Beef Stroganoff- the tame Russian

I just realised that I have not been keeping up with the initial plan of a recipe a week and that there are quite a few recipes that were promised before I absconded. Well, the last two weeks have been rather crammed with all the wedding prep. There have been days when I even considered moving in with the tailor.

Okay, let’s not venture into the wedding stories. Today, I share with you the recipe to one of my all time favourites- Beef Stroganoff. This is the kind of dish you’d crave for on a cold, rainy day. As  they say, food is supposed to bring back memories; of childhood, of love lost and found, of people, of places, of insignificant evenings at your granny’s knee listening to her ramblings of her childhood, of simpler times. Food is something that should appeal to all your senses. In other words it should bring unadulterated happiness. It is meant to fill your soul and not just your tummy. A line that really pulled at the chords of my heart was one from a popular Malayalam movie, Ustaad Hotel. The line roughly translates to mean this: “It is not difficult to fill stomachs; the real deal is to be able to fill souls.” So beautifully captured.

This dish is one that I have dreamt of as a child, which was long before I actually had a chance to taste this originally Russian goddess. I still have etched in my compartment for the fondest of memories, a (then) Czechoslovakian folk tale that my dad read to me when I was about 6 or 7; the Nail Soup. The story was about this little soup a poor couple made out of a nail (yeah :-|) and all the ingredients they could get their hands on. Crisp carrots, broccoli, corn, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, juicy meat.. you name it, the soup had it. In my head, the soup that they made tasted a lot like our dish today. 😀 And yes, I inherit the passion and love for food and all things meat, specifically red meat, from my dad. Haha

I have lost count of the number of places I have tried the Stroganoff at. I am one of the biggest fans of of red meat and after Venison, Beef would certainly be my pick; to cook and to eat. Out of the few Stroganoffs my taste buds shortlisted, as odd as it may sound, I would gladly pick the Stroganoff served at Plan-B on Residency Road in Bangalore. This endearing little place has always welcomed me with open arms and hands holding mugs of chilled draught beer. Being the carnivore that I am, the food at Plan-B has invariably left me impressed and my tummy satiated. So well, the point being, my aim when I made this recipe was to mimic that beautiful buttery flavour that I got from the Stroganoff served at Plan-B. So try this out, and see for yourself.

Things you will need:

  • Beef (chopped into small pieces)- 1 kg
  • Onions (medium sized)- 2
  • Mushrooms- 100 gms or more if you prefer
  • Green chilly (strictly optional)- 2 slit vertically
  • Bell peppers- 3 (I used red, yellow and green for visual effects :P)
  • Pepper- ¾ tablespoon
  • All purpose flour- 1 ½ tablespoons
  • Butter (salted)- to sauté
  • Salt- to taste

 

How to go about it:

Step 1: The first step would be to pressure cook the beef with salt, the pepper and the green chillies. Make sure you add about 1/3 a glass of water to it, so that we get enough broth. Beef has quite a bit of water content so, you do not need to add more water than this. Allow the pressure cooker to make at least 4 to 5 whistles.

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Step 2: After that is done, the next step would be to to separate the beef pieces from the broth. You could use a strainer for this. Keep the stalk aside.

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Step 3: Sauté the beef pieces in butter till they are nice and brown. Post which, you would want to sauté the onions, the mushrooms and the bell peppers (all separately) again, in butter. I suggest you use salted butter for this. The vegetables don’t need to be overcooked, so you’ll need to sauté them for a maximum of 2 to 3 minutes each. All you need to ensure is that they catch the lovely, warm, buttery flavour.

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Step 4: Add the beef broth to all the vegetables in a wok and stir.

Step 5: As the vegetables in the broth are heating up, add the all purpose flour and mix thoroughly to ensure there are no lumps formed. The mixture will start to look nice and thick and creamy.

Step 6: Add the browned pieces of beef to the wok, mix thoroughly and keep the wok closed and on low heat for about 20 minutes.

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Your Beef Stroganoff, (my way :P) is now ready. I have read and have also been told that some people tend to use sour cream to their Stroganoffs. Maybe I’ll give that a shot but that is for another day. I served it on a bed of hot white rice and we loved it! It goes beautifully well with soft, warm bread too. Try it out and as always, do let me know. You have no idea how happy your feedback makes me, not to mention the encouragement.

Cheers peeps! 🙂

 

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