Comfort food is just that, comforting. I have loved this dish in any form since I was a kid. Not sure if it is the beef or the sour cream. Probably both. I confess, I am even a huge fan of the condensed cream of mushroom soup and sour cream version of beef stroganoff, a tiny bit of childhood on a fork. But my grown up palate wanted to have something heartier, deeper, and richer. I have toyed with recipes over the years but this is by far the best version I have concocted to date.
I craved bolder flavors but not just tang from adding more sour cream. I wanted large tender chunks of beef, but despite this dish originally being an opulent creation for Russian royalty, tender filets are out of my budget. I refuse to use ground beef and even steaks that I cube myself are beyond the purse-strings. Being a busy single mom, the slow cooker is my friend. I opted to use tough chunks of stewing beef being made tender all day long in a delicious broth.
I’ve watched enough cooking programs to know that ‘brown’ food isn’t all that appealing, that chefs want color and vibrancy. I agree…it looks blah, but goodness, that is all that is blah about it. It is packed with zest, all the tang from the sour cream, the deep, rich beef flavor, and freshness provided from the parsley. I forgave it the blah appearance; I think you will too.
There are a few ingredients in this beef stroganoff that may seem nontraditional, but I promise, they are what has made the difference. I remember the first time I read that traditional Russian stroganoff had tomato paste it in, I was floored, since then I have learned to just be slightly more open minded… Dr Pepper, yes, nontraditional, but the carbonation really helps tenderize the beef and the bit of sweetness lends a depth to the broth that is eventually used in the main dish.
Update 2/6/15. Well I made this original post a year ago, before I even published my blog. I love cooking but I have missed eating/cooking some of my old favorites and I have wanted to re-do some of my original pictures that are horrible. So why not recook the favorites to get new pictures. It’s a win-win. Those of you who saw this original post, I’m happy you’re still around reading. If you didn’t see the original, I’m sure happy to have you hear now! It’s been a great year.
In the slow cooker
- 1 1/2 cups low-sodium beef broth
- 1/2 cup Dr. Pepper*
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 cloves grated garlic (or minced)
- 1/2 onion , chunked; large
- 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 pounds stewing beef
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 1 pound mushrooms; sliced
- 1 1/2 medium ; sliced thinly
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp flour
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 1/2 cups broth from stewing beef
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/8 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley (fresh is best, as it adds a brightness to these deep rich flavors)
- Salt and pepper; to taste.
In the slow cooker
Add broth, Dr. Pepper, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, onion and black pepper in the slow cooker on low, mix well.
Heat a skillet, add olive oil and butter, add chunks of beef, being careful to not over crowd the pan, salt and pepper lightly and create a nice sear on each side.
Add to the slow cooker.
Taste the broth, salt as your palate guides.
Cook on low 6 hours.
In a heated pan, add olive oil and butter, sauté the onions for about 4 minutes, add mushrooms.
After about 3 minutes, add salt and pepper.
Remove beef from broth and add to onions and mushrooms.
Mix in sour cream and once smooth, add 1 cup of beef broth to the pan, reserving 1/2 cup in a bowl.
Whisk flour and tomato paste with reserved broth, making sure it is smooth and free from clumps.
Slowly add to the pan, once well mixed, add majority of parsley, salt and pepper to taste.
Garnishing with remaining parsley.
Serve over egg noodles, potatoes, how however desired.