I originally learned how to make this dish in Brazil, when I lived there for two years finishing high school. This is considered Brazilian comfort food right next to Feijoada, (the national dish of Brazil made from various cuts of pork and either black or red beans), and just about everyone has their own version. I took the original recipe as I learned it, did this, that and the other to it, and then converted it all into US weights and measures. The result is a dish that is true to its Brazilian roots, yet also true to my Northern European roots as well.
Step One: The Ingredient List
1 1/2 lbs. good quality lean beef (because this recipe makes so much, it is well worth the money to get some top quality beef such as Open Nature Grass Fed Angus Beef)
1 lb. sliced white or crimini mushrooms, depending on your personal preference
1-15 oz. can Italian Style Stewed Tomatoes (diced if you can get them)
4 beef boullion cubes
1-2 large onions, diced
1/4 C olive oil or butter, for browning beef
1-3 cloves of garlic, squished, minced, or however you prefer, to your taste
4-5 tbsp. sweet Hungarian paprika
3/4 can of water
1/2 C wine
2-16 oz. tubs natural sour cream (do not try to substitute low-fat sour cream here, it will curdle and look really weird)
16 oz box of rotini pasta
Step 2: Gathering Your Utensils
You can use whatever pans and utensils that you might have that you prefer to cook with. Just make sure that they are large enough to hold lots! I will list my personal favorites that have served me tried and true.
Large non-stick chicken fryer with lid: A chicken fryer is a pan that looks a lot like a very large skillet, but it has much taller sides to it, great for making sauces!
Large non-stick stock pot with lid
Extra long handled wooden spoon
Measuring cups and spoons as needed (to be honest, I measure mostly by eye)
Step 3: Preprep
Prepping your ingredients ahead of time is the way to go with this, because once you start, you will actually be grabbing this and that and dumping things in fairly quickly.
Meat Prep: Trim out all fat and any silver skin that you may have on your meat. Cut into small strips or cubes, no bigger than 1/2 inch by 2 inches in length.
Onions: Have them diced and in a bowl, ready to dump
Garlic: Prep as desired and set aside, ready to go
Mushrooms: Brush clean and slice, set aside
Open all cans and unwrap your boullion cubes
Have all your spices within easy grabbing reach
Step 4: Here We Go
1- Place your chicken fryer over High heat
2- Allow pan to get nice and hot
3- Add oil or butter (remember, hot pan, cold oil, food doesn't stick)
4- Immediately dump in your prepared beef and allow to get a good sear on it. After a couple of minutes, stir a bit to get that sear on all sides.
5- Dump in your onions, saute, still on High, untill they begin to turn translucent.
6- Turn heat down just a bit and add paprika, stirring constantly
7- Allow the paprika to cook for just a couple of minutes to develop the flavor, stirring constantly. You don't want it to stick and burn!!
8- Dump in the can of tomatoes and stir.
9- Add boullion cubes and stir
10- Add garlic and stir
11- Add water and wine and stir. You should now have enough liquid in the pan to cushion everything.
12- Turn heat down to Med-Low.
13- Dump mushrooms in, and stir, making sure that everything is coated with everything.
14- Cover, let simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes.
Step 5: Getting In the Thick
Well, we have been able to fairly relax for the last half hour, and now we want to get rid of excess liquid.
Take your sour cream out of the fridge, so that it can come closer to room temperature.
Turn your heat up a bit, remove the lid, and simmer, uncovered, for about another 20 minutes. Keep an eye on it at the end, because while we want to get rid of excess liquid, we don't want it to stick and scorch. (Hence my preference for thick bottomed, non-stick pans for this).
Step 6: Making the Bed
Once proper thickness is just about there, you want to cook your pasta. Follow package instructions to cook the pasta to al dente. Drain thoroughly.
Lay a bed of pasta across the dinner plate. Lay a mound of Stroganoff alongside of it, half on, half off of the pasta. This makes a beautiful presentation. Make sure that there is access to seconds, because I can guarantee they will be wanted!
Step 7: Storing the Rest (if there is any!)
Personally, I like to mix the rest of the sauce with the rest of the pasta for the next day. Another option is that you can freeze extra sauce for dinner at another time. Freezes great, just might not look quite as pretty and creamy when you thaw and reheat it.
Your people will be saying "obrigado", once the sparks from the forks stop flying!
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