Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Different Kind of Stroganoff

I love Stroganoff, in fact it was one of my favorite meals growing up, only I remember it always coming out of a box. You know the one I'm talking about, the one with the little hand on it, you know....Hamburger Helper.

It wasn't until I was an adult that I realized you could actually make this wonderful thing from scratch. Okay, give me some credit here, this is before my discovery of all things culinary, before I became the culinary creator that you know today! :) And how did I discover this lovely little tid-bit of information you ask? Well my best friend since forever, Becca, of course! And ever since she first taught me her mom's version I have been slightly obsessed with inventing my own.

And I believe that I have finally done it! Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I do believe I have reached culinary victory with this one. It is not the usual Stroganoff recipe that you are used to, though you will recognize many of its components from more traditional versions. I know the picture is not great, this was one of my first experiences shooting food. I know I need a lot of practice. That's exactly why there is only one picture for this one. Ugh!


1 lb. Browned Hamburger
1/2 Large Onion, diced
4 oz. Can Mushrooms, diced (I dice mine because my kids hate them. This way I can hide them a little easier)
1 Tbsp. Minced Garlic
3 Tbsp. Flour
2 Cups Chicken Broth
1/4 Cup Tomato Sauce
2 oz. Cream Cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 lb. Noodles of choice, prefer egg noodle, but macaroni will do in a pinch
Pasta Water to thin out sauce

In large stock pot, bring water to a boil. Once the water has reached a rolling boil, add about 2 Tbsp. of salt to the water. This is the only chance you have to season your pasta. Make sure you stir the pasta occasionally to prevent it from sticking together. (Cook pasta until it is al dente or to the bite. You don't want mushy pasta. Which is what most Americans are used to.) While the pasta cooks, brown hamburger meat with garlic, season with some salt and pepper, but don't over do it. Remember you will be salting later as well. When the meat is half way cooked (there is still red pieces) add onion. Allow to cook a minute and then add the mushrooms. Once the onions are translucent or tender add the flour and stir. Cook for a minute or two in order to cook out the flour flavor. Then add 2 cups of the chicken broth and stir. Once the sauce has thickened up add the tomato sauce and cream cheese. Allow the cream cheese to melt. Salt and pepper to taste. Once the noodles are done begin adding them to the sauce. Stirring the noodles after each addition to ensure all the noodles get coated. If it appears that the sauce is too thick or it is not coating the noodles well add a ladle of pasta water then stir. Pasta water will help the sauce actually stick to the pasta. I know it sounds weird, but trust me. It has to do with the starch in the water. Keep adding noodles until all are covered in sauce, adding pasta water as needed to thin out the sauce.

Serve and eat, eat, eat! This is one dish where there are never any left overs at my house. In fact we all end up fighting over the last helping.

So, does your family have a version of Stroganoff? If so, I would love to hear about it!

"Devouring worlds, one book and recipe at a time."

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