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Beef, Main Dishes, Pasta, Quick and Easy

Real Beef Stroganoff

by Nick

I’m from the generation that grew up on soup can dinners. Smart marketing departments came up with twists on traditional recipes that took out all the fuss and substituted in a can or two of their delicious Elmer’s-like goop and most of my generation’s parents ate it up.

I guess these dishes are still popular today, but I know that I pretty much grew up eating them. And while they actually taste okay, we can do better. One of the classic dishes where real ingredients get substituted for soup (of the mushroom variety) is beef stroganoff.

Here’s what I don’t get about the substitutions in this case: They really save you no time. Whether you use the can or real ingredients, it takes about the same time to prepare because you still need to cook the beef and the noodles and stuff.

You might save a buck or two, but we’ll completely make up for that in the flavor department.

Yield
Serves 4.
Prep Time
Total Time

Just a moment please...

Print Recipe Real Beef Stroganoff

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds beef tenderloin or sirloin, cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, trimmed and sliced (I like cremini)
  • 1/2 Cup chopped canned tomatoes
  • 1 Cup chicken or beef stock
  • 2/3 Cup sour cream
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard (opt.)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Chopped parsley for garnish (opt.)
  • 1 pound egg noodles
  • 2 Tablespoons butter (or the noodles)

Directions

1) Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Once melted, add beef and let brown well on all sides.  This should take 2-3 minutes a side.

2) Add onions and mushrooms to skillet after beef is browned and continue to cook for a few more minutes until veggies are tender.  Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.

3) Add tomatoes, stock, and mustard if you're using mustard.  Turn heat down to low and simmer for a few minutes.

4) Finally, stir in sour cream and garnish with some parsley if you want.

5) Cook egg noodles according to package.  Drain them and stir in a few tablespoons of butter to coat the noodles.

6) Serve stroganoff over noodles as soon as possible!

The Ingredients

As you can see, the ingredient list here is pretty simple. It’s really not a complicated dish. All the soup version does really is substitute some of the mushrooms and the sour cream for a can or two of the goop soup.

There is some chopping involved (onions, mushrooms, beef), but it’s pretty simple work. The mushrooms and onions should be kept in pretty large chunks.

basics

Keep it simple people.

To make the sauce, I used some chicken broth I had in the fridge. I wish I had homemade handy but I’m out of it at the moment. Also, I think if I were going to buy some stock just for this recipe, I would’ve gone with beef stock just to enhance the beef flavor, but this is what I had on hand. You can use either.

Fresh tomatoes would be good, but not in the winter. It’s better to just use canned in my opinion.

so soup

No soup sauce!

And don’t forget the noodles! These are non-negotiable in my opinion for this dish. They do such a perfect job of sopping up all the delicious sauce.

egg noodles

No substitutions!

Cooking the Dish

Start to finish this dish took me 30 minutes and some of that time I was futzing around with my camera. I bet you could do it even faster.

When all your ingredients are ready, melt your butter in a sturdy pan over medium-high heat. Once it’s melted and bubbling, add your beef chunks and brown well on all sides. Try not to move the beef too much when doing this.

Cook for a few minutes on each side until the pieces are nicely seared.

beef browning

I love this smell.

Then add the mushrooms and onions to the dish with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Stir this all together and continue to cook until the veggies are a bit soft.

This will probably take 5 or 6 minutes.

plus veg

Yum.

Next, add the tomatoes, stock, and mustard if you’re using it. I recommend the mustard but I left if out for my version because Betsy has a horrible aversion to the stuff.

Turn your heat down to medium and let the whole pot simmer for a few minutes until the beef is nice and tender.

As a final step, stir in the sour cream which will make the whole thing deliciously creamy and thick.

All set

Creamy and delicious.

As far as the noodles go, just cook them according to the package in heavily salted water. Once you drain them, add in a few tablespoons of butter and stir it together until the noodles are nicely coated.

The butter is optional but not if you’re eating at my table.

buttered noodles

Egg noodles rock.

Then pile it high and deep!

done

Great winter dish.

Betsy and I both agreed that this version pretty much ruled. It has so much more flavor than the canned situation.

So, ditch the can and go with the real thing. You won’t lose any time and you’ll be happy that you did.

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39 comments on “Real Beef Stroganoff

  1. This looks so good! I'd eat that for breakfast. I am gathering that this is sometimes made with Cream of Mushroom soup? I didn' t know that, but can see it. I also had never had a chicken fried steak until recently, and now am kind of obsessed with them! I'm gonna go check out your homemade version.

  2. So funny this came up now – I made beef stroganoff for the first time in maybe 25 years over the weekend. I looked online for the old Betty Crocker recipe that I used to use in the olden days. I remembered it because it did not have mustard, but did have catsup. It also used beef bouillon and dehydrated onions. Rarely would I use these ingredients, but I had them in the pantry, so what the heck. It was good, but how wrong can you go with all that sour cream.

  3. Yummy! My mom used to make this all the time when I was little. I will have to give it a try!

  4. Hi Nick – I made this dish last night and it was good, but there was a problem. I'm not sure what I did wrong. I followed the recipe exactly, but I ended up with a very soupy meal in the end. It was very liquid-y. I even let it simmer for a longer time (10 mins) thinking it would help. Any ideas on what I did wrong? Thanks!

    1. What kind of pot were you cooking the sauce in? I used a wide narrow pot which evaporates liquid pretty quickly. The only other things that could've added liquid to it is if you're mushrooms/onions gave off a lot of liquid or you accidentally added too much stock.

      In any event, it won't hurt the dish to let it simmer longer. I'd let it simmer until it thickens to the consistency you want, then add the sour cream and stuff.

      Hope that helps! Sorry about the soupiness!

  5. I think it’s funny that the cook spouts so much fanatical anti-can propaganda and then procedes to produce a recipe that requires two cans (or one can and one foil lined box.) Make up your mind. Either make your meal from scratch or don’t, but don’t preach about not using canned soup and then use canned broth and vegetables.

    1. Fair enough. This is definitely something that I think about a lot and it’s a tough equilibrium. I mean… at the end of the day, it’s pretty hard to make something actually FROM SCRATCH (churn your own butter? grind your own flour?)…

      I’m human and try to balance things as much as I can. I’ve tried to be pretty open about this fact. Wrote a whole post about it in fact:

      http://www.macheesmo.com/2011/04/is-homemade-important/

      For this recipe, I think the canned tomatoes isn’t a bad deal. I consider canned tomatoes an ingredient.

      You’re right on the stock though. I do constantly mention that homemade stock is better than store bought and it’s true. I’m human though and sometimes I don’t have time to spend 4 hours making it if I don’t have any frozen.

      My point though with the cream of mushroom soup is that it takes about the same amount of time to use the cream of mushroom soup as it takes to make it with real mushrooms and cream. And there’s a noticeable taste difference so people should try it without the canned soup.

      1. Hey, I just took the time to read your post about the sliding scale of homemade and I have to say I totally agree with you, cooking from scratch can be simultaneously a fun and tasty adventure yet easily turn in to a quagmire of ludite rediculousness. As a big time gardener/brewer/orchardist, my pantry and rootcellar can attest. Sorry about my previous post, some of my language was completely over the top. So, If you’ll take a sincere appology from a troll, I will try and redeem myself by admitting that I was just angry

      2. Hey, I just read your post on the sliding scale of homemade. I think you are totally correct. I also would like to admit that my previous post was completely out of line, the language and tone over the top. I humbly commend your peaceful response.

        I would like to say that as an avid gardner, wild food gatherer, brewer and keeper of various kinds of animals, my pantry and rootcellar can attest to the slippery slope of cooking from scratch. It is both an economic, delicious, responsible way to eat as well as an arena for anti-social ludite rediculousness.

        1. ML! You’re pretty awesome. Not many people can admit that they were angry or spoke out of line. I did see your point about scratch and then two ingredients that are store bought “canned” items. But the fact that you came back and apologized is extremely admiral.

  6. Hey, thanks for the idea! I made this for lunch today, and we all agreed it was awesome! :-) I think you could almost make it without the steak and still have it be good. ;-) Maybe I’ll test that theory during Lent.

  7. i think the only thing that could make this better is homemade egg noodles! i’m glad i keep some in the freezer!! thanks for the recipe my family love stroganoff! (i have to admit we use canned deer instead of beef though! they can’t even tell the difference!!)

  8. made this the other night and my kids all had 2-3 servings! I made it with tri tip steak. I cooked it in the slow cooker and then made the rest as instructed. I’ve also made it with chicken. Always a family favorite.

    1. I think I would go with sherry. That could definitely work. Go light on it though. Just a tablespoon or two would probably do the trick. Good luck!

  9. Question – recipe says chopped tomatoes; can says crushed; tomatoes themselves look chopped. Does it matter? advantages of one over the other? I’m excited by this recipe as a replacement for my grandfather’s that called for a can of (condensed) tomato soup.

  10. it was good but i like my moms recipe better ,omitting the mustard and tomatoes. just beef stew thickened with a slurry of sour cream and flour. the mushrooms are the msot important also. but it was very good

  11. Nick, would this be as good with fettucine noodles or does it have to be egg noodles?

    Also, the English teacher in me just has to mention that “would’ve went” is like nails on a chalkboard. . . . “Would’ve gone” is the correct form.

    Thanks for the recipe, and sorry for the grammar lesson. I can’t help myself.

    1. Ha! Thanks Judi. Grammar problem fixed. So much for that college education… sometimes I don’t proof as much as I should…

      It would be okay with fettucine but they are a bit on the thin side. A big fat egg noodle really does work best. Any noodle would work in a pinch though. :)

  12. LOVED IT I MADE IT TONIGHT FOR MY FAMILY THEY LOVED IT TOO..
    BUT I DID LEAVE OUT THE MUSTARD AND INSTEAD OF SOUR CREAM THAT I DIDN’T HAVE I USED CREAM CHEESE SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO GOOD SO JUST THOUGHT I WOULD PUT THAT OUT THERE IF YOU DON’T LIKE OR DONT HAVE SOUR CREAM THEN CREAM CHEESE IS A VERY GOOD SUBSTITUTION AND IT CAME OUT SUPER YUMMY, THANKS…..

  13. Hey, thanks for the fantastic and straightforward recipe! My husband and I adore it and the flavor couldn’t be better.

    However, we’ve made this twice in consecutive weeks (hush, it’s so good!) and both times we’re running into the liquidity issue mentioned by a few people above. Extra simmering doesn’t seem to help significantly and the only way we’ve tweaked the recipe, since it’s summer in California, is to use a fresh tomato, though I don’t know if that’s enough to throw things off that much.

    I guess I’m wondering if you have any suggestions as to how I might address my issue in post-game. Could I try mixing in a bit of a roux to thicken things up?

    Thanks so much. We just adore your blog and so many of your recipes become gospel in our house!

    1. Nice Libby!

      Honestly, I wouldn’t worry about draining out some of the liquid if it is too watery. I would bet that it’s from the tomato. Fresh tomatoes have a ton of water in them (especially good ripe California ones) :)

      I would do exactly what you are doing but maybe just pour off some of the liquid if it is too watery.

      Good luck!

  14. Instead of tomatoes use 1 tablespoon of tomato paste. And a couple tablespoons of sherry it’s delicious

  15. This recipe is fantastic! No goopey cream of mushroom in this house but I really was craving this dish. It’s so different from our childhood version but hit the spot anyway. Thank you for sharing this!

  16. I made this the other night and my son and husband loved it,however they said it was a little soupy so I to must have put to much stock in and possibly the water from onions and mushrooms added to it. But plan on making again soon never give up just fine tune it is my motto.

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