Wednesday, November 23

Beef Stroganoff

It's very retro, no denying, but its also steak and onions with sour cream and mushrooms! Whats not to like? This dish relies on good quality paprika. A dusty, two year old packet from the back of the store cupboard is only good for the bin. Find a good deli and buy the best quality Hungarian paprika. Also check the packet dates and buy the freshest one.  Being a poor chef, I used rump steak for this dish rather than the more traditional (and pricey) fillet. It worked really well and I think this was down to the fact that the steak had been aged for 35 days. Bear this in mind when you buy your meat - supermarket rump will not be so tender!

If you are supporting Movember ( try not to get paprika sauce in your 'tache. Serves two generously:

250g steak - fillet, sirloin or rump, well trimmed, cut into finger sized pieces
1 large onion - peeled and finely sliced
1 fat clove of garlic - finely minced
1 red pepper - deseeded and finely sliced
150ml sour cream
250g chestnut mushrooms - sliced
Butter - 50g
Veg oil - 1tbsp
1 heaped tbsp quality hungarian paprika
1 heaped tsp smoked paprika
Beef stock - 100ml
salt and freshly crushed black pepper
Squeeze of lemon

Fry the mushrooms over a medium high heat in the butter with a little seasoning until they are brown at the edges. Remove from the pan and set aside. Turn down the heat and in the same pan gently fry the onions, garlic and peppers for 15 mins until very soft and only just golden - give them a little stir every so often.  

At this point I put a pan of water on to boil for my rice (its a retro dish, it has to be served with basmati). When the rice was cooked, I ran some more fried mushrooms and some buttered wilted spinach through my rice to give it extra interest and some green on the plate. You can serve it with what you like: buttery mash, jacket potato, fried polenta - it works with most bland starches.

Back to the stroganoff. Heat your now vacated onion pan over a high heat, add a little veg oil and stir fry your steak. You can cook the steak to your liking, but I would suggest you fry the beef to 'rare' and then cook longer in the sauce if you prefer a more well done state. Get the pan very hot and toss in the beef and stir fry for 2 mins shaking and stiring as you go. For the last minute of cooking, toss in the paprikas and a generous seasoning of salt and pepper. After the 2 mins deglaze the pan with the beef stock and in with the cream, onions, peppers and mushrooms. Mix well, bubble for 30 secs and taste. Correct the seasoning if necessary, add a squeeze of lemon if you think it needs it and the dish is done. Feel free to cut a bit of beef open to check it is cooked how you like it. If you have followed the recipe it should be 'pink' in the middle.

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