Hey Hipsters! You Get No Stroganoff! With Recipe, Of Course.

Nothing to see here, slacker. I’m a f***ing secret diplomat.

You are not alone in walking by my house every day after work. Bikers by the thousands, joggers, walkers young and old, and more and more lately, strollers. We all wave and say hello. You don’t seem to notice. You face forward, always. As does your girlfriend. I say girlfriend because by your retro t-shirts and very shiny Keds, I assume you are above societal pressures to declare commitment. You live your own life man. Or so you say. I’ve seen the dog.

My wife and I regularly sit and enjoy the early evening on our front porch. We love our neighborhood. Everyone is so friendly and wavy. With one exception. You never acknowledge us. I used to wave. I used to say hello. You just keep walking. I had a baby in my arms today as you led your dog to piss in my yard. Nothing. Do you hate babies? From now on, I’m playing it your way. I have two weapons in my arsenal. 1) You clearly let your guard down when choosing a pet. Small yip yap thing? Not your finest hour. 2) You will never have my Stroganoff.

There are dubious claims to the origins of Beef Stroganoff. My favorite is that Pavel, secret agent, diplomat, and scion of the Stroganoff family did a turn as an infantry commander during the Napoleonic Wars. As the story goes, hunks of meat confounded the Czars armies as they took eons to thaw. Pavel ordered them cut to smaller pieces that they may be more easily cooked. The land gave onions and the peasants gave dairy and the soldiers picked wild mushrooms that were somehow growing when meat was freezing. So probably not. But a good story.

There are claims that a chef in the employ of the Stroganoff family came up with the recipe. The plainsmen of Siberia had a similar dish, but they relied heavily on paprika. There are examples all over the Asiatic Asiatica of similar things being put in a pot and made hot. Someone was bound to take credit for it. I might as well decide for the undecided.

I started with the recipes from America’s Test Kitchen and the Joy of Cooking. The final result was a synthesis of the two with a few touches from other sources. Anytime I take ingredients from a pan and put them in a bowl you can be sure that step was from Americas Test Kitchen. If those people loved saving paper as much as they loved putting things in a bowl and setting them aside, the book would have have been two hundred pages shorter. “Bowl, now!” should have worked perfectly.

Start by sauteing mushrooms in oil with a pinch of salt. cook for about five minutes until “Bowl, now!” Put a bit more oil in the pan and then add seasoned strips of beef and brown until “Bowl, now!” (All “Bowl, now!” should be understood to mean the same bowl… all together now.) Add red wine and onion and simmer until “Bowl, now!” before adding butter, onion, and tomato paste with a lot more wine and a bit of flour to thicken, and simmer. At this point, reverse the process “!won, lowB” and combine everything in the pan with a pinch of nutmeg. Blend in some sour cream, which may curdle… to prevent curdling mix a bit of hot beef sauce with small amounts of sour cream before combining to equalize temperature.  Serve atop… well, where are you coming from?

In many parts of Europe the dish is served over french fries. In Russia, french fries are served over it in a non-intentional but obviously evocative Yakov Smearnoff moment. When the Communists formed the USSR a flood of refugees to China popularized the dish over egg noodles. American military stationed in pre-Communist China came back to the US with egg noodles in mind. God knows what happened in China when the commies took over. Rice Cakes? Shudder.

So know this hipster. You failed to be neighborly. You get no Beef Stroganoff, not even on commie rice cakes. Stupid dog.

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This entry was posted in Cookbook, Cooking, Food, History, Humor, Recipes, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Hey Hipsters! You Get No Stroganoff! With Recipe, Of Course.

  1. As always, super hilarious. Beef Stroganoff was another one of those things that I thought I hated until I got older and had it prepared properly. I don’t know that I’ve ever done the tomato paste thing but I really can’t think of many dishes that tomato paste DOESN’T improve.. so.. yeah.

    I bet it would be pretty delicious over fries, though I somehow doubt that fries over it would be nearly as good.. silly communists.

    • Ben says:

      I used to work with a chef that refused to admit to canned anything. He would say “tomato product” for paste, puree, etc. He was/is the best and most creative chef I’ve worked with but he had that one hang up.

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