DELICIOUS BEEF STROGANOFF – Beef stroganoff is one of my favorite dishes! The flavor is out of this world. One of the nicest slow cooker versions I’ve ever tried is my mother’s. It’s not only delicious, but it’s also very easy to make in the crockpot and then prepare the noodles when you’re ready to eat. This is a terrific dish for both return to school and fall. It will fill your home with a delectable aroma. With my little one starting school, having slow cooker meals ready to go is a must.
BEEF STROGANOFF HISTORY:
According to popular belief, Beef Stroganoff was invented in 1891 by a French chef working for a wealthy St. Petersburg family for a cooking competition. He titled the prize-winning dish after his boss, Count Pavel Alexandrovich Stroganov, as was the Russian norm at the time. One plausible explanation is that the small pieces of meat required were to suit the elderly Count’s deteriorating teeth.
It’s amazing what a bit of research can accomplish. After five minutes of research, I came to the conclusion that Pavel Alexandrovich was indeed old in 1891–117 years old, to be exact. And, as he was slain in battle 74 years before, the widely recognized and often copied version of the story cannot be real. However, this part is correct: in 1891, a French chef named Charles Briere won a cooking competition in St. Petersburg with a dish called Beef Stroganov.
DELICIOUS BEEF STROGANOFF
— 2 to 2 1/2 pounds chuck roast, chopped into 2-inch chunks
— 1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil (I used light olive oil)
— 4 tablespoons butter (half stick)
— generous salt and pepper
— 1 onion, chopped
— 8 to 12 ounces (ca. 454 g) mushrooms, quartered
— 1 teaspoon kosher salt
— 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper (or more to taste)
— 1 tablespoon dried parsley
— 2 teaspoons paprika
— 1 tablespoon garlic, smashed and minced
— 1 tablespoon tomato paste
— 1/2 cup red wine
— 1/2 cup water
— 2 teaspoons Better Than Bouillon Beef Base
— 12-16 ounces pappardelle pasta, plus water and salt
— 1 to 2 cups sour cream, to add after cooking
— fresh parsley, to garnish
— fresh chives, to garnish
Use a sharp serrated knife to cut the chuck roast into 2-inch chunks. Separate all the pieces out onto a work surface (I had mine on a cutting board) and dry them all over with paper towels.
Salt and pepper the pieces. Be generous. I used at least 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt.
Heat a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. When it is hot, add 1 tablespoon oil and swirl to coat.
Carefully place about 1/3 of the pieces of beef into the pan, one by one. Leave at least an inch or two of space in between. If you put them too close together (or just dump the meat in all at once), your meat will start to steam itself, and no browning will occur. (You may as well just skip the entire browning process altogether and dump the raw meat straight into the crockpot.)
Let the meat sear for about 1-2 minutes, then use tongs to flip each piece. When you see nice brown edges on both sides, transfer the meat to your slow cooker.
Continue searing the rest of the beef in one or two more batches, depending on space. Add more oil as necessary, and reduce the heat to medium if your pan starts to smoke. Remove all the meat to the slow cooker, but don’t clean out that pan. We need all those gorgeous brown bits.
Turn the heat off if you need to take a moment to chop your onion and slice your mushrooms if you haven’t already.
Melt 4 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat in the pan you seared the meat in. When it’s melted, add the chopped onion and quartered mushrooms. Add 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 2 teaspoons paprika, and 1 tablespoon dried parsley. Sauté for 5-8 minutes, until onions and mushrooms are soft.
Add 1 tablespoon smashed and minced garlic. Sauté for 1 minute until fragrant. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of tomato paste. I love to use these refrigerated tubes of tomato paste, so I don’t have to throw away the rest of a 6-oz can.
Add 1/2 cup red wine (I used cooking wine) and 1/2 cup water. Add 2 teaspoons Better Than Bouillon Beef Base.* Let the mixture come to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to a simmer and let cook for another 5-7 minutes until it has reduced a bit.
Transfer the mixture to the slow cooker, adding in every last drop. Stir it together with the beef.
Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, or on high for 4 hours.
Fill a large pot with water and about a tablespoon of salt (it should taste like seawater.) Bring the water to a boil and add the pappardelle pasta. Stir constantly to make sure the noodles don’t stick. Cook according to package instructions, usually about 3 minutes. Boil until al dente, don’t overcook.
Drain and add olive oil, stirring to coat.
Add some pasta to a serving plate.** Top with beef stroganoff. The chunks of beef may be big, but it so forks tender, your guests can take care of it themselves at the table.
Add a big dollop of sour cream to each plate. Top with fresh parsley and fresh chives.