I’m currently living in Florida and the weather has just started to get chilly. Okay, 52 in the morning and below 70 at night, still counts. I was in Minnesota last week for a catering event and it snowed! So regardless, I’m ready for the cold weather comfort foods. Who’s with me?
I was recently talking to some friends who said that beef stroganoff was one of their favorite meals. I had completely forgotten about it. I had only had it once when I was little. In all honesty, I don’t remember if I liked it or not, but when thinking about the big flavor components – who wouldn’t love creamy mushroom sauce with pasta and beef so tender you can pull it apart with a fork?
So naturally, when the weather finally turned chilly here in Florida, I knew exactly what I wanted to make.
The key to really hitting the mark on this dish and glamming it up is all about the beef. The quality of course should be good, but it’s more dependent on the cooking process. The beef I ended up using was one of the cheapest things in the deli counter – and they had just gotten it in, it was not because it was on “special” due to sitting there for 4 days.
Side Note: Make friends with your local butcher and ALWAYS ask what’s freshest and what’s the best quality or the best values. If the first person you ask doesn’t know anything about any of the products, ask them to find someone who does. If nobody around knows – you may want to find a new place for proteins. Lunds and Byerles in MN are all fabulous and really take the time to hire educated butchers, I’ve never been disappointed with the staff or products there and I feel that way about all of the Lunds & Byerles I’ve been to in MN. I sadly cannot say the same for other major grocery retailers.
The cut I used was the “Eye Of The Round Roast” it looks almost like a small beef tenderloin. It comes from the rear of the leg, and is very lean, and can be very tough if you don’t cook it properly. There are a few things you can do with this cut, such as thin slicing and pan-searing, roasting whole (like tenderloin and then very thin slicing against the grain), and of course, braising and stewing. More on that later.
The second key to this dish, after the beef, will be the mushrooms. You don’t need to go fancy. Brown buttons, baby portabella, a couple of shitake or maitake (the brown flakey ones that smell like weed, apparently it means dancing mushroom in Japanese — are the two connected? Whose to say?). Actually in all seriousness, Maitake are more than just a pretty shroom, they have a lot of health benefits. Check the above link to see more.
Then, you want to look in the produce section for the dried mushrooms. They come in the little plastic packages, often near the packaged herbs and the odd herbs in a tube (which I have never used, but if you have let me know what you think, I won’t knock it till I try it). There are usually a couple varieties such as chanterelles, porcini, shitake’s or Morel’s. You don’t have to pick the most expensive one, usually each pack is about $5. You want these more for the stock you’ll be making rather than for eating. I like Porcini (very, earthy) or the shitake’s (more mild, and have a classic mushroom flavor).
Finally – the vino. As my name is The Somm Chef – you know I’m big on the vino. Cooking with it and drinking it while cooking. You don’t need anything fancy here. Get a bottle of white, preferably a stainless steel Chardonnay from Chablis or Burgundy, possibly California but make sure it’s not too oaky or buttery. Just keep it around $15. If you really want something more fun and interesting – go for a crisp rosé. Why? Because a rosé would pair exceptionally well with this dish, so you can put a little in the food and a little in your glass. The Chardonnay from Burgundy would go very well as well, it also may be a bit more than $15 but if it’s good quality, like Saint Veran from Joseph Drouhin, you’ll want to drink the rest.
So now – the recipe.
For 2-3 People. ~45 minutes
Canola or Grapeseed Oil as needed (for sautéing beef)
.75 # Eye of The Round Roast Beef – diced into 1/2” cubes
1 Package Dried Mushrooms (2-3oz) of choice (Porcini, Maitake, Shitake, etc)
8 oz Baby Portabella Mushrooms or other type as desired — make sure stems are included
1 1/2 Cups Wine (Stainless Steel style Chardonnay, or Rosé)
2 Tbsp Heavy Cream
1 Whole Yellow Onion, Diced
2-3 Cloves of Garlic, 1 Smashed the other 2 Minced
1 tsp Sherry Vinegar
Salt and Pepper as Needed
1/2 Package of Pasta (1/2#)
- Clean and de-stem the fresh mushrooms. Put all of the stems into a small saucepot along with 2oz of dried mushrooms. Add in 3 cups cold water and place on stove on high heat. Once at a boil, turn the heat down to a simmer.
- Slice the mushroom tops and set aside. Dice onion and smash/mince garlic. Place 1 smashed garlic clove into the mushroom stock. Set aside the other two minced garlic cloves with the onion. Set aside.
- Cut, salt, and pepper the meat. In a large pot, heat oil until shimmering (like a mirage).
- Brown one or two sides of the meat in batches – first set the meat in, allowing plenty of space between the pieces. Let it sit for a minute or two until browned, then turn each piece over using tongs. Remove and do the second batch. Repeat as necessary. Note: The reason why you don’t want to brown all sides or cook all the meat at once, is because the meat will cook too quickly and become dry and tough.
- Once the meat is browned but not cooked, remove it from the pot and allow it to cool. Reserve.
- Turn the heat of the pot to medium-low and add in the sliced mushrooms. Once browned, add in the onion and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cook the mushrooms, onion, and garlic until the onions are translucent – about 3 minutes.
- Add in the wine, and reduce until almost dry – about 10 minutes. Stir often.
- At this point, your mushroom stock should have simmered for about 30 minutes, and have a nice dark brown color with an earthy aromatic. Strain 2 cups and add to the pot with mushrooms onion and garlic. Reserve the other cup for another time either in the fridge or freezer.
- Add a pinch more salt and pepper and add in 2 Tbsp of Heavy Cream.
- Turn the heat to low and return the meat to the pot. Cover 3/4 of the top of the pot to allow for some steam to escape, and finish cooking the meat at a low temperature until done. About 15 minutes. If you want a thinner sauce, add in more mushroom stock as desired.
- Meanwhile, heat your pot of water for cooking the pasta and cook per the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Add in 1 tsp of the Sherry Vinegar. Taste the sauce and add more salt or pepper if needed.
- Once ready and the pasta has been strained, scoop the pasta into bowls and top with the beef and sauce. Add as much sauce as you’d like.