Beef stroganoff is a popular dish of Russian cuisine, made from chopped beef slices topped with spicy cream sauce. Beef stroganoff recipe was first created by a French chef who cooked for Count Stroganov. A delicate culinary masterpiece was quickly appreciated and more than once served at the count’s table. Nowadays, this dish is still popular for the ease of preparation and consistently delicious result. It is easy to find beef stroganoff in restaurants, not only in Russia but also around the world. However, some people still believe that home-made dishes are better. So, let’s talk about 5 rules to cook the right beef stroganoff at home so that the juicy meat melts in the mouth, as it was originally intended.
1. Prepare the meat
For beef stroganoff, tenderloin part is the most suitable one, in extreme cases, you can take a thick edge, rumps or kidney part. The brisket, shoulder blade, neck, thighs and rump are categorically not suitable for this dish. There is no need to beat the tenderloin, while other types of meat can be slightly beaten off, after which it should be cut into pieces – 2-3 cm wide across the fibers. At this stage of cooking, the opinions of cooks differ. Some people think that meat needs to be cut large, because the larger the pieces, the meat is juicier. Other culinary specialists prefer small strips so that the meat noodles are well cooked – this is the classic beef stroganoff technique that was done in the Soviet era.
2. Flour for frying
Pieces of meat are sprinkled with salt, pepper and flour, and then thoroughly mixed. You can just roll the meat in flour on a cutting board. If you are preparing a festive version of the dish, try to complicate the breading process a little – dry the meat with a towel, put it in a plastic bag, pour a couple of tablespoons of flour and a pinch of salt, and then mix with rubbing movements. Next, experienced chefs would transfer the pieces of beef to a colander and shake gently to remove excess flour. There are different opinions when it is better to salt and pepper meat – you can do it at the breading stage, or you can do it during the frying process – it’s easy to experimentally establish which cooking method will take root in your kitchen. After all, every mistress has the right to her secrets!
3. Fry by the rules
There are several subtleties of frying meat in a Stroganov style. A frying pan with melted butter or vegetable oil should be well heated. Put the pieces of meat in a pan and fry them on both sides until brown. Some chefs fry beef stroganoff along with chopped onion rings, while others fry the onion separately. The most important thing is that the meat does not give juice – the surface of the pieces should look as if coated with varnish. All the juice remains inside, which makes beef stroganoff very tender and juicy. If the meat is stewed in its own juice, it will turn out to be dry and harsh. When the meat is cooked, you can add the grated tomatoes – with the skin removed – into the pan – after that the beef stroganoff is immediately transferred to the saucepan and mixed with the sauce.
4. Sauce is everything!
Beef stroganoff sauce is the culmination of cooking the dish. A bad sauce can spoil the taste of meat, and a good one will save the dish, even if the beef is rather dry. Usually, sour cream mixed with tomato paste for gravy is the easiest option. There is a more complicated recipe: broth and milk are introduced into the flour fried in butter, then sour cream with mustard is added, the meat is poured with sauce, brought to a boil and cooked for several minutes.
Different beef stroganoff meat recipes offer various sauces – with cream, mayonnaise, garlic, thyme, soy sauce or teriyaki, with mushrooms, onions, fortified wine and beef jelly. Beef stroganoff is usually served with potatoes, rice, pasta, fresh vegetables, salads and tomatoes. Experiment with different sauces and side dishes to diversify your family diet, although classic beef stroganoff, prepared according to the strict canons of Russian-French cuisine, is rarely boring.
5. How to cook the beef stroganoff
- Five hundred grams of meat (tenderloin) is washed, cleaned of tendons, cut into small slices, beaten with a rolling pin, and then finely chopped into strips.
- Peeled and washed onions – 2 medium heads – shred and fried in oil. When the onion is fried, add the chopped meat, sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, and fry for 5-6 minutes, stirring with a fork.
- Sprinkle the meat with 1 tbsp of flour, stir and fry again for 2-3 minutes. After that, add 1 cup of sour cream, stir and boil for 2-3 minutes, season with salt to taste and simmer for 10-12 minutes on low heat.
You can serve beef stroganoff with mashed potatoes or pasta. In addition, buckwheat porridge or rice can also make excellent side dishes.
The beef in the beef stroganoff can be replaced with pork, chicken and turkey, but it is better not to use lamb for these purposes because the meat is too fatty. A properly prepared dish always turns out to be soft and melting in the mouth, so children eat it with pleasure. The 5 basic rules of cooking home-made beef stroganoff will help you to cook it the right way. Delight those close to you with classic beef stroganoff with spicy sauce, and they will surely require you to prepare some more!