Seperis (seperis) wrote,

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recipes: beef stroganoff

I'm sure there's a true canonical version, so we can assume this is not that. This is a variation of Helen Corbitt's Beef Stroganoff, and if you can find The Helen Corbitt Cookbook (I think that's the title), I recommend it highly for being bar none the best cupboard cookbook in history for recipes that for the most part you will have all the ingredients on hand and with easy instructions. The woman worked the Neiman Marcus Zodiac room and still wrote how to eat like a normal person. Two thirds of my base recipe list come from her and I have this book in hardback that I got from my grandmother because if the end of the world comes and I have no internet, I still want to eat well.

This variation simplifies the creation of the sour cream sauce.

Beef Stroganoff

3 lbs round steak
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup white onion, sliced
2 cans mushrooms
1 tablespoon salt
1 cup beef stock
1 pkg egg noodles

For Sour Cream Sauce
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk or 1 cup broth
2 cups sour cream

Make pasta according to directions on package.
Cut meat into 1 inch long and 1/4 inch wide strips.
Saute onions and mushrooms until soft.
Add meat and continue to cook for 10 minutes or until lightly brown.
Add beef stock and cook for 30 minutes.
Add Sour Cream sauce until mixed and thickened.

For Sour Cream Sauce
Melt butter in sauce pan.
Add flour and salt and stir until thickened.
Slowly add milk or broth and stir until thick and smooth.
Add sour cream and stir until mixed and heated through

This is the major problem I came up against when making this and apparently other people did too; the goddamn sour cream added directly won't always thicken. So: apply cream sauce. You can use any oil/flour in equal measure combination including part of the beef drippings from the meat and some of the broth for the liquid. You can also use cornstarch, but in this case, I use cream sauce because the recipe requires lots of sauce so why not.

People fear cream sauce aka "gravy"; don't. Like cornstarch as thickener, cream sauce is universal; you can make and use it for any base where you need a sauce. Technically speaking, you can use plain flour only for thickening--and I have--but I say this as a Texas Southerner; if you're having problems thickening but for reasons don't have or don't like cornstarch, cream sauce will do the same damn thing.

Here is the secret of all cream sauces and gravy;

1.) equalize your oil and flour and get them hot*. If it's bubbling, you hit paydirt. You can start adding liquids before this, but the bubble test is great when you're not sure.
2.) make sure your liquid is near room temperature or warmer. DO NOT take milk or broth out of the fridge, that horrifying pudding-esque lumps.
3.) stir like the gods will strike you down if you don't and add liquid in quarter cups or half cups while stirring and watching the thickness. When adding extra liquid, do it in quarter and stir.

* if you err, go with more flour than oil but keep them as close to equal as possible.

This is just chemistry, not magic though fuck knows it feels like it. My base unit of measurement for cream sauce is four tablespoons of flour and four tablespoons of oil/butter as that one seems to make the best mix, but honestly, equalize, equalize, equalize. Amounts and temperatures.

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Tags: food, food: recipes
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