Beef Stroganoff was not something I ate when growing up. I have tried making it a couple of times but could never understand the appeal of the “standard” beef stroganoff, which to me always seemed to be swimming in cream. So I was extremely excited when I saw this recipe, although admittedly apprehensive – a beef stroganoff with mustard and very little cream? No mushrooms and no wine? I know – not something you would expect. The recipes comes from a cook book dated 1861 by Elena Molokhovets. My thinking is that if the recipe can survive such test of time then it is bound to be good.
Well, I was absolutely right in thinking that. The result was unbelievable. Tender meat, great tasting sauce – the sauce was good enough to drink with a spoon.
The recipe was slightly modified from the one dated 1861 (very slightly) to account for present cooking realities. For example, it referred to some mustard that I never heard of, instead I used a simple Dijon mustard and I do not think the dish lost anything because of this substitution.
- 500g of beef (I had simple beef steaks which I cut up)
- 1 medium-size onion (chopped)
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 cups beef stock (you do not have to use beef stock and can substitute for chicken or vegetable stock, but beef stock would add an extra layer of flavor)
- 1 tsp of Dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp of double cream
- 1 tbsp of tomato purée
- 2 tbsp of flour
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cut up the beef into small cubes. I know what you would say – beef stroganoff usually calls for small strips, however, this particular recipe calls for specifically that – cubes (to be honest, the way my meet was cutting it was somewhere between cubes and strips). Salt and pepper meat to taste and leave for approximately 1 hour.
2. Once the meat has rested, take 1 table spoon of flour and coat the meat. I actually just put the flour into the same bowl where the meat was and using my hands coated the meat.
3. Take a large heavy-bottomed frying pan, add a splash of olive oil and when the pan is very hot, quickly fry the meat on both sides until just browned (you do not need to cook it through).
4. Take off the meat onto a plate and reserve to be used a bit later.
5. In the same heavy-bottomed frying pan melt 1 table spoon of butter and add 1 table spoon of flour. Mix well until the flour browns just slightly, scraping the bottom of the pan well.
6. Add stock, mustard and pepper to taste and bring to a boil. Boil for approximately 5 minutes letting the mixture infuse.
7. Add double cream and tomato purée and bring to boil once again.
8. In the meantime, in a separate pan fry the onion with a splash of olive oil until lightly brown and translucent.
9. Combine all the ingredients (including the meat and the onion) in the large pan with the liquid.
10. Bring everything back up to a boil and turn down the heat to very low and cover. The mixture should be bubbling slightly.
11. Let the stroganoff bubble away for 15-20 minutes. You can serve this with mash, rice or butter noodles. I promise you – the smell and the taste of this dish is like nothing you have ever tried before. Enjoy!