’s recipe, which called for small cubes of beef as opposed to strips and lacked many ingredients now considered indispensable to Stroganoff, like mushrooms, wine, onions and tomatoes.
The dish was not initially eaten outside Russia. Russian emigres who fled poverty and Tsarist oppression in the late 19th and early 20th century were not necessarily familiar with or enthusiastic about the luxurious dish. But after the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the fall of Tsarist Russia, noble families who had been able to afford Stroganoff also fled the country. Travelling west to Europe and America and east to China, these nostalgic emigres popularized the dish abroad in luxurious Russian-style restaurants.