Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Beef Mushroom Stroganoff over Smashed Potatoes

My mother always made me stroganoff, and didn't mind too much when I pulled the mushrooms out. Her recipe is from the old Betty Crocker cookbook, and was always served over buttered egg noodles. I remember the first time we went out to eat Russian and they had it in the menu over mashed potatoes, it offended my sense of the universe.

Of course I ordered it. I was 8, not stupid. ; ) I picked the mushrooms out of that one, too. Mom was happy -she got more mushrooms.

Somewhere along the line I decided that mushrooms weren't too bad. My friend Aaron added red wine to his - I could see that. Something or another suggested parmesan cheese for umami, under the sour cream - sounds good to me! And gradually, the recipe has changed significantly from what Mom still makes into my own version. When I went gluten-free, I had to give up my buttered egg noodles, and no, there are no good rice substitutes. But I remembered long ago, a Real Russian Restaurant served it over potatoes...

This is a good weeknight dinner - it comes together quickly, and I usually have everything but the beef and mushrooms on hand, and it uses one pan and a bowl. As always, all measurements are approximate, and if it doesn't seem to be coming together right, there are several points to adjust. Use any kind of steak - this round, I used thin cut breakfast steaks, because they're on sale. But I've used flank, or round, or chuck. Since everything cooks for a while, you don't need uber-fancy grades of beef. It doesn't hurt, mind you, but it's not necessary for a good meal.

Yukon gold potatoes are highly suggested for this recipe for a couple of reasons. 1) they tend to have a nice, buttery flavor off the bat 2) they're very thin skinned. As I don't bother to peel them before smashing them to chunks,  this means I'm not picking out rough portions of skin. I cook my potatoes in the microwave - it's fast, easy, and involves a lot less mess than most cooking methods. Your needs may vary. Yukons usually come in two sizes - small and large. My measurements here are for small - 10 happens to be the number left in the bag when I started making dinner, and 9 or 12 would both have been fine.

My preferred broth is Better than Boullion paste + water. It usually has a higher flavor content and less salt content than the cubes, and I have finer control over the quantity of paste to water and the resulting flavor profile. If I use the veggie, it comes flavored with the herbs I usually put in my stock, so I call it a win. If I have beef, I often add a sprig of thyme or sage for some herbiness.

I usually use tapioca starch as my thickener, but if you prefer corn starch or arrowroot, I know both work, as does white/sweet rice flour. Over the years, I've used just about anything that seems like it might do the job. Just make sure you add and boil it before putting in the dairy.

Beef Mushroom Stroganoff over Smashed Potatoes

.5 lb steak
12 oz fresh mushrooms
1 onion, diced
2 cloves diced garlic or 2 T minced garlic
1 cup red wine
1 c veggie or beef broth
1 T worcestershire sauce
1T tapioca starch or corn starch
2 T water
1 c sour cream
1/2 c grated parmesan

Smashed Potatoes
10 small Yukon gold potatoes
3 T butter
1/2 c milk or half and half

Cube/cut steak into bit sized pieces. Do the same with the mushrooms, esp if you're using fresh. Canned, it's not as much of a problem. Saute steak, mushrooms, onion, and garlic until the meat is browned. Pour in the wine to deglaze the pan, add the broth and the worchestershire sauce. In a small bowl (or leftover measuring cup) mix tapioca and water until smooth. Add back into pan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Drop it to a simmer or low heat and add sour cream and cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Wash potatoes well, the poke at least once with a fork. Put in microwave for 10 min, or until fork tender. They should be done about the same time as waiting for the main dish to come to a simmer - if not, the main dish flavors will just be getting happier for having more time to meld. Don't sweat it. Throw the hot potatoes in a large bowl. Use a fork, or a pair of forks, or a knife, to open up the potatoes and start smashing. Add milk and butter, then go back to smashing the potatoes into the side of the bowl until you have something resembling really lumpy mashed potatoes. It shouldn't take more than 2-3 min of smashing, and is fabulous after a bad day. Add salt to taste.

Ladle strognaoff over potatoes in a bowl, eat.

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