Sunday, January 17, 2010

Rainy Day Food

Oh dear. It's a rainy, wintry day. What ever is a home chef to do? Beef stroganoff of course! Start with a creme fraiche base, some paprika and spices. Throw in some sauteed mushrooms, onions, and beef and you've got yourself a remedy for the rainy day blues. Ain't nothing more comforting, warming and filling than this stew. It's definitely one of my personal favorites that I've been making for years--summer, spring, winter, or fall! This recipe comes from the Silver Palate cookbook, with my suggestions in italics.

Here we go!

3 c creme fraiche (mix 1 1/2 c of sour cream and 1 1/2 c heavy cream in a bowl and cover overnight)
1 1/2 T Dijon mustard
3 T tomato paste
3 T Worcestershire sauce
2 t imported sweet paprika
3/4 t salt
fresh-ground black pepper to taste
1 t demiglace (this is basically way concentrated stock, and can be found at Whole Foods or at a specialty grocer)
1 lb firm white mushrooms (I find that crimini mushrooms contribute more flavor to the dish)
10 T butter, unsalted
24 pearl onions (red or white are fine)
3 lbs beef tips (I've used almost everything from sirloin to London Broil)
chopped fresh Italian parsley for garnish

Combine the creme fraiche, mustard, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, salt, pepper, and demiglace in a medium-sized saucepan and simmer slowly until the sauce is slightly reduced, 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, while completing the recipe.

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I used my Cusinart immersion blender, or as I call it, my disco stick. It's a rock star in the kitchen when I want sauces or dressings as smooth as possible. Stay tuned to see the disco stick's many other appendages!

Trim the stem ends off the mushrooms and discard. (I like to leave them on!) Wipe the mushrooms with a damp cloth and slice thinly. Melt three tablespoons of the butter in a medium-sized skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and sauté until tender and golden, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and reserve.

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Cut a small "X" in the root end of each pearl onion. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and drop in the onions. Blanch for 10 minutes, drain, and rinse under cold water. Peel the onions.

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Melt another 2 tablespoons of the butter in the same skillet over medium-low heat and sauté the onions until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer the onions to the bowl with the mushrooms.

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(Aren't they pretty? Such great coloring!)

Cut the meat into thin slices on the diagonal. Melt remaining butter (5 T) in the skillet and sauté the pieces of fillet over high heat until just lightly browned, 3 or 4 minutes. Transfer the pieces to a plate as each batch is browned.

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To complete, set the creme fraiche sauce over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Add the mushrooms, onions, and any accumulated juices from the bowl, and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the fillet slices and any accumulated juices and simmer until the meat is just heated through, about 2 minutes. Serve immediately, with chopped parsley.

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I served the dish with some sauteed cherry tomatoes and buttered egg noodles. While the cherry tomatoes are wonderful, I strongly recommend the egg noodles. The way they pick up the sauce from the stroganoff is simply divine!

Keep it classy, y'all!

<3 David

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