This is the birthday meal I requested for the first 30 years of my life. This, and Rosie Beaucoup’s Mountain of Meringues. Oh, and lately, a Superstore white cake. I love grocery store cake with its thick, sugary icing.
I’d like to tell you this is the best and most authentic beef stroganoff recipe ever, but to be honest, I haven’t ever tried another. I cannot bear the thought of trying something new and then being horribly disappointed. Once, at The Hungry Hungarian restaurant here in Halifax (circa 1991-92), I didn’t order my usual pierogies. I ordered something else. A goulash or something. It was a huge mistake, and I’ve regretted it ever since. (Come to think of it, the restaurant closed shortly after that incident. Maybe the pierogies were the only good thing on the menu.)
Strips of beef swimming in a creamy sauce with just the right amount of tang. Lots of sour cream, mushrooms and onions. All sitting on top of a bed of egg noodles – the best way to portage the meat and sauce to your belly. When my brother makes this recipe, he uses dijon mustard instead of mustard powder. But that’s because he lives in France, and they’re all fancy like. The recipe below is the birthday recipe – the un-fancy version. Just the way I make it.
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recipe: adapted only slightly from a recipe handed down to me by Rosie Beaucoup, original source unknown, and perhaps lost at sea
- 1.5 lb of lean beef round or fillet of beef, sliced into two inch strips
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 3 tablespoons butter or margarine
- 1/2 lb fresh mushrooms, sliced (I use a 16 ounce pkg)
- 2 medium onions, sliced or diced into medium sized pieces
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups beef bouillon, broth or stock (I use sodium-reduced broth)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard (mustard powder)
- 3 tablespoons sherry
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 package wide egg noodles
Season the beef strips with salt and pepper and let stand (in refrigerator) as you prepare the other ingredients – let stand for up to two hours.
Melt two tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat in a large, heavy skillet. Sauté the mushrooms until tender (5-10 minutes), then remove and set aside. In the same skillet, sauté the onions until soft and slightly browned (about 5 minutes), then remove and set aside (throw ‘em in with the mushrooms). Next, melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in the skillet and then brown the meat on all sides, but don’t cook it all the way through. Remove the meat with tongs, leaving any drippings in the skillet, and set aside (I throw the beef on top of the awaiting mushrooms and onions).
Whisk the flour into the drippings remaining in the skillet. Gradually add the beef broth, stirring/whisking constantly, until smooth and slightly thickened. Whisk in the tomato paste, dry mustard and sherry, and blend thoroughly, making sure no lumps of anything remain.
Add the mushrooms, onions, meat and any accumulated drippings back into the skillet and cook over low heat for 20 minutes. (This is a good time to cook your egg noodles.) Blend in the sour cream about 5 minutes before serving and heat through.
Serve over egg noodles.