Classic Comfort: Beef Stroganoff

Some people find cooking for others intimidating. On the other hand, there are those who relish spending an afternoon in the kitchen preparing food for guests. I’m definitely in the latter camp.

I was in my glory yesterday, when we entertained out-of-town relatives. I prepared stroganoff, using a nice elk roast instead of beef. For dessert, we made a fresh rhubarb crisp that was served with ice cream.

Stroganoff is one of those classic comfort foods that practically everyone likes. Most stroganoff include onions and mushrooms among its ingredients.

But no two recipes are the same. Some are served over noodles, others with rice. Some might include cream of mushroom soup, beef broth and/or cooking sherry.

The recipe I used was a combination of two that caught me eye a couple of months ago. This was the second time I made the dish. Both times it turned out great.

Of course, the coup de grace of stroganoff is the sour cream sauce, which means it can have more fat and calories than you might like.

Here’s a light version of stroganoff that uses reduced-fat sour cream to trim the calories and fat without sacrificing flavor. Following that is my version.

Light Beef Stroganoff
4 cups uncooked medium no-yolk noodles (about 8 ounces)
1 cup reduced-sodium, fat-free beef broth
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon salt, divided
¼ teaspoon black pepper, divided
Nonstick cooking spray
1 pound boneless sirloin steak (about ½-inch thick)
1 cup chopped onion
1 8-ounce package presliced mushrooms
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ cup reduced-fat sour cream
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
Cook the noodles according to package directions, omitting salt and oil.
While the noodles cook, whisk together the beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, tomato paste, ½ teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl.
Spray a Dutch oven or large pot with nonstick cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat. Sprinkle beef with the remaining ½ teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Add beef to pan and cook about 3½ minutes. Remove from pan.
Add the onion and mushrooms to pan; saute 3 minutes or until mushrooms are tender. Stir in flour; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in broth mixture; cook 1 minute or until slightly thick, stirring constantly.
Cut the beef into thin strips; return to pan. Stir in cooked pasta, sour cream and parsley; cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated.
Yield: Serves 5.
Note: Steamed broccoli or brussels sprouts are good accompaniments to this satisfying classic dish.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 353 calories, 26 percent of calories from fat, 8 grams fat (3 grams saturated), 43 grams carbohydrates, 26 grams protein, 569 milligrams sodium, 57 milligrams cholesterol, 56 milligrams calcium, 3 grams fiber.

Jeff’s Beef Stroganoff
1 pound lean beef steak, about ½-inch thick
2 tablespoons butter
½ pound mushrooms, washed trimmed and sliced
1 medium onion, minced (about ½ cup)
1 10½ ounce can condensed beef broth
1 10-ounce can cream of mushroom soup
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon paprika
6 tablespoons flour
1 cup sour cream
¼ cup cooking sherry
3 to 4 cups hot cooked wide egg noodles
Cut meat across the grain into ½-inch strips, about 1½ inches long. Melt butter in large skillet. Add onion and garlic; cook and stir until onion is tender. Add and saute beef until cooked through. Add 3 tablespoons flour, spices and mushrooms. Simmer for 5 minutes.
Add soup and ½ the broth. Stir in ketchup, tomato paste, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer 15 minutes.
Blend reserved broth and 3 tablespoons flour then stir into meat mixture. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Reduce heat. Stir in sour cream and sherry, heat through.
Serve over noodles.
Note: If you need to thicken add some cornstarch dissolved in warm water.
Yield: Serves 4.

Stroganoff Beyond Beef

I love a good stroganoff. It’s classic comfort food.

People are most familiar with the beef version, and that probably was the first I ever tried. Now, being a hunter and usually a successful one, I’m especially fond of those made from venison or elk.

But once in a while, I like to change things up. With a freezer that contains several pheasants, I recently decided to put together a stroganoff featuring the popular gamebird. And instead of using egg noodles, which is standard fare with stroganoff, I made mashed potatoes. I also decided to toss in some frozen green peas.

To try keep the lid on the calories, I used reduced-fat sour cream for the stroganoff to offset a can of cream of mushroom with roasted garlic soup. And I also used skim milk for the mashed potatoes.

The result was a tasty entree that still had the comforting taste of the traditional Russian dish. An oil-and-vinegar salad containing lettuce, chopped shallots and carrots rounded out the meal.

If you’re in the mood to try something different, give this recipe a try. Or if you want to stick to the traditional version, here’s also one containing beef.

Chicken Stroganoff
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 chicken breasts or 4 pheasant breasts
1 onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup frozen peas
½ cup red wine
1 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons Worchestershire sauce
1 teaspoon nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
2 teaspoons Louisiana Cajun seasoning
½ to 1 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 10¾-ounce can Campbell’s Cream of Roasted Garlic soup
Place chicken or pheasant breasts in 1-quart sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Reserve broth. Let meat cool and then cut into small chunks.
Meanwhile, saute onions, garlic and celery in olive oil. Add meat and cook for another 5 minutes.
Add the rest of the ingredients except broth. Heat over medium heat for 1 to 2 hours, gradually adding the broth as the sauce thickens.
Near the end of cooking, dissolve cornstarch in water and gradually add to sauce.
Serve over mashed potatoes or egg noodles.
Beef Stroganoff
Steamed broccoli or brussels sprouts are good accompaniments to this satisfying classic dish.
4 cups uncooked medium no-yolk noodles (about 8 ounces)
1 cup reduced-sodium, fat-free beef broth
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon salt, divided
¼ teaspoon black pepper, divided
Nonstick cooking spray
1 pound boneless sirloin steak (about ½-inch thick)
1 cup chopped onion
1  8-ounces package presliced mushrooms
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ cup reduced-fat sour cream
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
Cook the noodles according to package directions, omitting salt and oil.
While the noodles cook, whisk together the beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, tomato paste, ½ teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl.
Spray a Dutch oven or large pot with nonstick cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat. Sprinkle beef with the remaining ½ teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Add beef to pan and cook about 3 ½ minutes. Remove from pan.
Add the onion and mushrooms to pan; saute 3 minutes or until mushrooms are tender. Stir in flour; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in broth mixture; cook 1 minute or until slightly thick, stirring constantly.
Cut the beef into thin strips; return to pan. Stir in cooked pasta, sour cream and parsley; cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated.
Yield: Serves 5 (about 1½ cups per serving).
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 353 calories (26 percent from fat), 8 grams fat (3 grams saturated), 43 grams carbohydrates, 26 grams protein, 569 milligrams sodium, 57 milligramms cholesterol, 56 milligrams calcium, 3 grams fiber.