Like cheese or fine wine, some recipes age well with time. We all have our favorites that make better leftovers the second day, but I’m thinking more long term than that. Beef Stroganoff has long been a family favorite and I’ve learned to tweak the recipe over the years in ways that has garnered my family’s approval. But I think we like it most because of the family memories we’ve stirred into the pot.
The Stroganoff Story
It was a stormy afternoon. A harsh wind blew ice pellets across the Kansas prairie that embedded themselves on pavement and made roads slick. From the warmth of our home, we listened to the wind howl, and we were content. Warm home, full pantry; there was even ice cream in the freezer that I still couldn’t figure out why I’d bought it in the midst of winter.
Then the phone rang. Would my preacher-husband come to the hospital? There’d been a bad wreck between a pick-up and a postal truck. Jack left and I started to make supper, figuring I had plenty of time to let it simmer on the stove till Jack got home.
I looked in my pot. I hadn’t calculated my amount of beef for the four of us very well; why was I making so much? The wind gusted and I thought, biscuits would be nice. But why was I going to extra trouble to make biscuits? On a bitter winter day, biscuits sounded—nice.
The phone rang again. It was Jack. The pick-up driver had died in the collision. The postal worker was unhurt, but his truck was totaled. His family lived 45 minutes away and the storm had intensified so they couldn’t come get him. “Can I bring the man home to stay for supper and overnight?” Jack asked.
But of course. And then I took a second look at my stroganoff and pan of biscuits, and remembered the ice cream in the freezer. God had known long before I did that I would need that extra serving of stroganoff and the other food.
The Emerging Recipe
I’ve learned two tweaks over the years with Beef Stroganoff.
First, I’ve started to use “Better Than Bouillon Beef Base.” This stuff is wonderful. It and its chicken counterpart make such a difference in recipes. You’ll never want to use those bouillon cubes or cartons of broth again.
Also, my nephew gave me an enamel cast iron Dutch oven for Christmas. At first, I was skeptical. But for Beef Stroganoff, this was a game changer. It is so convenient to start the cooking and sauteing on the stove, put the Dutch oven in the oven, not needing to babysit it while it simmers on the stove, and then pull it out to add the thickening and sour cream. Everything in one pot. And for some crazy reason, it really does taste better.
My directions are for Beef Stroganoff in a Dutch Oven. You can easily adapt the recipe by using a covered skillet and simmering the stroganoff on the stove. It will still taste wonderful—especially when you stir in some special family moments of sharing it with others.
What’s your favorite dish to make in a cast iron Dutch Oven? Share about your dish in the comments below.
Dutch Oven Beef Stroganoff
- Dutch Oven
- 2-3 Tblsp vegetable oil
- 1/3 cup chopped onion
- 1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
- 1 lb round or chuck steak, cut in strips
- 2 Tblsp flour
- 1 cup water
- 1 tsp Better Than Bouillon beef base
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 Tblsp flour
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- Place enamel cast iron Dutchoven on top of burner. Turn burner on to medium heat. Heat pan just a little;add 1 Tblsp oil. When oil is hot, add chopped onion, and cook, stirring for 2minutes. Add mushrooms and cook for 2 more minutes. Remove from pan.
- Add 1 Tblsp oil and heat.Dredge beef in flour. Add half of beef to Dutch oven, making sure there is only a single layer of beef. If you put all the beef in and it lays on top of each other, the meat will steam rather than saute. Saute till just brown; remove. If needed, add more oil to the pan and cook the second batch of beef. Remove.
- Add water, Worcestershire sauce, and beef base to Dutch oven. Stir until the beef base is dissolved and all the stuck particles on the bottom of the pan come loose. Add beef, onions, and mushrooms; stir. Turn off heat, put on the lid, and put entire Dutch oven into a 325 degree oven.
- Cook for 1 hour. Remove fromoven, place on stove burner and return heat to medium. Stir 1 Tblsp flour into¼ cup water; stir into stroganoff and continue stirring until liquid thickens.Turn off heat and add ¼ cup sour cream, stirring until smooth.
- Serve over hot egg noodles or mashed potatoes.
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