Wednesday, November 07, 2012

RQ Cooks - Stroganoff

Or masturbating cow, as we like to call it.

I have been trying to make good stroganoff from cheap cuts of meat since FOREVER. All the recipes I've found either want sirloin or tenderloin or something spendy, or hamburger which is just NOT COOL.

But I want to use good old fashioned chuck roast. The deal with using this instead of spendier meat is that it requires braising to turn it into something edible instead of shoe leather. Braising takes 2 hours, minimum. It's a time investment, but the actual work of cooking it only takes a half hour or so.'

First slice up a bunch of crimini or button mushrooms. I use between half a pound to 3/4 of a pound depending on how bit the meat hunk is. Also slice up a large yellow onion or 2. In a large skillet, melt some butter in with some olive oil. The oil keeps the butter from burning. Throw mushrooms and onions in pan and saute until the onions sweat, about 5 mins. Move mixture to a bowl and set aside.

Take your chuckroast. I got a deal and had a good 3 pound roast. Get a good knife. I use a long, serrated bread knife for this. The teeth go through the meat like, well teeth. Slice the meat in to thin strips. If you can't do thin strips, then do smallerish cubes. Cut off some of the fatty parts, but not all because fat=flavor and because fat helps with the breakdown of the meat fibers that leads to tender meaty awesomeness when braising.

Throw some more oil in the mushroom pan and brown up the meat. Season the meat with salt and pepper while it's browning.  You may have to do this in batches. After the meat is browned, grab a glass of red wine and use it to deglaze the pan. The pour the stuff from the pan into a large dutch oven (if you are making a smaller batch of stroganoff, you may be able to keep everything in the frying pan if you have a good lid for it). Throw the meat into the wine. Add beef stock (shout out to better than bullion- heyyyyy!) of about 6 cups for 3 lbs meat. Get out the Worcestershire sauce. Pour it 3 times around the pan. Stir the stuff up and bring it to a boil. The cover and reduce to simmer. Ignore it for an hour.

At the one hour mark, put the mushrooms and onions back in the pot. Make a cornstarch slurry (a table spoon or 2 of cornstarch mixed into cold water) and throw that in the pot too. Ignore it for another hour. Have a whiskey coke. Watch an episode of Firefly.

Check the liquid level. If it is too soupy you can either try more cornstarch or cook with the lid off for awhile. If it looks to low add a little stock or water. Before you add the sour cream in it should look a bit like watery stew. 

Make the noodles. Generously salt the noodle water. Cook a package (or 2 if you just made enough stroganoff to feed an army) according to the instructions. While the noodles are cooking, add sour cream to the meat. Use a large container of sour cream if you just cooked a whole cow, or just glop spoonfuls in and stir if you made less. When sauce is coffee with 2 creams-colored, you've got it right.

Serve over noodles. Enjoy the oohs and ahhhs of people stuffing it in their faces.