America is a melting pot that was formed by the hard-working people who migrated here from lands as far east as China and Japan, as far north as Russia and Europe. They utilized American supplies and prepared them in ways that they had prepared them in their homeland.
True American food is a collection of these culinary traditions passed down from generation to generation”.Each culture brought its cooking methods, food, and spices to America. They farmed the soil, hunted game, and incorporated their ways into the food of America.
Stroganoff (or Stroganov) is a simple and comforting Russian dish consisting of sauteed pieces of beef served in a sour cream sauce. It dates back to the mid 19th century and is named for a member of the Stroganov family, who were a group of highly successful Russian merchants and landowners in Tsarist Russia. The first known recipe is found in a mid-1800s Russian cookbook. The dish probably goes back to much earlier peasant fare but is now commonly attributed to the household of Count Pavel Stroganoff (1774-1817). Tolstoy’s War and Peace novel paints a picture of Russian society of that time which was fascinated with French culture and language. The interest in all things French extended to food, with chefs of the great households striving to create dishes in a more elegant and refined style.
After the fall of Tsarist Russia, the dish found popularity in China. Then, during WWII, Russian and Chinese immigrants, as well as US servicemen, brought the dish to the US. The first English language recipe for Beef Stroganoff appeared in a cookbook in 1932, but its popularity didn’t blossom until after World War II. Servicemen who’d served overseas were open to new tastes and flavors. Some went on to become the food editors, writers, and chefs who redefined American cuisine. At the same time, families moved to the suburbs, and dinner parties became more fashionable than ever. Beef Stroganoff, luxurious yet easy to prepare, became a signature dish with countless hostesses, and a headline entrée in upscale restaurants. New York’s Russian Tea Room, founded by former members of the Imperial Ballet, was famous for this dish.
In the 50s and 60s, Stroganoff saw quite a bit of popularity in the US, but overtime its image was marred by canned cream of mushroom soup and poor cuts of meat that were poured over noodles or rice and served in cafeterias. Unfortunately, it was this cafeteria version that everyone in the States came to associate with the name. Beef Stroganoff is so much more than the 50s and 60s made it out to be. Authentic Russian Beef Stroganoff combines tender beef and flavorful mushrooms in a creamy sauce for an elegant, yet quick dish.
The best beef to use in beef stroganoff is a cut that works well with quick-cooking. That means you need something that is tender in its own rights, such as beef tenderloin or ribeye steak. The important thing is to cut the steak into thin slices by cutting across the grain. This shortens the fibers of the meat, making it more tender with less cooking.
In Russia, you will most often find traditional beef stroganoff served over fried shoestring potatoes (French fries). It can also be found served over mashed potatoes or rice. Here in the States, egg noodles are the most common accompaniment to beef stroganoff.
TRADITIONAL BEEF STROGANOFF
2 tablespoons salted butter
8 oz button mushrooms, sliced
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 lb beef tenderloin, sliced thinly, against the grain
2 tablespoons instant Wondra flour or all-purpose
1 cup beef broth
½ teaspoon ground mustard seed
1 tablespoon tomato paste
½ cup sour cream
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
8 oz egg noodles, cooked
In a large skillet, heat the butter. Add the beef to the saute pan. Cook until lightly browned, 2 minutes. Add the onion and mushrooms, cook until the mushrooms are tender. Stir the flour into the beef broth and mix well.
Add the beef broth, salt, pepper, mustard powder, and tomato paste to the saute pan scraping the bottom of the pan to pick up any stuck bits.
Simmer the mixture over medium heat for 10 minutes.
Place the sour cream into a small bowl and mix a little of the broth from the skillet with the sour cream to warm it. Pour the warmed sour cream mixture into the saucepan and mix to combine. Warm over very low heat,
Adjust the seasoning to taste.
Serve the stroganoff over the cooked noodles.