As I sit here at my desk, sunshine is pouring through the window and warming my back. It feels lovely after getting up especially early this morning – it was so cold and dark. We’re having a pretty mild winter here in the Willamette Valley (sorry my midwest and east coast people), but let’s not kid ourselves, its still winter and the nights are still chilly and long!
Rob just got back from a three-week sales trip on the east coast (Speaking of snow and cold, he visited Vermont, Maine, New York and New Hampshire. In January! Just another glamorous side of the wine business!). To celebrate his homecoming and warm us up from the inside out, I decided that some classic winter comfort food was in order. A recipe for Craig Claiborne’s Beef Stroganoff was included in The New York Times Cooking email the other day, and it caught my eye.
Good old Beef Stroganoff – doesn’t that sound perfect? When I was growing up Beef Stroganoff was one of my Mom’s go-to party dishes. And with good reason – it’s delicious and rich, so it definitely feels special, can be scaled up or down depending on the size of your group, needs only some buttered noodles and a simple green salad to go alongside, and (since this was the 70’s) it seemed intriguingly exotic.
While we had the Stroganoff to celebrate Rob’s homecoming, you might consider it for your Valentine’s Day dinner. Now there’s an idea – nothing says romance like creamy beef tenderloin and buttered noodles! Coincidentally, Rob and I thought our Love, Oregon Pinot Noir was a terrific match.
I tossed a quick salad to serve with this. Just some mixed greens and my usual vinaigrette. Then at the last minute, I decided to add some orange slices, for an even more refreshing contrast to the rich entree.
Make this and it will undoubtedly warm your winter soul.
Classic Beef Stroganoff
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- kosher salt
- freshly ground pepper
- 2 pounds beef tenderloin trimmed of any fat and cut into pieces about 1/4" x 2" (see headnote for alternate cuts of meat)
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 3 -4 garlic cloves chopped
- 1 pound mushrooms sliced (use whatever variety you like, I usually choose cremini)
- 2 cups beef or chicken stock
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- finely chopped parsley for garnish
- Spread the pieces of beef out on a work surface, season them well on both sides with salt and pepper, and then sprinkle the flour over them. Again on both sides.
- In a large, deep skillet or a dutch oven, melt 1/4 cup of the butter over medium heat. Working in batches, brown the meat fairly quickly, but don't leave it too long. Just about 1 to 2 minutes per side. Remove the meat from the pan and set it aside.
- Add the onion and garlic to the pan and saute until the onion is translucent. Add the mushrooms and the other 1/4 cup of butter and saute for about 5 - 8 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine the sour cream, paprika, tomato paste and Worcestshire sauce in a bowl. Set aside.
- Add the stock to the pan and bring to a boil, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan.
- Add the meat, including any juice that has collected, back to the pan. Cook, stirring often, until the meat is tender but be careful not to overcook it, 3 -5 minutes.
- Spoon out about 1 cup of the sauce from the beef mixture and add it to the bowl with the sour cream mix in it. Stir to incorporate. Now transfer all of the sour cream mixture to the pan and stir to incorporate. Once you've added the cream, don't allow the mixture to boil or the cream will curdle. When all is heated through, taste and adjust seasoning as you like.
- Serve the stroganoff on a bed of buttered noodles.
- Sprinke with parsley to garnish.