Hamburger Stroganoff, aka “The Gray Glop”

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I'm going to break my new rule of photographing every dish this time, because, well, this is not very photogenic.  Quite honestly it's rather gray and dull looking.

Thankfully, it makes up in flavor what it lacks in looks.  Kind of like that one person you dated for a while, right?

So, since we're not taking this dish to the prom, let's get down to business.  This one serves six, and it can be easily cut in half but I like leftovers (more on that later).  Also unlike that prom date, it's a favorite with the family.

Since this is more-or-less "stuff on noodles", we're going to need some noodles.  Time to start a pot of salted water boiling.  It always takes forever to boil water here, and I like to have it ready, so it's generally the first thing I do.

That done, dice up an onion (small chunks) along with 4-5 cloves of garlic.  Then get a large skillet and melt 1/2 stick of butter in it so that it foams.  Add the onions, garlic, and a pinch or pepper, and simmer heavily until the onions are soft and yellow.

Next, it's time to get meaty, so add two pounds of ground beef to the pan.  Nothing fancy, just cook it until it's done, and make sure the onions are all mixed up in it.  Add another pinch of pepper and a pinch of salt somewhere along the way.

And now comes for a judgement call – if you have 90% lean ground beef, you probably don't need to drain any of the fat off, but if it's 80% or lower you'll want to drain some.  Otherwise you'll drive yourself crazy in the next step (read ahead and you'll understand).

Add the canned mushrooms, and another pinch of salt & pepper (you should be able to catch a whiff of the pepper at this point) and make with the flour power – add enough flour to thicken the juices in the pan.  It'll probably be at least 1/4 cup, but more depending on how juicy the pan is.  It won't be like a "gravy" per se, but the pan will appear mostly dry at the bottom when you have enough.  Let that go for about five minutes, and the mushrooms will wilt slightly.

Then…we come to the timing.  It's not critical, but I like my noodles – no matter what I'm cooking – to be done just after the rest of the meal is ready.  They don't have time to get all sticky that way.  So, order matters (to me) when I'm doing this stuff.  You might like it too.

Add the cream of mushroom soup.  Get it all mixed in, and set the timer for thirteen minutes.  Stir occasionally to really get it mixed, and once there's about seven minutes left on the timer, put the egg noodles in the pot.  At three minutes turn down the heat on the skillet, and add the sour cream.  Stir that until it's completely mixed in and heated through.  With any luck the timer will go off, and it's time to take the noodles off, dish them into bowls, and top with the stroganoff.  Voila!, or something.

(Note with all the timing above: the idea is that the mushroom soup needs to cook in for ten minutes, and the egg noodles take seven).  We need the overlap for the sour cream)

And, the ever-desired shopping list:

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 4-5 cloves garlic
  • salt
  • pepper
  • flour
  • 16oz canned mushrooms (stems & pieces)
  • 20oz cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 cups (ish) sour cream
  • 16oz egg noodles.

So, if you've gotten this far, here's why you want leftovers:  This stuff is awesome reheated and put on toast.  It might be better than on noodles, but it certainly doesn't go as far.  It looks like "sh*t on a shingle" but it'll make your mouth happy.