September 28, 2011 § Leave a comment
When Brad and I started dating, neither of us had a kitchen. Well, that’s not completely true. The house Brad was renting a room in had a kitchen, but it was not unusual to find bums sleeping at the table and I’m pretty sure there were rats living beneath the dishes in the sink. So, for all intents and purposes, neither of us had a kitchen. We ate out (lucky for us, Berkeley has some of the best cheap food I’ve ever encountered) and at the dining hall most of the time. I think one time we may have made Kraft Macaroni & Cheese in the bum kitchen but, needless to say, we weren’t cooking very much at that point.
Soon after, when Brad had moved out of the House On Paper Street and had a proper apartment with a proper kitchen, our culinary prowess evolved to the next logical stage – boxed dinners that required minimal preparation. We pretty much survived on Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, Stouffer’s frozen lasagna, Bertolli frozen meals and Hamburger Helper.
God, I don’t even want to think about how high our sodium intake must have been in 2005.
Brad’s two favorite Hamburger Helper ‘flavors’ were Lasagna and Stroganoff, so when I started cooking real food, these were some of the first dishes I learned to make. Since we’ve covered lasagna, I figured it was about time we go over how to make beef stroganoff.
Most of the recipes I make come from adaptations of recipes I find online. Allrecipes.com is a major resource for me, because most recipes have multiple versions to reference, hundreds of ratings, and reviews that give suggestions on alterations. My recipe for beef stroganoff, however, comes from an ACTUAL COOKBOOK. (Whoa! Those still exist?!?) The Joy Of Cooking was the first cookbook I purchased and is a great resource for all aspiring cooks.
I have, of course, changed the recipe a little bit to fit our tastes and resources (i.e. Brad will not eat mushrooms, so I normally make a version without). It is such a basic recipe, it really responds well to changes, so feel free to interpret the dish however you like it best. If you read the history of beef stroganoff, you will find the versions are so wildly varied, pretty much the only cohesive ingredient is sauteed beef.
1 lb. beef (the quality of beef is your choice), sliced against the grain into 1/4 inch strips
1/2 small onion, diced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms (optional)
1 tbsp butter, oil or margarine
salt, pepper & nutmeg
1/2 tsp basil (optional)
1/4 cup white wine
1 cup sour cream
cooked egg noodles
In a large skillet, heat the oil/butter and saute the onion, garlic and mushrooms (if using) until onion is soft and translucent. Add the beef and cook until brown. Shake some salt and pepper into the mix and a DASH of nutmeg. (Really, don’t overdo it on the nutmeg. You just want a HINT. You can always add more, but you can’t undo putting too much.) If you’re feelin’ it, add in a little dried basil, or finely chop some fresh leaves. Add in white wine and cook for a minute or two. Stir in sour cream and mix until well combined. Stir in cooked egg noodles and cook for a few more minutes. Remove from heat; sauce will thicken as it cools a bit.