Tuesday, November 2, 2010

comfort food

It's not just the abrupt and startling (and unwelcomed) blast of chilliness that's got me longing for comfort food. No, instead, it's a whole slew of other non-weather-related things that have managed to do a number on my appetite. Flavors are temporarily coming across somewhat muted and so my natural next step is to turn to soothing textures. And warmth. And there's nothing more soul-satisfying and comforting than a piping hot bowl full of familiarity that's enriched with some cream and spooned over buttered and parsley-flecked egg noodles.

Beef Stroganoff may not be instinctual for you, but there's something about the old school'ness of it that sends me right home. In fact, I promptly called my mom this morning to get this recipe from one of the cookbooks that happily fed us throughout my childhood, appropriately called Dinner In Minutes. Which means you can cozy up to this meal at the drop of a hat--and we all know that when we're hit with pangs of sadness or homesickness or whatever else it may be, there's a sense of urgency. And the faster, the better.

Beef Strognaoff
Recipe Courtesy of Dinner In Minutes (and amended by Mom)
1 1/4 pounds flank, rib eye, skirt or lean sirloin steak
1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
1 pound mushrooms, sliced (about 4 cups)
1 medium onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
1 1/2 cups low fat chicken stock
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons dijon mustard or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon worcestershire sauce or more to taste
salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Remove fat from meat and slice into thin strips about 1/4 inch thick. If using flank steak, slice across the grain. Place 1/2 tablespoon oil in a nonstick skillet and brown a few slices at a time on high heat, adding more oil as needed. Do not overcook; the meat should be juicy and slightly rare. As soon as the meat is browned, remove from the pan. Continue to brown all meat slices in this manner. Add onions and sauté until transparent, about 10 minutes. If the pan seems too dry, add about 1/4 cup water to prevent burning.

Add mushrooms and cook for a few minutes. Pour in chicken stock. Add tomato paste, mustard, worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Mix thoroughly, scraping the bottom of the pan to incorporate all of the browned bits into the sauce. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes to reduce the sauce and slightly thicken it. Taste. You may need to add sugar and a little more worcestershire sauce or mustard. There should be a delicate blend of flavors. Return meat to sauce and add cream and sour cream. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes without boiling to rewarm meat. Taste for seasoning again. Stir in parsley right before serving.

To serve: Place cooked, buttered egg noodles on each plate and serve stroganoff over noodles. Sprinkle with a little bit more parsley.


Anonymous said...

I'm with you on the comfort food thing - but for me, it IS the cold weather that's got me craving it!

Kiira Leess said...

stay warm!!


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