Up until about 9 years ago, my exposure to Russian culture pretty much began and ended with those cute little matryoshka dolls, you know the ones that endlessly stack inside one another? To be fair, these are amazingly cute and even come in ninja form! But I digress. At any rate, until I met my future husband, Alex, I pretty much knew jack sprat about any Russian cooking at all.
With winter in full swing, I found myself yearning for stick to your ribs type comfort foods. Maybe it’s the inner primitive instinct to eat heartier foods to better prepare for the winter hibernation, OR it’s just my inability to turn down a good, hot steaming bowl of delicious at any time, winter being no exception!
I had earmarked this recipe ages ago and finally got around to giving it a go, but was remiss in posting it for you guys. What initially drew me to this recipe was the twist of creme fraiche over the traditional addition of sour cream. For those of you who’ve never used creme fraiche before, I’m here to tell you that it’s amazing. Gently tangy, creamy and rich, it’s the more sophisticated, adult version of sour cream. Couple that with a few generous splashes of cognac and you, my friend, will be exported to the richest, most luxurious bowl of stroganoff ever!
Adapted from Bon Appetite
2 1/2lb beef tenderloin, well trimmed, meat cut into 2 x 1 x 1/2 inch strips
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter; divided 4tblsp and 2 tblsp
1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
1 pound small button mushrooms, thickly sliced
1 cup canned beef broth
1/4 cup Cognac
3/4 cup crème fraîche
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
12 ounces wide egg noodles
1 tablespoon paprika
Pat meat dry with paper towels and season generously with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large skillet or dutch oven until shimmering. Add in meat and cook until just brown, about 1-2 minutes. Remove meat and drippings to a separate bowl.
Turn heat up to medium high and melt 4 tablespoons of butter in skillet. Add shallots and saute until tender and translucent, scraping bottom of pan frequently to remove frond. Add in mushrooms and continue to saute until most of liquid has evaporated. Add in beef broth and cognac and simmer until liquid thickens and coats mushrooms, about 15 minutes.
While the stroganoff is thickening and reducing, bring separate large pot of salted water to bowl and cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and toss with remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Season with salt and pepper.
Once stroganoff has thickened, stir in creme fraiche and Dijon mustard until combined. Add in meat and any drippings to skillet and simmer over medium low heat until meat is just heated through and meat is still medium rare and tender, about 2 minutes. Stir in dill and season with salt and pepper to taste.
To serve, divide noodles among serving plates, top with beef and generous amount of sauce and sprinkle with generous amounts of paprika. Buckle up and get ready to be transported to hearty comfort food heaven!