Labor-Inducing Beef Stroganoff

My mom first went into labor with me while she was eating beef stroganoff.

Forget pickles. Forget donuts. No ice cream. No bon bons – whatever the hell those are.

Beefed-up stroganoff is what she’d eaten over the course of her entire pregnancy.

My understanding is it came into fashion a few decades ago. Now, I see it making a comeback at high-end restaurants. It makes sense because it’s one of the home-iest dishes around.

That, and there’s like a pint of sour cream in it.

Chefs around the world practice the art of mise en place – which is ensuring you have all your ingredients washed, chopped and within hands reach before starting to cook. It will make cooking this dish, and for that matter every dish, so much more expedient and effortless.

I also bet you could pull all the meat & vegetable ingredients together in a crockpot, cook for hours while you’re at work, and spoon over cooked egg noodles when you get home.

I’m not one of those people, though. For now, this is a start to finish recipe for those of you, like me, who are not morning people and don’t do things like “meal plan.”

This is a classic American variation of stroganoff, similar to what my mom made for us growing up. It was the rare occasion that she did, because the male members of my family inherited the most abhorrent food aversion known to man – a dislike of dairy.

There are Finnish versions that include chopped pickles, Brazilian versions that substitute shrimp or chicken for beef, and British versions that gravitate toward a white sauce infused with wine.

You can’t go wrong or screw up this recipe. It’s impossible. Take a deep breath, and realize the only thing you have to do right now is cook, then eat this crazy-good food when it’s done.

You don’t have to delivery a baby either, so that’s another plus.

I N G R E D I E N T S

Serves 2 really hungry people.

  • 1 1 / 2 lb. sirloin steak, cubed
  • 1 lb. egg noodles
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1 / 2 pint full-fat sour cream
  • 1 / 2 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 / 2 white onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 6 tablespoons butter, salted or unsalted
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, minced
  • 1 tablespoon thyme, minced
  • Salt (used throughout)
  • Pepper (used throughout)

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large sauté pan. Dry the beef cubes well. Season liberally with salt and pepper on all sides. Once the oil is very hot, put the beef cubes in the pan. Don’t crowd the beef, otherwise they will not brown. In batches, brown the cubes on all sides. Set the meat aside. The beef will not be fully cooked through at this point.
  2. In the same pan, add 2 tablespoons of butter. Throw in the mushrooms, onions, thyme, and a heavy pinch of salt and pinch of pepper, sautéing until the vegetables are translucent and the mushrooms have shrunk and released most of their liquid.
  3. Add the beef cubes back in, juices and all, as well as the beef broth and Worcestershire sauce. Let this cook uncovered for 30 minutes on medium-high heat until half of the liquid remains.
  4. While the stroganoff sauce is reducing, heat a pot of water to boil and cook the egg noodles according to package instructions. Drain, and throw the pasta back in the pot, adding 4 tablespoons of butter and mixing until the butter melts. Set the pasta aside.
  5. After 30 minutes, add the sour cream and Dijon mustard. Stir until incorporated. Cook on medium-high heat for an additional 5 to 10 minutes.
  6. To plate, put egg noodles in the bottom of a wide shallow bowl, topping with the stroganoff sauce and plenty of beef cubes. Don’t be shy about adding more spoonfuls of sauce. You cannot have too much of the stuff. Sprinkle each plate with minced parsley.

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