Tuesday, February 12, 2008

From Moscow With Sour Cream

Beef stroganoff is an old-school dish for sure. I think the first time I had it, I was about eight, and I don’t remember liking it much, but that might have had something to do with my not being a huge fan of egg noodles (and I’m still not). Also, the beef was tough. Years later I made it again, from a Weight Watchers recipe, and it was… better. Not my favourite dish, but tasty enough. I don’t think I’ve made it more than twice in the past five years, and then while hunting for slow-cooker recipes, Cooking Light came through for me again with a beef stroganoff recipe that sounded easy, cheap and tasty. What the heck, I thought, and tossed it into the recipes to try file.

We tried it yesterday and holy Gorbachev, was it good. So good, in fact, that I daydreamed about the leftovers all morning. It’s going on the permanent comfort food list. And did I mention it was easy? And cheap? Seriously, you have to try this if you like beef, mushrooms, sour cream, and food that tastes much more decadent than its calories would suggest.

The cheap marinating steak becomes fork-tender. The onions and mushrooms all but disappear into the sauce, which is earthy and deep from the broth and a splash of red wine (my addition, and a good one), and the Dijon adds a secret zing, a sort of “what IS that?” tang on the tongue. The sour cream smooths it all out and makes it rich and saucy. And I find that mashed potatoes, not too highly seasoned, made a perfect bed for the stew. You could have plain rice, of course, or even egg noodles, but I’ll stick with my spuds. And broccoli – its fresh zip cuts right through the creamy sauce and brightens the palate. A glass of velvety red wine would go gorgeously with this.

Please, I beg you. Make your friends and loved ones happy. Cook them some stroganoff. It’s warm food for cold days and it will warm their hearts. You don’t have to tell them how easy it was. Chris does recommend, however, being out of the house while it’s cooking as the smell nearly drove him mad with hunger.

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