The skirmish in the Ukraine has made me nostalgic for the Cold War days of my youth. While the bloodshed is tragic, and The Wife and I both know people with ties to the former Soviet state, I look at this with an almost melancholy memory for the days of yore. Back then, we knew who our enemy was: the yellow hammer and the sickle against the red field. The red menace of communism presented a constant global threat. But back then, we knew who and where we were going to bomb when something went awry. Now that everyone hates us — nations, religions, factions of people tucked in caves and on islands around the globe — it makes it a little more difficult to exist as an American in this world. I would take a semi-crazy Russian Prime Minister any day over the guy in Kandahar or Quetta that takes the Koran a little too seriously.
So, in celebration of the coming of the next Cold War, I’ve returned to watching movies of my youth: Rocky IV, WarGames, Red Dawn…nationalistic, anti-Communist and anti-war screeds. And, last week I made the Americanized version of the popular Russian dish beef stroganov. I know it’s a stretch, but it’s my stretch.
It’s a fairly easy meal at the outset. Boil some egg noodles, cook some beef down into a light stew then thicken with sour cream. It’s not the healthiest thing you will eat this week, but it’s certainly better than something that came from a Hamburger Helper box. And, it goes together in about the same amount of time.
WHAT WORKED: Christina Gallary’s original called for ground beef. I substituted stew beef that I cut down into smaller pieces. The stew beef is hardier when cooked down in the broth and doesn’t take on that weird grainy consistency that often results when cooking in liquid.
WHAT DIDN’T: My grocery store was lacking in whole creminis, so I bought a package of presliced. I like slicing my own so I can guarantee that they have been cleaned well. Plus, they are cheaper.
WHAT DID THE WIFE SAY: “I like this. Why haven’t you made this before?”
WILL IT MAKE ANOTHER APPEARANCE: Yeah. This is a really good winter dinner and much better than a slow cooker beef stew.
Beef Stroganov with Egg Noodles
Adapted from Christina Gallary’s original at CHOW
- 1 tbsp. canola oil
- 8 oz. cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 lb. stew beef or beef tips, cut into small to medium dice
- 3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1/4 cup dry white wine (JARED’S NOTE: I used pinot grigio)
- 32 oz. low-sodium beef broth or stock
- 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more as needed
- 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
- 8 oz. dried egg noodles
- 3/4 cup sour cream (JARED’S NOTE: Don’t skimp and go fat free or light here. They will separate in the broth and clump. Use the full fat for the best effect.)
Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When it shimmers, add mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cook until well-browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Melt butter, then add the onion and garlic. Season with salt and pepper, and cook until the onions begin to turn translucent and soften. Add the beef and toss with the vegetables using a wooden spoon. Cook 6 to 8 minutes, or until the beef is cooked through.
Coat the meat with flour and paprika, stirring, and cook 1 to 2 minutes. Add the wine and use your spoon to deglaze the pan, if necessary. When the wine evaporates, add the broth and the measured salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, then add the egg noodles. Reduce the heat to medium and cook the noodles, stirring occasionally, until they are cooked through. This should take about 8 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the sour cream until it is well blended with the liquid in the pan. Adjust flavor with salt and pepper, and serve.