Beef Stroganoff recipe and a little food history (2024)

Beef Stroganoff recipe and a little food history

22/8/2017

40 Comments

Beef Stroganoff recipe and a little food history (1)

In the 1970s, it was dinner-party derigueur to serve small plates of beef stroganoff atop tiny shell noodles. Guests could eat the dish while standing; as they mingled and discussed the state of play on topics such as Gough Whitlam's leadership, the $1.3 million spent on Jackson Pollock's squiggly artwork known as Blue Poles, the aftermath of Darwin's Cyclone Tracey, and the inaugural Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras held in Sydney as part of International Gay Solidarity Day.

As the hostess faffed about in the kitchen preparing a platter of smoked oysters on Jatz crackers, her husband, the host, might be opening a cask of Ben Ean moselle; or perhaps a bottle of Blue Nun or Cold Duck [yes, by all means, feel free to shudder].

Fast forward a few decades, lifestyles have changed and our palates have come of age. But good things will rarely go out of fashion. Indeed, they become classics. Beef stroganoff, or stroganov, is among them.

According toLarousse Gastronomique, stroganov is "a preparation of thinly sliced beef coated with a cream-based sauce and garnished with onions and mushrooms." The dishoriginated in Russia andmay have been created by a French chef who worked for the rich and powerfulStroganov family. The first known recipe is said to have appeared in A Gift to Young Housewives,a Russian cookbook by Elena Molokhovets

,published in 1871. Although her version was prepared with mustard, beef broth and just a little sour cream; later recipes include onions, mushrooms, paprika, nutmeg, cognac and tomato paste.

Modern versions suggest low-fat substitutions for the sour cream, such as yoghurt or light evaporated milk mixed with cornflour. Some recipes go so far as to include Worcestershire sauce (!) and beef stock cubes. My preference is for the old-fashioned, slightly retro method given by the late Tess Mallos in her 1976Meat Cookbook. I have adapted it over the years to suit my own taste.

BEEF STROGANOFF
500g beef or veal fillet steak
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 large brown onion, thinly sliced
1 small clove garlic, finely chopped
250g Swiss brown or button mushrooms, sliced
a pinch of nutmeg
1 teaspoon Noble Sweet Hungarian paprika
sea salt and black pepper, to season
1 cup sour cream
cooked shell noodles, fettuccini or rice, to serve

Trim any gristle or sinew from the meat and cut it into strips. Melt two tablespoons of the butter in a heavy-based frypan andsauté the onion until soft. Lower the heat slightly, add the garlic and mushrooms and cook for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Using a serving spoon, transfer the onions, garlic and mushrooms to a bowl and set aside.

Now add the remaining butter to the frypan and quickly brown the beef strips all over. Do this in batches, otherwise the meat will stew and turn grey. Remove the pan from the heat briefly and spoon the onions, garlic and mushrooms back into to the pan. Stir in the paprika. Season to taste with salt, pepper and a little grated nutmeg. Pour in the sour cream and heat through very briefly, taking care not to allow it to boil. Serve immediately over cooked noodles or rice. This quantity will serve four.

Beef Stroganoff recipe and a little food history (2)

Image source at top of page: Unsplash (beef stroganoff does not photograph particularly well). See my Instagram feed if you'd like to see the finished dish, photographed at dinnertime last evening).

Your turn now, dear readers. Do you agree that beef stroganoff is a good thing? What are your memories from the 1970s (if you were born before then)? What other dishes are on your list of culinary classics?

40 Comments

21/8/2017 11:24:03 pm

I actually really like beef stroganoff - sans mushrooms. :-) Another classic I like is tomato aspic. :-)

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Lizzy

22/8/2017 01:30:01 am

Hi Krista, it's a favourite of mine as well. Tomato aspic, yummy! I used to love fish in aspic as a child, but cannot see it anywhere anymore. : (

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Peter

22/8/2017 01:30:21 am

Love it. Don't ever stop making it please.

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Lizzy

25/8/2017 07:17:16 pm

Trust me, my love, I won't ever stop making it. xx

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Simone Mason

22/8/2017 01:30:49 am

Saw this on facebook Lizzie. My nan used to make beef strog all the time. So good.

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Lizzy

25/8/2017 07:17:32 pm

Isn't it, xx

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22/8/2017 03:41:58 am

Ooooh I love this dish and I might try making it in a pressure cooker one day!

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Lizzy

22/8/2017 05:17:38 am

Hi Rose... this dish is more suited to very quick cooking... not quite sure it would suit a pressure cooker. Thanks for stopping by.

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22/8/2017 05:43:31 am

This bought back some childhood memories. Smoked oysters on jatz 😅I wasn't a fan of those but I love beef strog 😊.

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Lizzy

25/8/2017 07:18:00 pm

I confess, Sharon, I did like smoked oysters on jatz!

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22/8/2017 06:14:51 am

I love it! Especially in this cold weather! Such a great comfort meal.

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Lizzy

25/8/2017 07:18:16 pm

And so easy to make!

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22/8/2017 10:06:47 am

Beef stroganoff is a family favorite and good anytime! I've seen the mustard version recipe floating around somewhere -- I haven't tried it, but have stuck to a more basic sauce like yours.

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Lizzy

25/8/2017 07:19:04 pm

I've not tried the mustard version either, Judy, not sure I'd like it, and I know my Peter wouldn't either.

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22/8/2017 05:52:36 pm

Beef Stroganoff is good stuff! I haven't made it for ages, and have had it on my to-do list for the blog for at least 2 years -- just haven't gotten around to it. So I'm loving your post! Good inspiration for me -- thanks.

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Lizzy

25/8/2017 07:19:21 pm

My pleasure!

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22/8/2017 06:06:08 pm

I felt quite nostalgic reading your intro. Smoked oysters and cream cheese on a jatz has evolved to now sit atop a lavash cracker, but still remains a favourite. And once or twice a year a good old beef stroganoff is still cooked up following a similar recipe to yours - mine has a tbsp of tomato paste in it, which warms up the grey look. Hubby is ecstatic when served a big bowl of it topping fetticune noodles. In the 'olden days' we likely would have served a Black Forest cake for the finale.

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Lizzy

25/8/2017 07:19:55 pm

Ah yes, black forest cake. Yummy!

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22/8/2017 06:40:34 pm

Stuart and I love beef stroganoff and I've struggled to find a Migraine-friendly version. Besides, I think it's one of those dishes that you have to learn by standing in the kitchen watching while your favourite version is prepared. I'll be giving this a try very soon. Bravo!

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Lizzy

25/8/2017 07:21:15 pm

Hi Adele, I guess with the salycilates in mushrooms, you might not be able to find a headache-free stroganoff recipe, unless you leave out the mushies.

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22/8/2017 07:06:48 pm

My food memories from the 70's are pretty grim - watery Irish stew and overcooked lambs fry at home, bland lentil dishes in share houses. Beef stroganoff would have been very welcome!

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Lizzy

25/8/2017 07:21:38 pm

Oh no, Amanda...

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Eha

22/8/2017 08:37:00 pm

Oh Liz! You left Rhinegold and Barossa Pearl off the 'wine list' :) !! You and I must have grown up on beef stroganov . . . . oh yes, still prepare it, and in spite of my 'health rules', this is one dish which deserves its sour cream . . . . don't remember it being served on shell noodles or at the beginning of a meal . . . I guess different experiences for all of us . . .

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Lizzy

25/8/2017 07:22:15 pm

Ah yes, Eha, I was going to mention Barossa Pearl... and I have fond memories of Rhinegold as well!

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Maureen

22/8/2017 08:42:04 pm

I was a woman of the 70s but beef stroganoff was always a sit down event for us and over egg noodles. I'll be honest and admit that I served it at a dinner for friends in the past 12 months. faux pas??

Your recipe is very much like mine except the Noble sweet paprika. I'm eager to try that.

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Lizzy

25/8/2017 07:22:43 pm

Hello there Maureen... no, not at all. It's a good thing! xx

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Susan

22/8/2017 11:53:30 pm

Can't remember the food but I remember the Blue Nun and Cold Duck.

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Lizzy

25/8/2017 07:23:00 pm

He, he, he...

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Such a classic dish! I remember the first time I tried it and I loved it!

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Lizzy

25/8/2017 07:23:20 pm

'Tis a goodie!

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23/8/2017 07:55:18 pm

Beef stroganoff is absolutely a good thing, and holds a special place in my life. It was one of those dishes I made a lot as an apprentice chef at the convention centre. Also a big fan of chicken cacciatore. :)

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Lizzy

25/8/2017 07:23:46 pm

You know, I don't think I've ever made chicken cacciatore!

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Sophy

23/8/2017 10:02:26 pm

The trick is in making sure you have good quality meat and that it is NOT overcooked. A classic recipe that never fails to please!

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Lizzy

25/8/2017 07:24:11 pm

So true, Sophy! Spot on.

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Penny

24/8/2017 06:45:35 am

How many grams in 1/4 cup butter, please? I find it unnecessarily messy to use cup measurements for solid ingredients.

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Lizzy

24/8/2017 07:23:28 am

Penny, about 60g or so. Maybe a little more, perhaps a little less.

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26/8/2017 06:36:07 pm

I love all the history with this recipe, Liz. I haven't had stroganoff for years, and can't wait to make it again once the weather cools a bit.

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9/9/2017 06:44:39 am

I haven’t had this for years Liz, but a good reminder what a lovely dish this is when done well!

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beejay

16/9/2017 06:46:33 pm

A college friend who learned to make stroganoff from an old Russian man says he swore it had to have vodka in the cream sauce. Shrug. So, that's the way we've always made it.

I, too, fondly remember tomato aspic, although my mom put shoestring beets in hers and put a dollop of mayonnaise on top for me. I'm inclined the whole thing was a conspiracy to get me to eat tomato -- I loved beets and mayo but didn't like tomato sauces. ;) However, that sweet, tangy, salty creamy flavor combination, still appeals to me. Now, if I could only get up the ambition to make it.

Your recipe sounds delicious. Haven't made stroganoff in a while but thank you for the culinary nudge.

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Martin Huang

27/11/2017 02:26:51 am

Informative and delicious! My family love it too.

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