Beef Stroganoff – a Rich and Creamy Go-To Meal

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With a few ingredients, many of which you probably already have in your freezer (steak or hamburger), refrigerator (sour cream) or on the shelf (onions, noodles), you can whip up a delicious dinner in under an hour. This is good enough to serve to company, and easy enough to make it for your family as often as they like.

For company, it’s nice to use steak as the beef. You want a cut that cooks quickly and is still tender. I often have a frozen steak in the freezer, and it’s actually easier using one that is only a little thawed for slicing purposes.

My hubby and most guests appreciate mushrooms in the dish. My kids and I prefer it without. We usually compromise by frying up some mushrooms in butter and having them as a side dish for those who want to add them.

Ingredients:

Beef – optimally use a frozen steak, but hamburger works too. 1 lb should be enough for 4 – 6 servings
Onion – one large
Mushrooms – optional
Beef Stock (preferred) 1 – 1.5 Cups or Beef Bouillon (3-4 cubes)
Worchestershire Sauce – to taste
Herbs: Thyme, Marjoram, Celery Seed, Bay Leaf – to taste
Salt (but not too much if you’re using bouillon)
Pepper (you can never have too much pepper!)
Red Wine (optional but suggested)
Sour Cream (at least 8 oz, more if you like)
Wide Egg Noodles – 2 oz per person (dry-weight)

If you’re using hamburger, just put it in the pan and break it up. If you are using steak, slice it very thinly against the grain. A pound of steak or so is plenty for four, and can stretch for six.

Slice the onion from tip to tip. Any way is fine, but this way the onion has a simlar shape to the noodles.

Fry the onion until it becomes translucent, there’s no need to brown it, but it won’t hurt anything if you do. Add the steak or hamburger to the sauteed onion. Add the herbs of your choice, salt, pepper and worchestershire sauce. You want to season this a bit more than you’d want if you weren’t adding sour cream later, which will mellow it out, to the point of flavorlessness if you don’t over-season a bit now. If you don’t use beef stock, use beef bouillon, at least 4 cubes, or a good handful of granules. Since bouillon is very salty, balance your use of salt if you use bouillon. Use about a cup or cup and a half of beef stock, or water (if using bouillon). Add a splash of red wine (don’t worry about using a good one, any burgundy will do, better is nice of course but with all these herbs and the sour cream, it is just a hint of flavor. Simmer for half an hour.

Whether or not you want the mushrooms in the final product, it’s best to saute them separately in butter and hold them to the side until you’re ready to put in the sour cream.

Once the liquid has evaporated somewhat, you can make the noodles. Boil water, add noodles, cook according to package directions. Noodles – it’s not rocket science.

When the noodles are almost done, add sour cream to the reduced liquid in the beef and onions. We like a LOT of sour cream – 8 to 16 ounces. If you’re watching your weight, cholesterol or just don’t like it that creamy, use anywhere from a couple of tablespoons to a cup. Add the mushrooms as you stir the sour cream into the dish.

Drain the noodles. You can add them to the pan with the stroganoff, if there’s room, or put the noodles in a large bowl and pour the stroganoff over it. Sprinkle some paprika or parsley over the top if you’re serving this to company.

If you have leftovers, they reheat in the microwave quite well. If they need liquid, a splash of milk is good.

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