Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Don't Hassle the 'Noff...

Dear Mrs. Freeman,

I recently served your recipe for Beef Stroganoff at a dinner party and was entirely pleased with the results (minus the smell that still permeates my kitchen!). Beef Stroganoff has special place in my heart as it was one of my mother's very favorite dishes to cook for our family. She grew up in a German household so I always assumed this was a German dish, and I was surprised to find out recently that this is a dish of Russian origin (I suppose I should have realized this from its name...), but I've also come to realize this was a widely popular dish amongst all Americans for a few decades. Clearly there are many variations on this dish, presumably from its diaspora, and I was amazed to find upwards of a dozen variations in this cookbook alone... which leads me to admit that I experimented with your recipe a bit. Many of the other Home Economics teachers recommended rubbing the meat with garlic before flouring and also suggested adding a dash of paprika - which in my opinion is never a bad idea. You were one of only a few that included green pepper in your dish, but I also never think more veggies are a bad idea, so I went ahead and added them (though I don't believe they are an ingredient in traditional Stroganoff). You suggested serving the dish over spaghetti, a Chinese omelet, or steamed rice. Do you have a favorite? I'm sure all of these would be delicious choices, but in tribute to my mother, I couldn't imagine serving Stroganoff over anything but buttered egg noodles. In addition, I recall my mother's Stroganoff having a dash of Dijon mustard, and I do believe this would add a nice kick to your recipe. You may want to consider experimenting with this addition in the future.

The Stroganoff was very well received by my guests and I truly appreciate you reminding me what a wonderful comfort food this could be on a cold winter's evening. I will never let myself forget Stroganoff in the future!

All the Very Best,

Sam L.

Beef Stroganoff
(Adapted from recipe by Hazel R. Freeman, West Valley H.S., Yakima, WA in Favorite Recipes of American Home Economics Teachers: MEATS Edition, Copyright 1962)

1 pound round steak (cut into strips)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
6 oz. canned chopped mushrooms (stems and bits)
1/2 cup green pepper
1 clove garlic
1 cup sour cream
1 can tomato soup
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp Tabasco

Rub meat strips with garlic.

Mix flour in large plastic bag with salt and pepper and then flour meat in the bag (shake until nicely coated).

Melt the butter in a large saucepan (or, unlike me, if you have a Le Creuset, use that) and brown the meat in that.

Add onions, mushrooms and crushed clove of garlic.

Combine the sour cream, tomato soup, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco and Paprika and pour over meat. Stir to blend and then stir in chopped green pepper.

Cover skillet and cook until steaming, then reduce heat and simmer covered for 30 to 40 minutes.

Serve over buttered egg noodles.

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