Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Stroganoff Faceoff: Part I

If you asked my husband, out of all the
things I cook, beef stroganoff is his favorite. That's a pretty bold statement. It really does not get any better or more comforting than old-school beef stroganoff. What can go wrong with a meal that involves beef, mushrooms, onions, and noodles all covered with a thick, rich, sour cream gravy? Yes, please. I grew up on this beef stroganoff recipe from the original Helen Corbitt cookbook. It's also surprisingly easy and has become one of my "no recipe" meals because you can pretty much just throw everything together. (And I've made it so many times, it's memorized. Sad or awesome? You decide.)

The ONLY negative thing about beef stroganoff (as far as I can tell) is that it is not healthy in the least. It calls for almost a whole container of full fat sour cream. And DON'T you go trying to use low fat or fat free sour cream either. Been there... done that. It curdles. As Alton Brown would say, that is NOT good eats! You have to embrace the full fat sour cream and go for it. You won't ever, ever regret it.

A few months ago, I found a HEALTHY version of beef stroganoff in Cooking Light. I tore it out and placed it in the binder, but I secretly knew I that I would never make it. I goes against all I hold dear, and quite frankly, a healthy version seemed somehow offensive. However, I came across it again a few weeks ago, and I decided to hold a "stroganoff faceoff" - original version vs. healthy version. I'm going to give it a fighting chance. Who knows? I may be pleasantly surprised.

To start my little experiment, I made the original, ridiculously delicious version last night. My husband was a very, very happy man. Want to experiment with me? Make the original version for your family. Then next week, we'll make the healthy version. Sounds like a plan to me.

Beef Stroganoff (the original!)
From Helen Corbitt, 1957

Olive oil, salt, pepper
1 lb. sirloin steak
1 yellow onion, diced
1 large container of white mushrooms (or 2 small containers)
1 1/4 cups beef stock
3/4 container full fat sour cream (about 12 oz.)
2 heaping T. flour
1 t. nutmeg
Chopped parsley

Cut the sirloin into small, thin strips. Heat olive oil in large skillet over high heat. Add a pinch of salt & pepper. Quickly sear the steak and remove from pan. (Steak will not be cooked all the way through. This is OK because it will cook more later.)
Add sliced mushrooms and chopped onions to the pan. Saute until golden brown. Add a pinch of salt & pepper.
Return steak to pan and add 1 1/4 cups beef broth. Simmer on low for 10-20 minutes, depending on how much time you have.

In a small bowl, mix 12 oz. sour cream with 2 heaping tablespoons of flour, a generous dash of nutmeg (approx. 1 t.) and a generous pinch of Kosher salt. The nutmeg sounds weird, but it is a MUST HAVE. It gives the sauce the most amazing flavor. Don't leave it out.

Add sour cream mixture to skillet and stir to combine. Simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let gravy thicken for 5-10 minutes.
Serve on top of egg noodles (I love "No Yolks") with chopped parsley and a sprinkle of salt. Prepare to be IN LOVE with beef stroganoff. You won't believe that you were able to live without it.

Check back next week for Stroganoff Faceoff: Part II. I know you'll be on the edge of your seat in anticipation.



Liz said...

I actually am excited to hear the comparison!! And Helen Corbitt is the same lady who made up the famous "cheese soup" recipe for the tea room at the Driskill! YUM.

Wendy and Luke said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ms. Kilfoyle's 11th Grade English said...

Tried this recipe last night and it was delic! You were right about the nutmeg!

Anonymous said...

I sure thought that there was a pinch of caraway seed in this recipe.

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