Monday, February 14, 2011

Beef Stroganoff for My Valentine

Here it is....the meal that my husband survived many years ago.  The first meal I ever prepared for him could have been his last.  I've long passed the embarrassment of it all.  After all, I was young and culinarily unsophisticated.  I was a career girl.

To set the scene, this young man was different from the others I dated.  He was European.  He really was interested in art, classical music and Shakespeare.  I had to impress him.  I went to the library and started going through the Betty Crocker cookbook.  I spent a long time reading recipes and picturing them on my table.  When I found a recipe for beef stroganoff I knew I had my entree.  I made a list of the ingredients, checked the book out of the library and headed to the market.

Noodles, onions, garlic (dried and in a bottle), canned mushrooms, beef broth, sour cream were all easy to find but.....where was the 2"x3/4"x1/4" pieces of, as I recall, top round (or maybe chuck)?  After stopping at three super markets, I was almost in tears.  Then I remembered a butcher shop on the other side of town.  Alas, there was no package of beef cut into those dimensions.  I did, however, talk the butcher into cutting some for me.  Whew!

Andrew was coming for dinner at 7 p.m. the next day.  I was up early to clean the apartment and set the table.  Then I got to work preparing the stroganoff.  I wanted to be sure that I could get it right and decided to leave myself enough time to prepare another dish (goodness knows what!) if it wasn't good.  By 3 p.m., the entree was ready.  It was quite good.  I felt confident he would be really impressed.  I put  it in the oven set to the lowest possible temperature to keep it warm.  I slightly covered it to keep it moist.  There it sat, at the perfect temperature to cause a trip to the E.R., for the next FOUR HOURS!!!!!  Thank goodness it all ended well and, with many adjustments, we've enjoyed the dish many times since then.  My recipe today bears little resemblance to "Betty's".

Here's how I make it today.  All of the chopping and dicing can be done beforehand and the dish put together at the last minute.  To make the cutting of the beef easier, I partially freeze it.

Beef Stroganoff From a Writer's Kitchen

4 tsp vegetable oil
1 pound filet mignon or rib eye steaks, thinly sliced into
  2"x3/4"x1/4 pieces, approximately
1 8 oz package of cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 small onion, quartered and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried thyme
1 Tbsp flour
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 1/2 cups beef broth
1/2 cup dry red wine
Salt and pepper to taste
2/3 cup plain yogurt, preferably Greek, or sour cream

For serving:

4 cups of cooked and lightly buttered noodles
Chopped parsley or chopped green onion tops

1.  Heat 2 tsp of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the beef and cook quickly until browned on both sides.  This should take no more than 5 minutes.  Transfer the beef and juices to a heated plate and lightly cover with a paper towel.
2.  Heat the remaining oil and add the mushrooms.  Saute for about 3 minutes then add the onions sauteing for another 5 minutes or until the onions are translucent.  Add the garlic and stir for 1 minute more.  Sprinkle with the flour and mix well.  Stir in the tomato paste.  Stir in the beef broth, wine and salt and pepper to taste.  Cook over medium heat until the mixture thickens slightly.
3.  Lower the heat and stir in the yogurt or sour cream until incorporated.  Do not boil.  Stir in the beef  and slowly heat through.
4.  Serve over the buttered noodles.  Sprinkle with the parsley or green onion tops.

Put a pretty iris bouquet on the table!

And enjoy!  


  1. One of our favorites, from the early days, as at ypur house.

  2. I love Beef Stroganoff, haven't made it in ages-need to fix that:@)
    Happy Valentine's Day!

  3. That is a wonderful love story! Who knew that beef stroganoff = love! What a great way to celebrate the occasion every year.

  4. Oh, Bonnie, I loved this story! You know I can remember so well preparing beef strganoff for the first time and feeling like it was so sophisticated. Glad there was no ER visit involved! Happy Valentine's Day!

    The iris photo is beautiful! Everywhere I look I am seeing watercolor possibilities! LOL!

  5. Haven't made this is years, but it sounds like my recipe. In those early years of cooking, timing was the hardest thing to learn. I still have minutes and hours flying through my head as I plan on when everything will be ready and when to start what. It is a learned art....Must have been something about that meal...or was it have him stick around.

  6. Bonnie,

    Good story. I think I made the same recipe from the same book. I haven't made it for a while but I think I shall try it again.

    Happy Valentine's Day!


  7. That was such a cute story! Beef stroganoff was one of the first meals I learned to prepare also. I still make it once in a while, always a tummy pleaser:) Enjoy your Valentines Day!

  8. I've not made that in a long time -- one of our favorite foods -- i'll have to rectify that.

    What a great story . . . .

    Happy Valentine's Day

  9. The first dinner I ever made for my lovd ones was nothing to write home about that's for sure, we have both learned so much. Beef stroganoff is a classic and I am sure will appear today all over the world.

  10. Good thing he was okay, bless your heart, you tried so hard. You do make a dish look yummy.
    Happy Valentine Day.

  11. the dish looks as pretty as i am sure it taste and so do the iris. and here i thought you were going to say you made a bad dish, and it turned out it was good but sat in the oven. my dauther in law cooked her first turkey by stuffing it in a microwave and turning it on, you can imagine that mess. my grand mother on holidays and sunday always through a table cloth over all the left overs and we ate again that night and all survived.

  12. That looks amazing! Loved the story. I grow purple grape irises, and can't wait til they start popping up for me!!! Happy Valentine's Day!!

  13. I have always loved Beef Stroganoff - but oh my, Bonnie, yours sounds truly amazing. And the story that goes with it makes it even better! :)

    Happy, Happy Valentine's Day to you & yours!
    ~ Zuzu

  14. I LOVE your story! I have been waiting to hear it. You must have been soooo nervous! When did you find out that what you did was a no-no? I love the blue iris!!! Hope you have a waonderful day, Bonnie!!

  15. of course he loved it... he's European... we're all charmers x

  16. That iris is so beautiful. We love Beef Stroganoff; I usually get brave and make some speatzles to serve witht them.
    Happy Valentine's Day.

  17. I have never had Beef Stroganoff but this one looks super delicious. Hope you're having a sweet Valentine's Day :)

  18. This looks like a lovely stroganoff. Chicken Stroganoff was on every - literally every - buffet table in India. Your version is gorgeous to look at and I suspect it tastes every bit as good as it looks. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  19. Haha... cute story. Many years ago, I made gravy and didn't have any Kitchen Boquet, which is what my mom always used to color the gravy. I mixed green and red food coloring thinking that I would end up with brown. Nope. The gravy was green. My ex and I still laugh about that!

  20. Great story, and the best part is that he married you in spite of the the beef stroganoff! LOL!!! We love this dish and I haven't made it in years!

    Happy Valentine's Day to you and your family! Please stop by if you have time for some sinful dessert!


  21. Oh no! At first I was laughing at your not being able to find the meat already. But then, the ER! Oh my gosh, did you both get sick?

  22. Sounds delish! Hope you both have a wonderful Valentine's Day! Carla

  23. No offence to Betty Crocker's efforts...but I'm sure you've done a much better meal the special 'Bonnie way'.

    The saying of the best way to a man's heart is through his tummy must ring true in your couple as it does mine ;o) Happy romantic evening together.

    A very big hug to you,

  24. I love the beef stroganoff and forget to make it more often! your story is charming and I enjoyed reading it.

  25. Loved your story- glad everything worked out so well! Your stroganoff looks good- my valentine would love it as well. :)

  26. I loved the story and this meal will always remind you of that time. That's the good thing about food it brings also memories. Beautiful Stroganoff.


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