You can always tell when the seasons are changing as the food I cook quickly follows suit. It might still be sunny and almost approaching “warm” during the day, but the nights are drawing in and that means comfort food. It may not be everyone’s first thought but Beef Stroganoff fits the bill perfectly.
You know what I mean – big bowls of piping hot food that you can eat whilst sitting on the sofa. For me the image that comes to mind is pasta, curries and stews. The trouble with the latter is that Michael and I are not the biggest fans of stews. They’re perfect for a cosy evening but we just find them a bit “meh”. We were both brought up in households where they were popular but we rarely have them now. It’s a textural thing as much as anything else.
As a result I will try to recreate the experience of a stew – bowl food, rich flavours, etc – in a different form. Beef Stroganoff is a perfect example of this. You get flavoursome tender meat, a rich sauce and a bowl to hug without much in the way of effort. The warmth and deep savoury flavour comes not from a long cooking time, rather it comes from the addition of paprika. This little shortcut makes this a great meal for a weeknight or when you have guests over, as you don’t need to hang around the stove for too long.
The mushrooms and sautéed onions also help enhance this flavour, especially when cooked in the meat juices and a little butter. The richness comes thanks to the Dijon mustard and crème fraîche added right at the end. My one word of caution would be to not overcook the steak – especially if you’re using good quality meat. You definitely want to sear it at the start as this adds a real hit of flavour. You just need to make sure you don’t turn it into leather at the end!
As a bit of a footnote… This Beef Stroganoff was cooked on an evening when Michael really wanted to get home from work and relax in front of the logburner with a takeaway pizza. Totally understandable but not happening on my watch! For starters the logburner hadn’t had its annual service yet and I’d imposed a ban on its use. Almost certainly an overreaction as I was was convinced something would be blocking the chimney. Even though it has a cage over the top.
More importantly than that we had the ingredients in the fridge and I was not going to let them go to waste. Luckily he approved of the end result and was happy to defer the pizza to another day.
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- 300 g Sirloin Steaks I find 2 medium size steaks work well
- Sea Salt to taste
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp Butter
- 1 medium Onion peeled and finely chopped
- 1 tsp Paprika
- 100 g Button Mushrooms whole or halved
- 1 clove Garlic crushed
- 50 ml White Wine
- 2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
- 200 ml Beef Stock
- 2 tsp Cornflour
- 2 tsp Water
- 1 tsp Dijon Mustard
- 3 tbsp Crème Fraîche
- Handful Chopped Parsley optional to garnish
- Heat olive oil in a heavy frying pan or skillet over medium-high heat.
- Season the steak(s) with salt and pepper before adding to the pan and browning on both sides. This should only take a few minutes as you only want it cooked to medium-rare at this stage. When browned remove and rest on a plate.
- Reduce the heat to medium. Add the butter to the pan, followed by the onions and sauté for 5-10 minutes until they have have started to soften. Add in the paprika, then stir through the onions, followed by the mushrooms. Cook for a further 5-10 minutes until the onions are translucent and the mushrooms tender.
- Turn the heat up slightly, then add the garlic and cook for a minute, before pouring in the wine, Worcestershire sauce and beef stock. Bring to a simmer.
- Whisk the cornflour and water together to smooth consistency then add to the mixture in the pan. Stir well to incorporate the cornflour mixture and continue to stir until the sauce visibly thickens. Reduce the heat then add the mustard and crème fraiche. Stir until mixed and warmed through, though try to not boil the sauce.
- Slice the steak to your preferred thickness, then add it to the pan. Heat through until the meat is cooked to your liking.
- Serve with the side of your choice. I like it with rice but it's just as nice with mashed potatoes or even pasta. Garnish with the chopped parsley, if using.
When making Stroganoff I tend to swap between using the "normal" version and the Spanish smoked variety (pimentón) depending on my mood. Both have their upsides but it does come down to personal taste and a bit of experimentation will soon tell you which you prefer.