We were in the Army now. My mother had met my stepfather at Fort Lewis and our first new home base on the east coast was Fort Meade, Maryland. Our lives were changing at a radical pace and one of the changes was in the weekly meal planning. Another addition to our new life was the Stars and Stripes a U.S. Military weekly publication. I loved reading the comics and “Dear Abby“. My mother liked the recipe corner. I have a sneaking suspicion my mothers Beef Stroganoff recipe was adapted from a recipe she may have found in those pages. Research says the original dish was invented by a chef working for a Russian general, Count Pavel Stroganov, in the 1890s. It became popular in the U.S. in the 1950 and 60s from servicemen returning from Europe and Asia after WWII. Beef Stroganoff is basically tender strips of beef and mushrooms cooked in a sour cream sauce and served over noodles, rice, baked potato or even French fries.
At our house as my stepfather was Filipino American it was always served over white rice. You can make this with a tender cut of beef, such as tenderloin or top sirloin. My mother served this dish with a green salad, iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, shredded carrots and croutons. We always made our own vinaigrette for the salad. We each had our job whether it was setting the table, clearing the table, making the salad and the dressing, washing the dishes or drying them and putting them away. My mother was the chief cook and my stepfather arbiter of good taste. We had new horizons to discover and their were responsibilities that went along with being a military dependent. We now represented our country and had to set a good example. When we went on Base, to the commissary or the NCO club we learned to stop and press our hand to our heart as the flag was raised or lowered each day. We weren’t in the Pacific Northwest any longer our future was a new frontier.
Beef Stroganoff Recipe
- Prep time: 10 minutes
- Cook time: 20 minutes
It helps to cut thin strips of the beef by putting the meat into the freezer for 20 to 30 minutes first.
- 4 Tbsp butter
- 1 pound of top sirloin or tenderloin, cut thin into 1-inch wide by 2 1/2-inch long strips
- 1/3 cup chopped shallots (can substitute onions)
- 1/2 pound Cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 3/4 cup of sour cream at room temperature (You can also substitute yogurt for sour cream).
- Season the beef with salt and pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Melt 2 Tbsp of butter in a large skillet on medium heat. Increase the heat med-high and add the strips of beef. You want to cook the beef quickly, browning on each side, so the temp needs to be high enough to brown the beef, but not so high as to burn the butter. You may need to work in batches. While cooking the beef, sprinkle with some salt and pepper. When both sides are browned, remove the beef to a bowl and set aside.
- In the same pan, reduce the heat to medium and add the shallots. Cook the shallots for a minute or two, allowing them to soak up any meat drippings. Remove the shallots to the same bowl as the meat and set aside.
- In the same pan, melt another 2 Tbsp of butter. Increase heat to medium high and add the mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally. While cooking, sprinkle in the nutmeg.
- Reduce the heat to low and add the sour cream to the mushrooms. Mix in the sour cream thoroughly. Do not let it come to a simmer or boil or the sour cream will curdle. Add white wine and reduce until desired consistency. Stir in the beef and shallots. Add salt and pepper to taste, serve immediately over rice or other starch of your choice.
- Serving suggestion: serve with green salad.
Yield: Serves 4.