I made a surprisingly fantastic batch of beef stroganoff Monday night. It’s really not any different than the typical recipe I use, but I took some extra time to really take advantage of some Maillard-infused cooking and sear nearly all the ingredients over pretty high heat. The meat & the mushrooms were ridiculously savory, and the onions turned out so sweet that the sauce dabbled on the sweet side.

It was a beautiful—yet unexpected because of the sweetness—combination. As it stands, it might turn out even between with some white wine during the cooking stage to complement that bit of sweetness that the onions contribute. I will have to give this a dry next time if I have a dry white to cook with next time!

Beef Stroganoff

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound diced or ground beef, lean
  • 1 pound cremini mushrooms
  • 1 cup whole-fat sour cream
  • 2 each white onion, large
  • 4 tablespoons flour, all purpose
  • 1 tablespoon paprika, smoked
  • 2 cup water
  • 1 each onion soup mix
  • ¾ pound pasta
  • 2 cups pasta water, reserved

Directions:

1. Cook the ground beef in 1/4–1/2 lb quantities in a skillet over very high heat. There should be no moisture pooling in the pan in order to properly brown the meat. Don’t be afraid to crisp it just a tisch until dark brown. Collect each batch in a large sauce pan.
2. Sautée the onions over very high heat in the same skillet. Keep them moving every 30–60 seconds to keep them from sticking to the skillet (shouldn’t be a problem if it’s well cured). They should brown nicely without becoming too limp. Once they start to darken a bit and finally soften, remove from the skillet into the same sauce pan with the beef.
3. Sautée the diced mushrooms over medium high to very high heat (the hotter, the most you’ll want to keep them moving). Add a tablespoon or two of oil as necessary if they start to stick. Much like in the step before, they should cook, brown, and reduce down without pooling in their own liquids. This is important to help bring out the umami in the dish. When darkened and thoroughly cooked, add to the sauce pan with the ground beef and onions.
4. Add two cups of water and the dry onion soup/mix & paprika to the beef, onions, and mushrooms, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer covered.
5. Blend together the flour & sour cream until smooth. You don’t want the flour to clump at all here.
6. Fill a stock pot with an appropriate amount of water for 12 oz of your choice of pasta (I prefer farfalle, cappellini, or ziti), bring to a boil, and cook the pasta as directed. Reserve two cups of the cooking water at the end.
7. While the pasta is cooking, add the flour/sour cream mixture to the simmering sauce pan & stir until uniformly combined. Raise the heat to medium to bring it back to a simmer quicker, and simmer for 5 minutes (reduce heat as necessary) or longer while the pasta cooks.
8. The sauce will likely be on the thick side at this point, so thin it to your preference with the pasta water. 1 cup was just the right creaminess for me. Your mileage may vary. Salt & pepper to taste as necessary (the soup packet ideally should provide enough salt on its own).
9. Fold the sauce into the drained noodles & stir until the noodles are well coated. Serve & enjoy!

(Serves 6)

Oversized nutrition label shown below based on the above recipe without any added oil (as I didn’t need to add any during my preparation).
Beef Stroganoff

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