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Hats off to the genius who first seared steak in butter, decided to serve it over buttered noodles with gravy, and then was like, “You know what? This needs sour cream.”
If you’ve ever wondered about the birth of beef stroganoff (like I know I’ve spent many sleepless nights doing…), you’ve come to the right history class, my friend. Pull up a pencil, don a pair of loose-fitting pants, and let’s dive right in.
Just kidding, you don’t need a pencil! But some extra butter wouldn’t hurt.
There’s much deliberation over where this traditional comfort food originally came from. While some believe the dish got its roots in France, our trusty culinary guidebook, The Oxford Companion to Food, claims it’s of “Russian cookery.” (Fans of this tome can snag a copy of their very own on Amazon).
Despite the disagreements, those who take the topic seriously seem to have settled on the notion that, one way or another, it undoubtedly came from Russia by way of a French chef.
There are two Stroganovs potentially responsible for the recipe itself. First, Alexander Grigorievich Stroganov – a 19th-century Russian Minister of the Interior, self-proclaimed food enthusiast, and party-thrower who apparently partnered with his French chef to create the legendary meal.
And second, the 19th-century Russian diplomat Count Paul Stroganov, who is also occasionally cited as the originator.
Unfortunately, until I can get my time machine out of the shop, the story behind beef stroganoff’s true manifestation will be forever questionable. But as long as we can all eat and enjoy it together today, are you really that upset?
I know I’m not.
To be honest, here’s what I find most interesting about BS (that’s short for beef stroganoff, not Britney Spears, but we can discuss her another day):
Although you’ll do a double take at the clock when everything comes together in under an hour, after one bite of the juicy beef, you’ll have a hard time convincing even yourself that it didn’t simmer on the stove all day.
Beef stroganoff is assembled like many other one-pot beef dishes or slow-cooked stews. Sear the meat, saute the aromatics, build the sauce, and let the heat do the rest of the cooking.
Thanks to the dusting of flour on the beef, the thick sauce is built from the pan up, and the sear locks the juices inside the tender strips.
All they need is a quick reheat in the mushroom and onion-infused gravy and they’re ready to melt in your mouth.
Dry red wine adds richness and depth, while a dash of Worcestershire sauce brings a touch of smokiness.
And finishing the gravy with tangy sour cream? I mean, come on. We’re talking about another world entirely in terms of lush, silky texture.
But what’s the real secret? Come closer and I’ll tell you.
It’s all about seasoning every layer.
How many times have you taken a bite of a hearty-looking nosh, only to be underwhelmed by its lack of flavor? From the buttery noodles to the steak to the sauce, every component of this meal should be fully flavored, as if it was going to be consumed on its own.
No matter which Stroganov brought this classic to our plates in the first place, I guarantee he didn’t want us to eat it bland.Print
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
If a plate of golden-brown beef strips smothered in rich sour cream-infused gravy sounds like heaven, this beef stroganoff is sure to be right up your alley.
- 1 pound uncooked egg noodles
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 1 pound beef, a tender cut such as sirloin or flank steak
- 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt, divided, plus more to taste
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon neutral oil (such as vegetable or canola)
- 2 cups quartered cremini mushrooms with stems (about 6 ounces)
- 1 small white onion, thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup)
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup dry red wine
- 1 1/2 cups low-sodium beef stock
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon finely minced fresh chives
- Cook the egg noodles according to the package instructions, drain, set aside, and toss with 1 tablespoon of the butter to prevent sticking.
- While the noodles are cooking, thinly slice the steak against the grain into pieces about 1 inch thick, and then season all over with 1 teaspoon of the salt and 1/2 teaspoon of the pepper. Toss in the flour until evenly coated. Shake to remove any excess.
- Heat the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until melted.
- Add the steak, working in batches if necessary so you don’t crowd the pan, and cook until golden brown on all sides, about 3 minutes total. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the steak to a plate and set aside.
- Lower the heat to medium and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the mushrooms and saute until lightly browned, about 3 minutes.
- Add the onions and remaining 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Stir, and cook until the onions have softened, about 5 more minutes.
- Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 more minute, or until fragrant. Do not allow the garlic to brown.
- Deglaze the pan with the wine, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom, and cook until the liquid is reduced by half, about 2-3 minutes. Whisk in the beef stock and Worcestershire, and bring the mixture to a simmer. Stir occasionally and continue to cook for about 5 minutes, until the sauce thickens a bit.
- Remove the pan from the heat, whisk in the sour cream, and then add the steak and its juices back to the pan. Stir to combine. Season to taste with additional salt if needed, and then stir in the parsley.
- Divide the egg noodles among plates, top with even portions of the beef and sauce, and garnish with the chives.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Category: Beef
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Comfort Food
Keywords: beef, stroganoff, egg noodles, sour cream
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Cook the Egg Noodles and Prep the Beef
Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Thinly slice the beef against the grain into strips that are about 1 inch thick, cutting any long ones in half.
Place the flour in a wide, shallow bowl.
Cook the egg noodles according to the package instructions, drain in a colander, and place them back in the pot. Toss with 1 tablespoon of the butter to prevent sticking, and set aside. You can also use oil for this if you prefer.
While the noodles are cooking, season the steak with 1 teaspoon of the salt and 1/2 teaspoon of the pepper. Toss the seasoned meat in the flour until it’s evenly coated, shaking to remove any excess.
Step 2 – Prep the Aromatics and Sear the Beef
Trim the ends and quarter the cremini mushrooms, peel and thinly slice the onion, mince the garlic and chives, and chop the parsley.
Heat the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until it’s melted.
Add the steak, working in batches if necessary so you don’t crowd the pan, and cook until it’s golden brown on all sides, about 3 minutes total. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the steak to a plate and set aside.
Step 3 – Saute the Veggies and Build the Sauce
Lower the heat to medium, and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter.
Add the mushrooms and saute until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Add the onions and remaining 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cook until the onions have softened, for about 5 more minutes.
Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 more minute, or until fragrant. Do not allow the garlic to brown.
Deglaze the pan with the wine, scraping up any brown bits (aka fond) from the bottom, and cook until the liquid is reduced by half, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Step 4 – Thicken and Finish the Sauce
Whisk in the beef stock and Worcestershire, and bring the mixture to a simmer. Stir occasionally for about 5 minutes. This is how long it will take for the sauce to begin to thicken.
Remove the pan from the heat, and whisk in the sour cream. Add the steak and its juices back to the pan. Stir to combine.
Season to taste with additional salt if needed, which is usually necessary to make sure the dish isn’t bland, and then stir in the parsley.
Step 5 – Garnish and Serve
Divide the egg noodles among plates, top with even portions of the beef and sauce, and garnish with the chives. Dinner is served!
You’ll Swoon for this Savory Stroganoff
Trust me – you won’t have any beef with how easily this decadent dish comes together. A quick, creamy, stew-like meal disguised as a recipe that took all day to cook?
Sign me up.
Feel free to go heavy on the chives and parsley, as the bright herbs bring a little color and freshness. And it’s always a good idea to keep extra beef stock on hand for thinning and reheating the sauce, unless you and your dinner guests make this stroganoff disappear on the first round.
In that case, I say, job well done! I’m so proud.
For more red meat-centric comfort food classics, these recipes will warm you up from the inside out:
If there happens to be a worldwide shortage of egg noodles, don’t worry. Mashed potatoes or rice will also do the trick.
What starch will you reach for to soak up your stroganoff? Share your carby companions in the comments below! And don’t forget to give this recipe a five-star rating if you loved it.
Photos by Fanny Slater, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on November 29, 2010. Last updated on July 28, 2021.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Fanny Slater
Fanny Slater is a home-taught food enthusiast based in Wilmington, North Carolina who won the “Rachael Ray Show” Great American Cookbook Competition in 2014, and published her cookbook “Orange, Lavender & Figs” in 2016. Fanny is a food and beverage writer, recipe developer, and social media influencer. She was a co-host on the Food Network series “Kitchen Sink,” was featured on Cooking Channel’s longtime popular series “The Best Thing I Ever Ate,” and continues to appear regularly on the “Rachael Ray Show.”