Deconstructed Beef Stroganoff with Potato Cauliflower Mash

Sounds fancy, right? Looks fancy too, but this recipe is so simple that any newbie can make it. Promise.

THE MEAT

This meal was unintentional. I really planned on making the regular stroganoff recipe, using pasta as my carb. But as I mulled over how to go about it, I realized that the recipe was a little too blah. So I tried to change it up a bit by marinating my beef strips in some wine. I have to admit that it wasn’t good wine but I really just wanted to get rid of it. It’s been in the ref for over 24 hours, marinating nicely with a few fresh sprigs of thyme. I was actually getting worried about over-marinating, so I pan fried a piece this afternoon and I tasted a lot of potential! The plan is to drain the meat, dredge it in flour and fry to give it a nice crunch. With my meat ready to go, up next was the sauce.

THE SAUCE

This Russian dish always comes with a cream-based sauce. Some recipes mix tomato paste or mushroom sauce with it. I decided to make a red wine roux (rue?) infused with thyme. To make this, I used some of the marinade and sauteed a teaspoon of minced red onions in it. After which, I added a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of organic rye flour (any flour will do). You want to incorporate these two ingredients with a whisk to prevent clumping. Mix in 1/4 cup of milk and whisk away! I, again, added a few sprigs of thyme to echo the beef’s marinade. The roux tasted good but it needed something more. It was just too rich and one dimensional. So I decided to add a teaspoon of white wine vinegar and I think it tasted pretty good. Roux experts, what do you think? Am I even using the term correctly?

THE STARCH

Last but not the least, the starch. Beef stroganoff is usually served with noodles but since I was on a roll, might as well reinvent the entire recipe. Rather than the simple mashed potatoes, I made a potato cauliflower mash. It’s basically a combination of both, adding a different texture to your regular mashed potatoes. Taste wise, you do get the cauliflower taste but that also depends on your proportions. I still wanted mine to be predominantly made of potatoes so the ratio must have been 1 part cauliflower and 3 parts potato. I also added 2 bulbs of boiled (not roasted) garlic to add more flavor.

I’ve been patting myself on the back for this dish. I conceptualized it all on my own, only to find out through Google that about 10 other people had thought of it before. Oh well, I still think mine rocks 🙂

Can you tell which is which?

THE VERDICT

Everything turned out as expected except for the beef strips. I planned for it to be crunchy but I may have overdone the dredging. The 2 tablespoons of oil that I used for frying may have affected the texture of the beef, too. It turned out saucy and creamy from the flour but it still had good flavor to it. I also remembered why I stopped making Beef Stroganoff. I always end up with tough meat! Considering that the cuts are thin, they never come out tender. I only cooked it for about 10 minutes on a low flame so, should I have cooked it much longer? Maybe.

I was extremely happy with the sauce/roux. I loved the hint of vinegar in it and the sweetness from the onions. That recipe is a keeper!

Will be incommunicado for the next four days as I will be out of town. I will be getting certified for my advanced diving course in Dumaguete. Woot! Woot!

Have a restful and peaceful holy week, everyone!

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