Classic flavor with roast or braised beef
Cooler temperatures are on the way in our part of the world. Cue Beef Stroganoff – it’s a hearty comfort dish that always tastes best in cold weather.
And you don’t even need to cook the meat, because you already have some leftovers on hand, right?
You can make the dish ahead of time, too. Just reheat it when you’re ready to serve for a no-fuss dinner-party treat.
Gives you a warm fuzzy feeling, doesn’t it?
Recipe: Stroganoff-Style Leftover Beef
This isn’t the classic recipe for Beef Stroganoff. That one calls for quickly sautéing a tender cut of beef (like tenderloin) until it’s rare or medium, then making a rich mushroom sauce with cream and/or sour cream.
But we think leftover roast or braised beef has a much deeper flavor, so that’s what we’re using. BTW, this dish is particularly succulent when made with leftover wine-braised beef Short Ribs or Pot Roast.
Prep time for this dish is about 15 minutes. Cooking adds about half an hour.
This dish yields 4 generous servings. Leftovers keep for a few days if refrigerated in an airtight container.
- ~1 pound leftover boneless braised or roast beef (or more to taste)
- 1 pound mushrooms (the ordinary white ones work fine in this dish)
- 2 shallots
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme (see Notes)
- salt to taste (about ½ teaspoon kosher salt for us; see Notes)
- freshly ground black pepper to taste (several grinds for us)
- 1 cup beef stock or leftover beef gravy (see Notes)
- 1 cup heavy cream (whipping cream)
- ½ cup sour cream (or more to taste)
- cooked noodles for serving (2 to 3 ounces dried noodles per serving; see Notes)
- chopped parsley for garnish (optional)
- Remove the leftover beef from its bone if necessary. Then cut the beef into slices of about one-quarter to one-third inch thick. Set aside.
- Wipe the mushrooms with a damp paper towel to clean them. Cut the mushrooms into halves or quarters. Set aside.
- Peel the shallots and mince them.
- Add the olive oil and butter to large frying pan. Heat until the fat is frothy and hot. Add the chopped shallots and cook for 2 minutes. Add the chopped mushrooms and the dried thyme, season with salt and pepper, then cook until the mushrooms are browned – 5 to 8 minutes. (Don't overcrowd the pan; cook the mushrooms in two batches if necessary. Also, you may want to reserve a few of the cooked mushrooms for garnish.)
- Add the beef stock or gravy and deglaze the cooking pan. Add the heavy cream and the sliced beef, then bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook for 20 to 30 minutes, until the cream is reduced by half or a bit more. (If you’re making this dish ahead of time, you can stop at this point. Just cool the cooked beef/cream mixture and refrigerate it, then continue with the following steps when you’re ready to serve.)
- About 10 minutes before the cream is finished reducing, start cooking the noodles.
- Taste the beef mixture, then adjust the seasoning if necessary. Remove the cooking pan from the heat and stir in the sour cream.
- Plate the cooked noodles, then ladle the beef mixture over them. Garnish with parsley and reserved mushrooms, if you wish. Serve and enjoy.
- In the US, this dish was at the height of its popularity in the 1950s and 60s. In those days, though, home cooks often used cream of mushroom soup (instead of fresh mushrooms and real cream).
- Using leftover roast beef that’s been cooked to rare or medium, and want to keep it that way? Don’t add the beef in Step 5. Instead, add it a couple of minutes before you add the sour cream (Step 7) and cook just long enough to heat it through.
- But keep in mind: Cooking the beef and mushrooms with the cream and stock or gravy will yield deeper flavor.
- BTW, when we have leftover roast or braised beef, we'll often freeze it to use later in a recipe like this.
- Many recipes use sour cream alone in this dish. We think heavy cream adds much more flavor, so we recommend using it. But do add sour cream to finish the dish – it gives great tang.
- Some recipes add mustard to this dish, which also adds zip. If you want to try this, just add a teaspoon or two of Dijon-style mustard when you add the cream in Step 5.
- Beef stock works fine in this recipe. But it tastes even better when made with leftover beef gravy or sauce.
- Some recipes add white wine to this dish. We haven’t tried that, but feel free to experiment.
- Use any kind of mushroom that you like in this dish. Ordinary white button mushrooms work well.
- We use dried thyme in this recipe because it pairs well with mushrooms. Fresh thyme works too – just double the amount we suggest. Fresh tarragon or dill would also be nice.
- Many recipes add paprika to this dish (usually a couple of teaspoons).
- We use kosher salt for cooking. It’s less salty by volume than regular table salt (the flakes are larger, so it doesn’t pack a measure as densely). If you substitute regular table salt, start with about half as much as we suggest. But always season to your taste, not ours.
- We like to serve egg noodles with this dish (preferably ones with a twisted shape). But use any kind of noodle you like.
- You can butter the noodles or not before serving. We usually don’t because this dish is already quite rich.
- We consider 2 ounces of dried noodles adequate for a serving, but increase that to 3 if you like. If you’re serving hungry teenage boys, you might want to make it 4 ounces.
- Don’t want to use noodles? You can substitute rice, polenta, or mashed potatoes.
- Garnish isn’t necessary for this dish, but we like the look of parsley, so we always use it. A few extra mushrooms on top also add a nice touch.
- Beef Stroganoff was probably first served in Russia sometime during the mid-1800s. When it first appeared, the dish didn’t include mushrooms. But we think mushrooms add a lot of flavor, so we’re glad the recipe evolved to include them.
“Tasty,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “Remember when we were kids? Beef Stroganoff was one of the it company dishes.”
“People don’t make it so much these days,” I said. “What’s their beef with it?”
“Maybe they remember the canned-mushroom-soup version of yore,” said Mrs K R.
“Yeah, that dish could have used some beefing up,” I said.
“Home cooks didn’t noodle around much with recipes in those days,” said Mrs K R. “The can opener was their main kitchen tool.”
All can and no cattle, you might say.
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