A while ago, I shared a recipe for one of my family’s favorite comfort foods, ground beef in brown gravy. Several people commented or sent an email saying that it seemed similar in concept to a ground beef stroganoff. There’s enough of a difference between the two concepts that I wanted to write up a full recipe.
Is this an authentic ground beef stroganoff recipe?
Authentic is a loaded term. Many “secret” family recipes originally came from the back of a package, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Those recipes were tested, worked, and got handed down. This recipe is a variation of stroganoff that I have used for many years. Unfortunately, I do not remember the original. I looked up a few versions to see.
Classic recipes for beef stroganoff typically do not use ground beef. The original recipe is historically credited to a French chef working for a rich Russian family, but the history gets debated, and the recipe has been heavily Americanized over the years, gaining and losing elements.
The ingredients that remain true to their roots are dijon mustard, beef, paprika, and sour cream.
The budget versions circulating usually rely on a can or two of cream of mushroom soup, which you can do, but using fresh mushrooms on sale and a 2/3 cup of sour cream works out nearly the same.
I will rely on you to buy your mushrooms and beef on sale and find your spices in bulk from anywhere other than the spice aisle in your grocery store.
Usually, I see stroganoff recipes with the generic “steak” and, more specifically, ribeye.
What can this stroganoff recipe teach me about other recipes/techniques?
In this recipe for beef stroganoff, you’re asked to add the paprika before the wine or flour. This technique allows the flavor of the paprika to develop. You can use this technique in many other dishes to create a more complex flavor than if you just add spices at the same time as a liquid. There are two things to keep in mind. when adding spices before your liquids, it won’t work well if it’s for a dish you plan on draining, and you can’t have the heat up so high you will burn the fat or spices.
If you can get your hands on Hungarian sweet paprika, use that. If your container of paprika says paprika, your stroganoff will turn out just fine, I promise. If you are using low-sodium beef stock or broth, you will want to add a teaspoon of salt to the dish.
What to serve with ground beef stroganoff?
While the recipe is pictured served over egg noodles, it also works well over rice, mashed potatoes, cauliflower rice, baked potatoes, or steamed vegetables.
We like to have this meal with green beans. If you saute your green beans, try adding a few grape tomatoes to give a little pop of acidity/tartness which is a really nice contrast to the earthy, rich flavor provided by the beef and mushrooms. Roast carrots are a nice side dish, as well. Just peel and quarter the carrots, then toss them in olive oil and kosher salt. Spread on a baking sheet and roast at 400°F. If you put these in the oven just after the beef goes into the skillet, everything should be finishing up around the same time.
Our family also loves to have warm buttered bread and sometimes a salad when we have stroganoff. The salad is an especially good option if we choose a meal this rich in the summer months. It balances it out.
We generally stick to the heartier sides in the fall and winter.
How to make the recipe for ground beef stroganoff stretch.
Beef in any form, even ground, is not as budget-friendly as it used to be.
You can add more bulk to the stroganoff recipe by increasing the mushrooms or adding cooked lentils. Just give the lentils plenty of time to absorb the sauce’s flavor while cooking. Don’t just add them at the last second and expect them to go unnoticed.
This recipe doubles well and is excellent the next day as leftovers. We double it every time it’s made, as we have a large household.
- 1 to 1.5 pounds ground beef preferably 85% lean (the fat makes the gravy)
- 8 to 16 oz baby portabello or white button mushrooms, quartered (cut them smaller if they started out large, aim for bite-size)
- 1 medium to large sweet onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon paprika (sweet if possible)
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 2 cupos beef stock or broth (I use Better Than Bouillon and predissolve it in hot water)
- 2/3 cup sour cream
- ground pepper to taste
- up to 1 teaspoon of salt, only use if your stock/broth is low sodium
- Over medium to medium-high heat brown the beef and break it into small bits with a wooden spoon or spatula.
- While the beef is browning, dice your onion and mince your garlic. As the beef begins to lose most of the pink and is beginning to approach a uniform appearance, add the diced onions and mushrooms.
- As the onions begin to soften, add the garlic, wait one minute and then add the dijon mustard and paprika.
- Once the onions are nearly translucent, add the wine and continue to stir.
- Sprinkle the 1/4 cup flour as evenly as possible across the browned meat.
- Stir well to coat the meat with flour. This step will prevent lumps in your gravy. You may notice a brown layer on the bottom of your pan, this is ok, reduce the heat a little to prevent it from scorching. This is called fond and will help increase the flavor.
- Slowly add your beef broth a quarter to a half cup at a time, using your wooden spoon to scrape up any fond from the pan and incorporate the liquid into your mixture.
- The liquid will practically disappear between additions at first. This is expected.
- Turn the heat to low and finish adding your liquid. Stir until fully incorporated.
- Reduce the heat to the lowest setting. Taste and ground pepper and salt, if needed. Give the salt and pepper a few minutes to incorporate
- Stir in the 1/3 cup of sour cream and serve over cooked egg noodles, rice, or mashed potatoes