Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Beef Stroganoff

I had a little over a lb. of beef stew meat sitting in the fridge today when I got home from work. What to do, what to do? Normally, I like to really slow cook stew meat because it tends to be a tougher cut, but I didn't have time for 2.5 - 3 hours. I looked through what we received in our CSA box this morning and we had cremini mushrooms. I'd also picked up some fresh gnocchi from the store. Hmmm...stroganoff! While it is typically served with egg noodles, I couldn't think of anything better than serving it with fresh, soft, pillowy gnocchi!

So I did. The results were excellent...Andy (my husband) licked the plate. Licked it. Like my kids lick their bowls after ice cream. When I gently admonished him, he said, "I can't let this go to waste!" So, this little ad libbed recipe goes in the recipe book!

Beef Stroganoff
1 medium onion, chopped finely
3/4 - 1 lb of cremini mushrooms, sliced thickly
Olive oil or bacon fat
1.25 lbs of beef stew meat
1/4 cup Maderia wine
2-3 cups beef broth
5 tbs half-n-half
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 cup sour cream
Slurry of 2 tbs flour and 1 tbs warm water, if needed
Salt and pepper
Pasta (I used gnocchi)

1. In a Dutch oven set over medium high heat, add a little olive oil (about 2 tsp). When it's hot, add the onions and slowly sweat.

2. Meanwhile, in another pan, saute the mushrooms in butter in batches. Don't crowd the pan with mushrooms. This will cause them to steam. You're looking for them to saute in the butter, to each get individually golden brown and delicious. Yes, you need to turn each one over individually until both sides are brown. Don't worry, it's worth it. When the mushrooms are done, set aside on a plate.

3. When the onions are translucent, remove them to the plate with the mushrooms. Add some bacon fat or olive oil to the Dutch oven. Dry your beef stew meat on paper towels so they are dry and will get a good sear. Sear the meat in batches in the Dutch oven. Remove each batch to the plate with the vegetables while the rest cooks.

4. When the meat has all been browned and removed, deglaze your pan with the Maderia. Scrape up those brown bits. Let cook down until most the alcohol has evaporated. Then add 2 cups of the beef broth. Now, add all the meat and veg back to the pan. Crank the heat to high and bring to a boil. When it is boiling, lower the heat to a simmer, clamp on the lid and cook for as long as you've got, at least 45 minutes, though, if you have the time, 2 hours would be better. Check periodically to make sure your braising liquid remains just above the meat. If you need more liquid, add a little more beef broth.

5. When at least 45 minutes has elapsed, cook your pasta according to the instructions given on the package.

6. Mix the Dijon mustard, sour cream and half-n-half together in a small bowl until thoroughly mixed. Add to the meat mixture and stir until combined. Cook through for a few minutes. Depending on how thick your mixture is, you can make a quick slurry of flour and warm water and add to the mixture. Stir until combined. When the pasta is cooked, add to the meat mixture. Serve immediately. Garnish with fresh chives or parsley.

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