Beef Stroaganoff, or I Made Too Much Steak Last Night

Believe it or not, it's actually possible to make too much steak.  This becomes especially true where a large cut like tri-tip is concerned – you can make one, or two.  One is seldom enough around here, and two… well, there'd better be some pretty hungry kids.  Which, inevitably leads to the question, 'now what?'.  

We've explored other options in the past – fajitas are definitely a hit around here – but it's never a bad thing to have more tools in the 'extra steak' arsenal.  This one serves about six.  



Before we begin, let me present what we have for a recipe, though.  There are about as many stroaganoff recipes as there are countries, and what we're doing is a bastardiziation of the American version, which is close to what is considered the French/Russian original.  The actual origins are lost to history, and the Stroaganoff Foundation doens't want to talk about this important contribution to cuisine the family made.  It seems the last Stroaganoff died in the 1830s as well, so we may never know.  But let me lay down the definitive history – it's probably definitely wrong, but it's definitely how I understand it:  The roots date back to some Count Pavel Stroaganoff that escaped the Russian summers to Paris (like many of the elite did) in the 19th Century as an attempt by his French chef to make some sort of Franco/Russian fusion thingy.  It was pubished in the late 19th Century, and since then has been "improved" by adding things such as (ugh) katsup.  Interesting, isn't it?  Same here.

Anyway, enough BS.  Let's make some food.  As is my fashion, it's a simplified recipe but hey.  It's also made with stuff I generally have around the house, which IMO is a bonus.

If you're starting with new meat, you can catch up by pan-searing a steak or two (roughly a pound), and set aside.  Rarer is better, since we're going to cook it more anyway.

Start with slicing a couple of onions on the thin side.  Somewhere between 3 small, and 2 large onions (whatever that means).  I always err on the side of "more", and it's never let me down.  While you're cutting things, slice your steaks up into ~1/4" strips (or less).  Try not to cut your fingers too, as that's considered Bad Form when cooking for other people.

In a skillet, melt a couple of tablespoons of butter, and caramelize the onions (they should be golden, translucent, and just start to stick to the pan).  

Add in around 8oz mushrooms and soften them up a bit.  Button mushrooms are perfectly fine here, at least for me.  I went so far as using tinned mushrooms (because that's what I had on hand) and honestly, I don't know how much of a difference there would have been without going to really fancy mushrooms, and even then… we're dumping sauce on stuff here.

Once the mushrooms have softened a tad, add in aroung 1-3/4 cup of beef broth along with 2 tsp Worchestershire sauce and a teaspoon or so of pepper (I never measure).  Bring to a simmer, and add in the steak.  Cover and chillax for about ten minutes.

Prod things with a fork.  I don't know why, but you're supposed to do these things when you're cooking.  Poke and prod until you're satisified, and then let it all simmer uncovered for another five-ish minutes.  The basic idea is to reduce the original broth volume by half, so the results will be saucy instead of soupy.

 Hopefully you've started water for noodles, because this is a good time to start them cooking.  Egg noodles take about eight minutes, so they'll be finished before you are (for a change).

And, we're almost done, so it's time to make sauce.  Reduce the heat, and pick the bits of steak out of the pan.  You don't really have to pull your meat out, but it makes life a lot easier, so I highly recommend it.  Then add in another tablespoon of Worchestershire sauce, and add in enough flour to thicken the whole mess up.  Stir vigorously, and make sure you scrape all the bits off the bottom of the pan while you're at it.  Stir in a cup of sour cream, and adjust seasonings until you like it.  I usually need a skosh more pepper.

Plate the steak on the egg noodles along with a dose of sauce.  Add a dollop of sour cream to make it look authentic (plus, more sour cream!) and serve.  Or, if you want to be more authentic, forego the noodles, and serve the meat and sauce on a plate, with decorative french fries.

Shopping list (for six):

  • Roughly one pound leftover steak (or cook up some steak)
  • Butter – at least two tablespoons
  • A couple of onions
  • 8oz sliced mushrooms
  • Beef broth (cubez is cool)
  • Pepper
  • Worchestershire sauce, or however it's spelled
  • Pepper
  • 16oz egg noodles
  • Sour cream