Post #460 Beef Stroganoff Done Right

March 4, 2016 at 12:01 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

It’s a cold, snow day and it’s time for something warm and comforting.  So I’m going to tell you about a meal I made on Wednesday that’s perfect for this kind of day.  It’s Beef Stroganoff.  There are quicker and easier ways to make this dish, but for the subtle flavors and depth and richness, it’s gotta be done this way and no other.  Unfortunately, I have no pictures of this dish, so I’ll leave it to your imagination.

First, the ingredients.

  • 2 pounds chuck roast, cut into strips 1/2 inch thick, and two inches long, and one inch wide
  • 2 cups of thinly sliced onion
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1-2 tablespoons prepared mustard
  • 1/2 cup white or red wine
  • 1/2 cup more thinly sliced onion
  • 2 cups mushroom caps quartered, no stems
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 4 cups cooked noodles
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

To develop the flavors in this dish, it’s necessary to cook it slowly so plan on a three hour prep and cook time for it.  First, heat a tablespoon of oil in a large skillet until shimmering.  Sauté the beef slices in the oil 2-3 minutes per side.  Cook in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan.  This allow the meat to brown and not steam.  Remove the meat to a bowl and set aside.  In the same pan, add another half tablespoon of oil if needed, and sauté the onion until limp and translucent.  Add the garlic and mustard and beef and stir to combine.  In a jar, combine the beef broth and flour and shake vigorously to create a slurry.  Stir this into the pan mixing completely.  When the sauce thickens, reduce the heat to create a simmer and cover the pan tightly.  Simmer for two hours until the beef is fork tender.  Stir every 20-30 minutes to avoid sticking or scorching.  When the beef is tender, sprinkle it with salt and pepper.  Do not be surprised to see there are onions left in the pan.  They will melt into the sauce and leave an incredible flavor.  Pour in the wine, extra onions, and mushrooms and stir to combine.  Cover and cook another 30 minutes for flavors to blend.

While the beef is cooking, I made homemade noodles.  Since I made homemade, and they cook pretty quickly, I started the water boiling after the beef was done.  If you’re using dried noodles, start the water boiling during the last half hour of cooking.  Once the noodles are done, place in a bowl and set aside.

Just before serving, stir in the sour cream.  Stir until the sour cream is completely blended and there are no lumps.  This will help thicken the gravy and give it the light signature color of stroganoff.  Pour into a bowl with a ladle to serve.

Place some noodles on a plate or a soup bowl and ladle the beef stroganoff over them.  Eat hot with some crusty bread and/or a leafy green salad.  Good stuff.  Hot and perfect for a snowy evening.

Enjoy

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Post #459 Mac and Cheese to the Nth Degree

March 2, 2016 at 5:58 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Post #459 Mac and Cheese to the Nth Degree

The other night I was assisting a cashier by bagging up groceries.  It was after ten o’clock so there was only the cashier and myself on duty.  I was caught up on my closing routine so I was enjoying myself by talking and bantering with the customers.  One young lady and her mom were checking out and had bought a boxed mac and cheese kit, some rolls, and some crab meat that had sunflower seeds in it.  I asked if they were making crab salad to go with the mac and cheese.  The daughter said no, she was putting the crab and sunflower seeds in the mac and cheese.

The mom shook her head commenting that it was a waste of good crab meat.

I told them about a restaurant in Tucson that specialized in mac and cheese and made it in dozens of different ways.  One of those ways was mac and cheese with lobster.

The mom, with a small grin and twinkle in her eye replied, “That must be wonderful.  Lobster and Velveeta.”

I couldn’t help but laugh.  “I’m sure it wasn’t Velveeta, but since I’ve never had it, I can’t say for certain.”

We all chuckled for the rest of the transaction and I bid them a good night.

But it got me thinking.  What actually is supposed to go into Mac and Cheese with Lobster?  Or really, any seafood?

At my gut level, I knew it wasn’t supposed to be a processed cheese.  Lobster is a high quality product so the cheese needs to be high quality.  Lobster is also very delicately flavored so the cheese needs to complement it, not overpower it.  It has sweet overtones, so for me the cheese would have to counterbalance that by being mild, but have a sharpness to it.

Also, the cheese needed to be white for a couple of reasons.  Lobster is white and you really don’t want blobs of white swimming in yellow sauce.    Also, since this is usually made as a casserole, you want some good browning on top and white cheese does thing really well.

Off to the internet I go!  In the back of my mind, I knew I could use mild cheeses and spice it up with some savory herbs and spices, but I wanted the cheese to be one of the stars.  Also, I didn’t want to have just melted cheese clinging to pasta and lobster.  I wanted a real sauce which meant using milk or cream.  High fat cheese doesn’t melt well into things that don’t have fat for it to cling to.  Since I don’t like milk or cream (or any of those dairy products apart from cheese) I wanted to keep it at a minimum.

I read through high end gourmet recipes and low end community church recipes.  I chuckled when I actually found a recipe that basically said fix the box mac and cheese and stir crab into it.  But I did notice that they tended to run along the same lines.  Here’s what I culled together.  Regrettably, I will not be able to try this as Partner/Spouse loathes all things seafood.  If you have a chance to try it, please let me know how it turns out.

lobster-mac-and-cheese

Mac and Cheese with Lobster

  • 2 cups cooked elbow pasta (or favorite shaped pasta)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup gruyere cheese, grated
  • 1 cup fontina cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper
  • 1 pinch pepper flakes, optional
  • 2-3 cups cooked lobster meat, cut into bite sized chunks
  • Sour Cream, optional

Heat oven to 375, and spray a large baking dish with cooking spray.  Place the hot drained pasta in a large bowl and stir in the cream and spices until thoroughly mixed.  Add the cheeses and stir to combine.  Add the lobster and gently mix so lobster remains in chunks.  Spread into baking dish and cook for 15-20 minutes, until cheese on top is golden brown and the casserole is heat throughout.  You can add bread crumbs to the top if you like.  Also, I think thin sliced celery pieces would add a nice flavor and crunch.  Put a dollop of sour cream on top if you like.

It certainly isn’t Velveeta, is it?

Enjoy

 

Lobster Mac and Cheese

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