Julia Child’s teachings are wonderful, and in fact, her Mastering the Art of French Cooking is my go-to food Bible, when the urge hits for the basics, for when I need help creating a sauce. I know that Julia, and several pats of butter, will see me through.
She’s hard to follow, though, and I spend a lot of time bouncing back and forth between recipes, which all interconnect to create the whole. One must go to page 325 for the Sauté de Boeuf à la Parisienne, (which turns out to be a beef preparation with mushrooms and cream sauce, essentially a stroganoff, French-style) and then jog over to page 513 if you’d like to know how to prepare the mushrooms. Since mushrooms and stroganoff go hand in hand, in my mind, I don’t understand her rationale for splitting them up.
I used to think that Julia was saving space, penny-pinching on the number of pages in her cookbook, but since it counts in at 684, not to mention thirty-two pages of Indexes, I’m guessing that a page count didn’t weigh heavily on her mind. More likely, she felt that having readers traipse through her cookbook was a great way to expose them to more of her goodies.
Except, I tend to be scatterbrained, and prefer a bit more linearity when I’m cooking. Without it, I’m sure to leave out some elemental ingredient. I use her fantastic recipes as a guide, my railroad tracks to French cookery, because Julia, very simply, is perfection. But then I derail, and play on my own. I think you’ll find the results are equally satisfying, if not plate-licking.
Classic Beef Stroganoff Recipe
1 lb white mushrooms, stem ends removed, sliced
6-8 T unsalted butter, divided
3 T olive oil, divided
3 T green onions, sliced
2 1/2 lbs top sirloin steak, fat removed and diced into 1 inch pieces
1/2 cup Madeira
1 1/4 cup low-salt beef stock
2 T fresh thyme leaves
1 cup Crème Fraîche or sour cream
scant shake of nutmeg
1 T cornstarch
1 T cold water
Note: combine cornstarch and water in small bowl, stirring until starch is dissolved. Set aside until ready to use.
salt and pepper to taste
1 lb pasta
Note: Prepare pasta while prepping the vegetables and meat. Drain and toss with one tablespoon olive oil to prevent it from sticking, cover with lid, and set aside.
In large, heavy skillet, melt 2 T butter and 1 T oil over medium-high heat until froth from butter subsides. Sauté mushrooms and green onions, stirring gently, for approximately 5 minutes, until lightly browned and juices from mushrooms have reabsorbed. Remove to bowl and set aside.
In same skillet, melt 2 T butter and 1 T oil over medium-high heat. Again, when foam from butter subsides, sauté the beef until just browned, but interior is still pink, tossing meat to keep it from sticking, for about 5-6 minutes. Add butter if necessary to keep beef browning evenly. Remove with slotted spoon to a bowl, leaving juices collected in skillet.
Add Madeira and stock into skillet and bring to a boil, scraping any browned bits from pan bottom. Lower heat to medium-high and add thyme and nutmeg, keeping on a medium boil until reduced to about 3/4 cup. Reduce heat to medium and add Crème Fraîche or sour cream, whisking to combine and removing clumps. Add cornstarch mixture. Stir continuously to prevent lumps, for one minute. The sauce should be smooth, and coat the back of a spoon lightly. If it’s too thick, add a bit of broth to correct consistency, stirring to combine. Add mushrooms, with heat on simmer, stirring to combine. Taste sauce to correct seasonings, adding salt and pepper if necessary.
Lightly salt and pepper beef in reserved bowl. Add it to skillet, stirring gently to coat with sauce. Add 2 T butter, stirring until melted. Simmer for 2-3 minutes, or less, if the beef appears cooked. Do not overcook.
Serve over noodles. Serves 4-6.
Want another beef recipe? Try this Classic Beef Bourguignon Recipe.
Stephanie Davis, founder of Albarello products, wine educator and wine personality, thinks this creamy, meaty comfort food would be fabulous with your favorite Merlot. One of Stephanie’s all time favorites is Duckhorn Merlot. At $49/bottle, it’s a treat, but she recommends telling yourself it is a “self care day.” Go for it!
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Award-winning author Emily Kemme writes about human nature, illuminating the everyday in a way that highlights its brilliance. Follow her on her blog, Feeding the Famished, https://www.facebook.com/EmilyKemme, or on Twitter @. Life inspired. Vodka tempered.