Saturday, August 15, 2009

Highlight #210: Weeknight beef Stroganoff

I had cubed some beef in preparation for a red roasted dish, but ended up not having enough time to wait for the slow simmer required. At the last minute, I decided to reduce the cubes in size for a quick cooking improv beef Stroganoff.

Change of plans happen often in our household and I am generally ready to deal since I don't cook from recipes. Not bound by rules gives one a lot of freedom in the kitchen. Growing up in China, my mother never had a single cookbook in the house. For that matter, I never heard of friends' moms cooking from books either. Everything was passed down or figured out and generally done by feel.

Beef Stroganoff normally involves thin strips of meat that sear quickly. I had cubes, but because they are cut small, they can also be used for flash fry in a pinch. Once my beef is browned on all sides in some oil on high (just a few minutes), they were removed to a bowl.

To the same pan, I then added one small diced onion to brown on medium. While that is going, I sliced up a box of button mushrooms. When the onion started to look caramelized, the mushrooms went in with a toss of salt to help them sweat.

As the mushrooms got to the point of looking half reduced in size, I poured in about 1/4 glass of the white wine that I was drinking (a Sauvignon Blanc) along with a half cup of beef broth and a tiny pinch of nutmeg.

When all started to look good enough to eat (mushrooms sufficiently reduced to desired size), I tasted it for salt level and added some pepper. The beef went back in with about a cup of Greek yogurt for thickness once off the heat.

For a quick 20 minute main, it was pretty perfect over a bowl of rice with some veggie on the side and a glass of wine.

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