"Perhaps the most impressive of all the cookbook blogs are the three devoted to the 2004 edition of Gourmet magazine's "The Gourmet Cookbook" -- all 5¼ pounds and 1,300-odd recipes of it. Befitting this culinary Everest, all three writers are overachievers in their professional lives."

--Lee Gomes, The Wall Street Journal, May 28, 2008
"I should have told you before how much I've been enjoying reading your thoughts. You seem like such a great cook."

--Ruth Reichl, Editor-in-Chief of Gourmet Magazine, June 8 2008, comment on "Chocolate Velvet Ice Cream".

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Beef Stroganoff

I've actually made Beef Stroganoff three times in the past two weeks. My "side client", Catherine, wanted to have a dinner party, and in the endless conversation we had about what could be delivered early and heated up (since I worked that night) we hit on Beef Stroganoff. She wanted to sample it first, so I made it part of her plated food delivery. Then I made it at Sea Meadow when Dr. S. wanted "something creamy over toast" and Mrs. S. wanted "a nice steak". And then, of course, I made it for the dinner party, which was a grand success.

The link I've given you goes to Epicurious, but not to an archived Gourmet recipe--to a Bon Appetit one, but it's virtually identical to the one in the book. The only difference is that in the book they use sour cream instead of creme fraiche, and they also (online) add a little brandy, of which I approve--the version I made where I threw in some brandy was the best of the three.

What makes this dish different from the stroganoff of your childhood is the cut of beef. I'm betting pretty good money that your mom didn't use beef tenderloin, but you as an adult sure can, and it's worth it. You don't actually use THAT much meat, since the meal is well rounded out with lots of mushrooms and noodles. Catherine was a little thrown by the beef stew appearance of the stroganoff, but I think it's important to keep the meat in 1 inch chunks--otherwise I think it would dry out (being a low-fat cut of beef).

A word of caution--don't be tempted to jack up the sour cream quotient--it will make your sauce break. The proportions they give are perfect for nice creamy goodness, and if you really must have a little more dairy put it on the top as a garnish at the table. IF, however, your sauce starts to look kind of funny, whisk a little cold water or beef broth into it and get the darn stuff to the table pronto.

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