When Count Pavel Alexandrovich Stroganov wasn’t busy commanding the Russian infantry in Napoleonic Wars, he feasted at home. Historians suggest that an early version of the stroganoff the world came to love was served in Stroganov’s family kitchens for many years before it was published in a Russian cookbook in 1871. Early stroganoffs featured beef cooked in sour cream, with a little mustard, flour, butter, and not much else. However by 1927, when the dish was first published in America (in The Congressional Club Cook Book: Favorite National and International Recipes), it had evolved to include onions, mushrooms, stock, Worcestershire sauce, and even a little pureed tomato. Our version builds on a recipe that Gourmet magazine published in 1963. Like the early versions of the dish, it’s made with tiny cubes of meat (we chose veal) simmered in butter. But we’ve included a full pound of Cremini mushrooms, a cup of medium-dry sherry, and just a little bit of sour cream. Try it over pappardelle egg noodles, with shaved parmesan and a sprinkling of parsley. If you can’t get veal, this is also good with finely cubed pork loin. For a fully vegetarian version, just double up the Cremini mushrooms and leave out the meat entirely, switching to vegetable stock instead of chicken or veal stock.
CLASSIC VEAL STROGANOFF
- 1 pound Cremini (baby Portabella) mushrooms, sliced thin
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 pounds veal blade steak (thin-sliced veal shoulder) bones removed and discarded, meat cut into tiny cubes
- 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup medium-dry sherry
- 1 cup good-quality chicken or veal stock
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- freshly-ground salt and pepper to taste
- 3/4 pound pappardelle egg noodles
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- Shaved parmesan & fresh snipped parsley, to garnish
- In a heavy sauté pan over medium heat, melt 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) of butter. Sauté the mushrooms. Drain and reserve the liquid—there won’t be very much. Set cooked mushrooms aside. Melt the remaining 1/2 stick of butter and sauté the onion until it begins to soften. Add cubed veal and sauté until the veal no longer shows any pink. Reduce heat to low. Sprinkle flour over the veal; whisk in stock, sherry, and the reserved mushroom liquid. Whisk and continue simmering until the mixture thickens. Add Worcestershire sauce, paprika, salt, and pepper. Adjust seasonings as needed. Keep warm while you cook noodles.
- Cook noodles in boiling salted water until just tender and drain.
- Stir reserved mushrooms and 1/2 cup of sour cream into stroganoff sauce mixture.
- Serve sauce over noodles, garnished with shaved parmesan and snipped parsley.