Monday, March 5, 2018

Recipes: Aunt Helen's Stroganoff

Recently my cousin Shelly asked if I had the recipe for stroganoff that her Grandmother, my Aunt Helen Melat Steffee, used to make. Not only do I have it, but it is one of the few recipes I can make by memory. Aunt Helen first cooked the tasty stroganoff for me when I moved to the DC area for college in 1984. When I visited her on the weekends at her townhouse in Rockville, Maryland, the stroganoff was a recurring dinner staple.

This particular recipe was from a 1970s-era subscription deal from Better Homes and Gardens in which every month a packet of recipes would arrive in the mail (for the low, low monthly price of $9.95, or whatever that translates into 1970s dollars). The initial delivery came with a plastic container for the laminated recipe cards. She had a couple dozen recipes in that box, but there were only two recipes that I remember her making, one was the stroganoff and the other was a chicken and rice dish with peas and ham. The stroganoff was so good that I copied the recipe and began to make it myself. I really do not know how authentic it is to "real" stroganoff, but it is my go to recipe for it. The few times that I have ordered it at a restaurant have always left me disappointed.

So Shelly, here is the recipe... Bon Appetit!

2 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 lbs. beef stew meet, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons shortening (I use vegetable or olive oil)
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 4 oz. can sliced mushrooms (I use fresh mushrooms)
1 tablespoon beef bouillon (I use beef broth in place of the water and bouillon)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
4 drops red pepper sauce (to taste)
1/2 teaspoon salt (to taste)
1/4 teaspoon pepper (to taste)
1/2 cup sour cream

Cooked egg noodles

Combine the flour and salt and coat the stew meat, set aside.
In a large skillet, heat half the oil and sauté the onions and garlic.
Once the onions become translucent and have softened without browning, remove from skillet and set aside.
Add the remain oil and cook the beef until browned on all sides.
Once the beef is browned, return the onions and garlic to the skillet and add the water, tomato sauce, mushrooms, bouillon, Worcestershire sauce, pepper sauce, salt, and pepper.
Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook until beef is tender, about 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally; add water if necessary.
Once the beef is tender turn off the heat and stir in sour cream.
Serve over egg noodles.