Beef Stroganoff is a classic Russian dish named after the influential Stroganov family and its invention has been attributed to French chefs who worked for the family in the 19th Century.
It is basically pieces of beef cooked in a sauce of sour cream, with considerable variations that may include onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, capsicum and white wine.
The first time I had this dish was more than 30 years ago in the US where the slices of beef were sautéed with onions, mushrooms and capsicum. It has a thick luscious sauce that was smothered over flat yellow pasta, called egg noodles in the US. Imagine my surprise when I ordered the dish in Malaysia and was served beef over buttered rice. I found out after further reading that this was one of the variations that the dish attained after it spread around the world, specifically in Hong Kong and Australia. This Russia’s contribution to world cuisine has indeed evolved from its French origins.
A friend in church in the US taught me this recipe, which became a regular dish at my apartment mainly because the ingredients were so readily available and it was so easy to prepare. Served over pasta, it was a complete meal for a student on a budget like I was.
I used to cook it with cheaper cuts of meat such as flank, chuck or round, but I would recommend tenderloin as the preferred cut of beef for Stroganoff because it needed to be cooked just briefly. The traditional recipe calls for the meat to be cut into cubes, but I prefer to slice the beef. If you froze the meat before cutting, you can get really thin slices of beef for this dish.
The original recipe alludes to smetana, which is a type of sour cream from Eastern European quite close to crème fraîche, but any similar cultured cream may be used. If you like the sauce to be thicker, you may use milk instead of water to thin out the sour cream. However, instead of water or milk, you may also use wine, with which I was taught to deglaze the pan after searing the beef. Although we would intuitively associate red meat with red wine, my culinary sifu had advised me to use white wine because the red would cause the creamy sauce to turn pink.
But you may serve this dish with a glass of red wine, an absolutely befitting salute to Russia Day, its national holiday celebrated annually on June 12 since 1990.
- 500g beef tenderloin, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 bulb yellow onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, sliced
- 200g white button mushrooms, sliced
- 1 red capsicum, diced
- 1 green capsicum, diced
- 500g sour cream
- 1 cup cold water, milk or white wine
- ½ tsp salt to taste
- ½ tsp pepper to taste
- 500g fettuccine, tagliatelle or egg noodles
- water for cooking pasta
- salt for cooking pasta
- 1 bunch flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
- Heat olive oil in a pan and sauté onions and garlic until slightly wilted.
- Add mushrooms and sauté until they start to water. Add red and green capsicum and toss lightly.
- Add in beef and sear until cooked
- Add sour cream and water and bring to a light simmer.
- Season with salt and pepper and keep warm.
- Cook pasta in salted boiling water about 8 minutes until al dente.
- Toss pasta into warm sauce, sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve immediately.