It's August, which means it's time for a nice, summery dish. You know, like beef stroganoff.
Yeah, I know. This summer's been way too hot for stroganoff. I myself haven't felt like stroganoff for months. But if you go that long without stroganoff, the thought of just one quick stroganoff builds until you give in.
Sometimes seasonal cooking is stupid. And sometimes a Two Fat Ladies rerun puts the idea of beef stroganoff in your head, and you just wait for a reasonably cool day in an overly hot summer to make it.
The only beef I had handy was some chuck stew meat in the freezer. Since most recipes call for tenderloin (really?!) or tri-tip, I knew I was going to have to tweak things a bit to account for the tougher chuck meat.
So instead of a quick sear and a short simmer in flour-thickened stock and wine, as most recipes recommended, I went with a quick sear and a long (hour) simmer in stock and port that didn't need to be thickened by flour when all was said and done.
Because I wanted the mushrooms to remain somewhat intact, I browned them in a separate pan, deglazed the pan with a bit more of the port, and added those in about five minutes before I was ready to stop the stovetop braising.
I worked the traditional thyme and butter in with the mushrooms, and the traditional parsley in dried form in the braise because I didn't have any fresh and forgot to pick some up when I was out trying to get cream and egg noodles. Speaking of which. I added just a half-cup of cream at the end to give the whole thing that silky texture. And when I tasted the beef, I decided not to salt the water the egg noodles were cooking in, because the salt from the reduced stock was plenty sufficient to season the entire plate.
Not pictured: the big-ass salad of CSA salad veg that I made to karmically balance stroganoff in August. Wouldn't want to make the angels cry, after all.