How To Make Beef Stroganoff

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That’s it, I’m not going to trust MREs any more. I’m sure you’ve heard of them, Meals Ready to Eat? The things you get in the military when you’re not near a chow hall or mess tent?

Well, the reason they’ve lost my trust is BE-101 Beef Stroganoff. I ate that plenty of times. As far as MREs go, it wasn’t too bad. It doesn’t come on that white plate or have some nondescript leaf stuck under it, like the picture in that link, but it was okay.

The problem is, I thought that was what beef stroganoff was supposed to taste like. I never had it growing up, so I didn’t know any better. But then Kim requested it, so I made it.

Ho. Lee. Cow. This stuff is good!

And simple.

And did I mention good?

Ingredients


1½ lbs beef tenderloin, cut in strips
1 large yellow onion
¼ cup (½ stick) butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup beef broth
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard (I used coarse grind just because it would look better)
1/3 cup sour cream
salt and pepper

Directions

Don’t worry too much about exact amounts on this. You’ll probably want to measure the first time, just so you get it close. But this is one of those recipes you’ll be able to throw together and tweak the taste as you go.

I was planning to start this by showing how to cut up the tenderloin, but they didn’t have any when I went to the meat market. Oops. So I was just about to get a beef round roast and use that instead. As the butcher was starting to wrap it up, I casually mentioned, “That’ll probably work just fine for stroganoff.”

He looked at me and said, “Stroganoff? You don’t want round. That’s got to cook longer. It would be tough in a stroganoff.” See, that’s why you go to a butcher instead of the grocery store. Had I just picked a pre-packaged hunk of meat myself I’d be writing about how disappointing this recipe was.

So I asked Larry — that’s the butcher, in case you weren’t keeping up — what he would recommend. “How about some sirloin?” Okay, you’re the meat guy, lemme have it. While I went to get the lunch meat at the other end of the counter, Larry went in back for my sirloin. When he brought it out, it was already sliced in strips like you see in the picture above.

My first instinct was to say, “No no no … I need it uncut so I can show that on my blog!” But then I realized, this is also why you go to the butcher. I told him what I was making, asked what cut to use, and he prepped it for me without being asked. Awesome. You rock, Larry.

Prep

So, now that I’m done raving about Larry … I still had to prep the onions. Trim the core out and peel the outer layer.

Then slice into thin rings. Not shave, go about 1/4 inch.

Spread the meat out in a single layer. Use a dish with a lip, not just a flat cutting board like I almost did. You’ll see why later.

Season with salt and pepper. Or, if you think everything goes better with garlic, use some of that home-made garlic salt you made to take to the island on vacation but left behind.

Then cover with a layer of onions.

If you got a bit more beef than you planned on, like I did, or your plate is too small, do a second layer just like the first.

Cover loosely with plastic wrap or wax paper and set aside for at least an hour. This gives it time to marinate, and to come up to room temperature.

While you’re setting things out, measure out the sour cream and set it out with the beef. You’ll want that at room temperature before you add it at the end.

Making the Sauce

After the meat has been resting for about a half-hour, get started on the sauce. In a large pot or dutch oven, melt two tablespoons of butter over medium heat, then stir in two tablespoons of flour.

Add the beef broth and stir well.

Simmer the sauce over low heat while you cook the beef.

Browning the Beef

In a large frying pan, melt the remaining two tablespoons of butter over high heat. As soon as it is mostly melted, but before it starts to turn brown, add the beef.

All that juice running out of the plate is why I said up above to use something with a lip. If I had used my flat cutting board that would have leaked all over the counter.

Once you get the beef in the frying pan, you’re going to be pretty busy for about 10 minutes. So don’t get distracted by things like refereeing the kids’ game of Super Mario Kart, yelling at the dog to stop barking, or taking pictures of what you’re cooking.

Yup, sorry, I just got “before” and “after” shots of the beef, but no “during”. Turn the beef several times to make sure everything gets browned all over. The onion will probably give up a lot of juice. If you try to simmer it down, the beef will get chewy. Just pour out the extra liquid.

While you’re doing that, keep stirring the sauce every minute or so, so it doesn’t burn. I said you’d be busy, didn’t I?

Final Assembly

Once the sauce is thickened and starts bubbling, add the mustard, stir, and remove from heat.

The beef should be done at about the same time as the sauce. Put the beef, but not the onions, in the sauce.

The onions you have left make a great side dish. Add a bunch of salt and pepper and keep stirring over low heat to caramelize them.

Simmer the beef in the sauce over low heat for 5-10 minutes. Then stir in the sour cream, at room temperature, and stir well.

Spoon it out over fresh egg noodles.

And that’s it.


Because she requested it, and I made it, Kim is getting an eBook version of my cookbook. If there’s something you’d like to see, email me a suggestion. If I make it, you’ll get a copy as soon as I post it.

PS: I almost forgot to share a great story about shopping for the ingredients.

Beef Stroganoff

Beef Stroganoff

Ingredients

  • 1½ lbs beef tenderloin, cut in strips
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • ¼ cup (½ stick) butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

Slice the onions and beef and arrange in layers on a plate.

In a large pot or dutch oven, melt two tablespoons of butter over medium heat, then stir in two tablespoons of flour. Add the beef broth and stir well. Simmer over low heat.

Fry the beef and onions in butter in a frying pan. Add browned beef (but not onions) and mustard to the sauce. Simmer for 5-10 minutes.

Stir in sour cream and serve over egg noodles.

Comments

  1. One quick thought: When you’re in the field and you’ve just taken off a 40lb pack and your fingers are fumbling because it’s so cold and you haven’t eaten all day… MREs hit the spot! :)

    (But you’re right…THIS is the stuff we dream about when we eat them)

  2. I would like to eat this now, please. Beef and sour cream–two of my favorite things.

  3. Meadowlark, I wouldn’t know about the extreme cold. I was in the Carolinas and then in the Mojave, so if I had problems opening the packs it was because of sweat making the plastic slippery. I can believe these would be better on a cold day, but we usually didn’t even heat them up.

    Kristin, I wasn’t so sure about that. Sour cream in gravy just didn’t sound right. But I’m a believer.

  4. Since my dad was in the military, we always had boxes of MREs out in the garage. I remember my siblings and I sneaking into them and eating them for snacks. I don’t think I ever had a stroganoff, but I know what you mean – MREs usually don’t come close to the real thing. But there’s something about them that makes them really fun to eat!

    This stroganoff looks so good! I grew up on a version of stroganoff that included ground beef and cream of mushroom soup. This looks about two steps above that!

  5. I’m really hoping you used your outstanding homemade noodles to go with your beef stroganoff – which looks equally outstanding.

    Also, I loved stealing the Mint-Chocolate Pound Cake’s out of my best friend’s (Marine) and Husband’s (Army) MREs. Granted they were so dry it took a quart of milk to get them down, but they were seriously delicious.

    Then we’d make MRE bombs out of the heater packages…

  6. MidniteSiren says:

    Great recipe! Much like the one I grew up on. Only difference is I add mushrooms to mine and use beef stock. I found a great ‘ready made’ stock as I don’t have much time to make stock these days.

    http://www.kitchenbasics.net/

    Carla :)

  7. Stephanie, “fun to eat”? Maybe. That’s not the same as “tasted good”. Not by a long shot.

    Sweet bird, yup, made the fresh noodles just for this. Oh, the mint-chocolate pound cake? Nasty. And don’t get me started on the heat tabs. And what happens when you crush them (carefully!) and mix them with the sauce from the meatballs in barbecue sauce.

    Siren, I plan on doing some stock this fall. I’ve got some rib bones in the freezer, and will keep the ones from the standing rib I’m going to do. Should be able to get some stock from that. Mushrooms seem like they would be a filler in this dish. Like beans in chili.

  8. Whoa! This is too weird! I check your site every day, and this morning I thought… I wonder if he will ever make that beef stroganoff I requested.

    That looks sooo good. Thanks you for making it, I’ll try it this weekend.

    How do I get the copy of your cookbook? Luck me!

    Kim in AK

  9. I’ve been making beef stroganoff non-stop lately! My husband loves it and the recipe I use is pretty easy AND tasty! Everybody wins!

  10. Carrie, how close is your recipe to this one? I’m interested in variations. (Please don’t say canned cream-of-something soup.)

  11. This looks so good and we’re getting to the time of year where this heartier comfort food is in order. Definitely a recipe I will try in the coming months.

    Arika

  12. Arika, we were in that time of year … for about three days, then it got hot again. We just turned the air conditioner back on again. And it’s supposed to be in the low 60s again by Monday.

    Yay, Cleveland.

  13. It looked so delicious!

    And tonight, we’ll know if it is!

    I’m going to be making this along with some glazed carrots (Mm, carrot goodness)

    I’ll let you know how it turned out!

  14. Reenie, glazed carrots sound great with this. Good combination.

  15. And it was! It left my boyfriend, and my friend, speechless. They loved this recipe! And I adored the carrots, although I should’ve stopped my friend from adding the water. She added too much, so they weren’t as syrupy as I would’ve liked them.

    But, it was all very very good!

  16. Reenie, look on the bright side. Next time you do them you can tell yourself, “Hers were good, mine are better.” If you’re that kind of person that is. Not that I’m encouraging it …

  17. Well, I just came across this receipe, and can I just say WOW! I loved every minute of it, it was fun an delicious, had it with the onions and then some glazed carrots. You know your food! Thank you!
    Frank from Texas

  18. Frank, this seems like such a cold-weather meal to me. I'm surprised someone in Texas would be making it already.

    But hey, glad you liked it. Hmm … time to start thinking about making noodles again.

  19. Drew if this stroganoff was any better when I finished it I'd still be married. She left me for the beef it was so good. Took the house, car, dog and to add insult to injury she grabbed the leftovers too. Great recipe i'll have to hide it from the next wife.

  20. Umm, you're welcome?

  21. I actually don’t think you really have much idea what you’re talking about + your recipes very elementary and not close to authentic. Sad.

  22. Cate, it’s always good to hear from a fan. Thanks for the useful feedback.

  23. hey drew, your recipe looks really tasty and pretty simple, plus it will be great for my husband who is a very picky eater..nothing green!! it’s sad, really. anyway, that last photo looked like maybe there was some red pepper flakes in it? or was that just the browned bits?

  24. Nope, no red pepper. That’s either black pepper, or grains from the mustard.

  25. Made this tonight, and everyone in the family loved it even my 3 yr old had a 2nd helping!!! and believe me that is a MIRACLE! Ive only had stroganoff out of a “hamburger helper” box…and well it was nasty so i swore it off…thank you for changing my mind!

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  1. […] written about Larry, my local butcher, lots of times. Like the time I was making beef stroganoff: Larry cut the meat for me before bringing it out, and I almost asked for a different cut so I […]

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