Friday, August 8, 2014

Cabernet Beef Stroganoff

Summer is upon us, and with the heat comes a hankering for lighter dishes. And yet this blog post is anything but; traditionally stewed beef smothered in a rich sauce made with tangy sour cream and meaty mushrooms, Beef Stroganoff is much more cold weather comfort than light summer fare. Where then, did the inspiration for this dish come from? Well, I wanted to contribute something of my culture on the blog, finally, and since my family on one side hails from Russia and Eastern Europe. I knew I had a few options. Borscht might have been the more summery choice, but I knew I could truly contribute something delicious with this boozy modern version of Beef Stroganoff. My version of this recipe includes a mushroom stock and red wine, as well as roasted mushrooms. My main beef with most mushroom dishes is that they just don't taste enough of mushroom; I wanted to make my Stroganoff as mushroomy as possible. Because the mushroom stock took hours I would suggest making the mushroom stock a weekend or perhaps a make ahead project, as my recipe made several times what I needed for the Stroganoff and it freezes very well in my ice cube trays, ready for my next mushroom recipe to give it a little boost. The mushroom stock is optional and can be replaced ounce for ounce by low sodium beef stock. The mushrooms can be roasted in advance, up to a day ahead. My suggestion is to not skip roasting the mushrooms, as this really gave the sauce and mushrooms a fabulous depth of flavor.

We enjoyed our Stroganoff over Pappardelle Noodles, but it would be equally delicious over gnocchi, mashed potatoes, or any other starch.

Cabernet Beef Stroganoff

Serves about 6

For the Mushroom Stock:

10 ounces mushrooms
3 stalks celery
1 small yellow onion
2 large carrots
1 shallot
2 - 3 outer leek leaves (I pulled these from my freezer bag filling up with veggie trimmings for vegetable stock)
1/2 dried chili pepper, seeds removed and ribs scraped out
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
2 Tablespoons olive oil

1. Roughly chop all ingredients, then sautee them in olive oil over a medium flame until tender, about 5 minutes.
2. Add 12 cups of water, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to allow stock to simmer for 2 - 3 hours, or until liquid have been reduced by about half.

For the Beef Stroganoff:

1 1/2 lb. round or top roast, cut into 1" x 1 1/2" strips
1 cup to 1 1/4 cup mushroom stock or beef stock
1/2 cup sour cream
1 small yellow onion, roughly chopped
1 shallot, diced
1/4 cup sherry
1/2 cup cabernet
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon thyme leaves
16 ounces mushroom caps, roasted, then quartered*
4 Tblsp butter
2 1/2 Tblsp + 1/2 Teasp Olive Oil
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste

This will make enough to cover about 1 lb of pasta noodles. I recommend a wide or chunky noodle.

1. If you are not starting out with pre-roasted mushrooms, get them into a preheated oven. Otherwise start with the next step.

2. In a saucepan over low heat, melt one Tblsp butter and add 1/2 Teasp olive oil. Stir in shallots, turn the heat up to medium and allow to caramelize for about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour in sherry to deglaze and get all those fabulous sugars up. Stir/scrape, then remove shallots from pan and set aside.

3. Turn the heat back down to low and form a roux: melt the remaining butter, then whisk in flour. Cook 2-5 minutes, until flour becomes a little bit darker.

4. Using the whisk to incorporate, add in 1/4 cup wine, thyme the stock and the tomato paste. Time to season! Add in salt and pepper to taste.
When the mixture forms a smooth gravy, remove pan from heat and set aside.

5. Put your pasta water up to boil and in a separate pan sear off the steak strips: bring the pan up to medium high heat and add the olive oil; when the olive oil is hot, add the steak pieces in a single layer. You will probably have to make two batches. No matter; line your cookie sheet with foil and allow the first batch to rest while you're making the second. To get rare steak sear the outsides on all sides for 1-2 minutes, or until browned. 3 minutes per side will produce something more like a medium steak.

6. Remember to add the pasta to the boiling water (and also stir occasionally) in the midst of all this searing! You may also have to drain it before you're done searing the steak if it finishes cooking before that time.

7. As your last batch of steak finishes searing, turn the heat on under your roux mixture. Re-introduce shallots and add in mushrooms.
Put the last of the steak aside to rest. Pour the excess oil from the steak pan. Deglaze with the remaining 1/4 cup of red wine and whisk red wine into sauce. Add sour cream to sauce and when it is just warmed through, remove from heat.
You are now ready to serve! Heap steak over your favorite starch and then sauce and enjoy!

*To roast mushrooms, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and lay in a single layer on a greased cookie sheet; roast at 425 for about 30 minutes

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