Sunday, October 01, 2006

Hamburger Stroganoff

Just about every hamburger stroganoff recipe on the Internet contains the same ingredients: ground beef, chopped onion, sliced white button mushrooms (canned or fresh), all-purpose flour and a can or two of condensed cream of mushroom (or chicken) soup.

Some recipes add garlic. Most recipes are seasoned with salt, ground black pepper and sweet ground paprika. And I've seen a few that suggest a tablespoon or two of tomato paste or catsup.

Even Emeril behaved himself. His recipe for hamburger stroganoff follows the traditional formula with few exceptions. He adds his Essence in place of paprika and suggests that you garnish the dish with grated white cheddar cheese and chopped parsley.

This is the recipe that I grew up on. I didn't know there was any other kind until my first visit Hong Kong on the USS Cocopa in the 1972. A group of us visited a European restaurant on the Kawloon side of Victoria Harbor.

Stroganoff was the perfect comfort food for this sailor away from home for the first time. Instead, the waiter surprised me with traditional stroganoff. The sauteed strips of tender beef in a light sour cream based sauce were amazing.

Hamburger stroganoff may not resemble the dish that carries Count Pavel Stroganoff's name. But it's pure comfort food. The rich mushroom flavor and creamy tanginess of the sour cream warms the belly and reminds me of home.


You can use most any condensed cream soup in the pantry. My mother always used cream of celery. I like the mushroom soup because it adds a nice mushroom base to the dish. Substituted sliced crimini mushrooms for the white buttons if desired.

1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup sliced white button mushrooms
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
Ground black pepper, to taste
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
3/4 cup lowfat milk
1 cup (8 ounces) lowfat sour cream

Place ground beef in a 10-inch cast iron skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until meat is browned. Add onion and mushrooms and cook until just tender. Drain off any excess fat in the skillet. Blend flour, salt, paprika and black pepper into beef. Immediately stir in condensed soup and milk into mixture.

Cook over low heat, uncovered, for about 15 to 20 minutes. Thin the stroganoff with extra milk if it's too thick. Stir in sour cream and heat through. Serve hamburger stroganoff over mashed potatoes, steamed rice or egg noodles. The recipe yields about 4-1/2 cups. Serves 6 (3/4-cup) portions.

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