You can wonder where the name came from – but the bottom line is that this is a dish that is always popular and can be considered an old time favourite. Making it from pre-packaged form is just not good enough – plus – it really is not a difficult dish to make from scratch!
Homemade Beef Stroganoff:
1 pound of filet mignon or beef sirloin
2-3 tablespoons of flour
1 medium onion
1⁄2 pound (or more as desired) fresh white mushrooms, cleaned and trimmed
3-4 tablespoons of butter
1⁄2 cup strong beef broth, preferably homemade
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Parsley or fresh dill for garnish
Cut the meat into strips about 2 inches long and about 1⁄3 to 1⁄2 inch thick.( This is easier if you first put it in the freezer for about 30 minutes.) Put the strips, well separated, on a plate or a work surface and dredge with flour, turning them to coat lightly on all sides. Chop the onion fairly fine and cut the mushrooms into thin lengthwise slices.
Heat the butter over high heat in a large heavy skillet.Reduce the heat to medium-high, add a few strips of meat at a time, and brown them very quickly on both sides, stirring with a wooden spoon. As each batch is done, remove it to a plate and add a few more strips. From time to time add a little more of the butter to moisten the pan. The trick is not to crowd the pan (which makes the meat stew in its own juice) and to brown the meat rapidly without letting the flour scorch; keep adjusting the heat as necessary.
When all the meat is browned, saute the onion in the same pan over medium heat, stirring, until translucent and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook, tossing and stirring, until they begin to release their juice, another 5 minutes or so. Raise the heat to high and cook until the liquid is nearly evaporated. Stir in the broth and mustard; cook, stirring, over medium heat until the sauce is a little thickened, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the browned meat with any juices and cook, stirring and tossing, until it is heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Now reduce the heat to very low and stir in the sour cream. It will curdle if it is too cold or if the sauce boils, so you must let it warm up for only a minute or two. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve at once, garnished with a bit of minced parsley or snipped dill.
And the name? The following is the best known explanation:
Beef Stroganoff, named for a family of long pedigree in czarist Russia, was a reigning party favorite a generation ago and is one of my leading nominees for a return from limbo. The dish started being extolled in the 1930s by members of the self-styled “gourmet” movement in the United States. Its distinguishing features are thin strips of rapidly seared beef, a sauce enriched with sour cream, and an otherwise complete absence of agreement on the necessary ingredients.