Beef Stroganoff is one of those recipes popular in the 1970s that deserves to be revived, not that it’s ever really gone out of fashion in our house. Nor have prawn cocktails, come to think of it, though I’ve yet to serve up Scampi In A Basket. Give me time.
Beef Stroganoff has been thoroughly mongrelised over the years and I doubt if many 19th century Russians would recognise what’s usually put on the table today.
The original recipe, apparently, had no mushrooms and no onions, ingredients now considered integral. This is my version. It tastes luxurious but it’s quick to make – perfect for date night – or any night. I usually serve it with steamed rice but thick ribbons of noodles also work well.
8 oz/225g fillet steak (use the tail end, or try sirloin)
1 tbsp butter and a little oil
150g/about 5 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 large onion, finely sliced into half moons
1 fat clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 heaped tbsp crème fraiche
Heaped tbsp chopped parsley
A grating of nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
A squeeze of lemon juice
Cut the steak into thin slices, place them between two layers of grease-proof paper then bash them flat with a rolling pin or meat mallet. Slice them again into neat strips.
Slice the onions and mushrooms thinly.
Heat the butter and oil in a deep frying pan over a moderate heat and fry the mushrooms briefly to cook off some of their moisture. Remove and set aside.
Put the onions in the pan and fry gently until soft and golden, adding more oil if necessary. Add the garlic and cook for a couple of minutes more, then remove and set aside with the mushrooms.
Wipe out the pan, increase the heat to smoking hot, add a splash of oil and stir-fry the steak strips very quickly – you’re aiming for some colour on them without over-cooking.
Reduce the heat, put the onions and mushrooms back into the pan, stir in the creme fraiche and heat through gently.
Add the parsley, a grating of nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. Check the seasoning and stir in a squeeze of lemon juice to sharpen it if necessary.