Sorry I haven’t posted anything in a while. Work and life have both been insanely crazy and busy with wedding planning and all that other fun stuff that goes with the new four letter word “Adulting” *twitches*. But I have been cooking and I’ve been deciding on what to blog about.
It’s no hidden secret that I find great comfort in the kitchen. It’s my sanctuary. My “man cave”. It’s where I can go and vent frustrations of the day by pounding out some dough or violently whipping of egg whites. It’s therapy for me. I’ve always had this dream of opening up a bakery that has an afternoon program geared towards teens who have a difficult home life where they can come and vent their frustrations through the creation of food. I hope some day to make that dream a reality.
Why is cooking so therapeutic for me? I wish I had the answer. Maybe it’s because I have so many positive memories associated with cooking. Standing in the kitchen on the holidays with a glass of wine watching my aunts and uncles shoot the shit while trimming green beans, filling pie crusts. I associate the kitchen with a moment of happiness. Huh…guess I did have the answer after all ;)…One of my most favorite people to be in the kitchen with is probably a tie between my father and my grandmother. Probably only natural considering they are mother and son. My father has taught me so many fine things such as how to make potato soup, foccacia, how to grill, how to tie my shoes (not really cooking related but important nonetheless). My grandmother however taught me that the preparation of a meal is meant to be done with love for those eating it. They will be able to taste your feelings in your food and your food reflects you at your core. And that is very true. When I’m in a funk it totally shows in my cooking. I burn things, it tastes bland or over seasoned. It’s a hot fucking mess I tell you what. But when I’m happy and in that zone where everything is just right everything is awesome. Everything is cool cause you’re part of the team!!! Another thing my grandmother taught me was how to make stroganoff. Just saying that word makes me think of her and how her kitchen would smell when she would make it. The onions, mushrooms, the bits of skirt steak or if she couldn’t afford it, ground beef. And the sour cream…..Good God those were some amazing combinations of smells. She taught me how to make her version of stroganoff when I was 10 and it’s the recipe I’ve used for near 30 years and it will be the one I teach Ari my niephew (not a typo) and my children (if I ever have any). But until then I’ll share it with you all 🙂
For this recipe you will need the following ingredients. I will also list appropriate substitutions should you have difficulty finding certain items or if they are outside your dinner budget. This can also be easily made into a vegetarian option by subbing out and omitting certain items.
- 1 1/2 lbs skirt steak sliced 1/2 inch thick (you can use ground beef if you can’t find skirt steak) ****
- 2 medium yellow onions sliced thin ( I recommend using a mandolin if you have one)
- 4 cloves garlic finely minced into a paste (or you can use garlic paste in a tube)
- 12 oz sliced portobello mushrooms (I recommend using baby bellas)****
- 1 1/2 c. beef stock****
- 1/4 c. butter or margarine
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 c. AP flour
- 1 1/2 c sour cream (you can substitute this with Greek yogurt for a healthier option)
**** For a vegetarian option omit the beef and substitute for 1 1/2 pounds of portobello mushroom caps. Use the large variety for a more “meaty” mouth feel. Also substitute the beef stock for vegetable stock****
Now to put it all together.
- Take a large skillet and cook your mushrooms, onions, garlic and butter over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the onions are tender. Once done remove from the pan and reserve in a bowl to be added at the end of the cooking process. If opting for a vegetarian version of this dish skip the browning stage of the meat in step 2 and continue with the instructions.
- While your vegetables are sauteing take your skirt steak and slice across the grain into 1 1/2 inch strips. Place the beef strips (or ground beef) into the skillet and brown on all sides. Take note to not over crowd the pan as the meat will then stew instead of brown. We want to achieve the Maillard effect** Once brown on all sides stir in 1 cup of broth and the Worcestershire sauce. Bring contents to a boil and then reduce to allow to simmer for 30-45 minutes. If using ground beef drain out extra fat before adding the broth and omit the 30-45 minute braising step. While you braise your skirt steak, take remaining broth and stir in 1/4 c. AP flour to make a slurry. This is your thickening agent to make the creamy velvet sauce that we all know and love.
- Stir in your broth flour mixture back into the beef mixture. Add your mushroom and onions back to the pan and heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Once at a boil stirring constantly for 1 minute. This will activate the flour and the fat in the pan and help thicken the sauce. Stir in your sour cream and heat till hot (do not allow to boil!!!!).
- Serve over egg noodles with a chunk of crusty bread to sop up all the goodness at the end.
Partially freeze your beef prior to slicing as this will actually make it easier. Place in the freezer for about 20 minutes or so.
Always use a sharp knife. This will help make the process easier as well as help avoid any accidents. I’ve cut myself many a time due to a dull blade slipping and cutting my hand. Sharp knives save lives………no seriously…okay they end lives too but in this instance I don’t want to end up with 9 fingers.
If you dont feel like pasta try subbing out pasta and turning it into a pizza using the mushroom beef gravy as your sauce and top with a little mozzarella baking in an oven at 450 until bubbly. I recommend using a more bready crust like Boboli to avoid any sogginess.