Beef Stroganoff

by Xinyu on 28th Jun, 2012

Posted by

This year, we combined the celebration of Ai Qi's second sister's birthday and Fathers' Day. We tried to keep things simpler and healthier this time round. The meal began with a soup course, but we will leave that for next week and give the main course recipe first.
Another one from Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc at Home; it doesn't look that complicated, but there is a fair amount of work involved. The beef is braised separately, before cutting it into cubes and searing. A beef stock is also required; we just used a simple one made from beef bones and some cheap cubes of beef. The stock made a big difference in my opinion; the beef was bursting with the hearty flavour of beef first and foremost, with the wine and root vegetables playing a secondary role.

The recommended mushroom for the sauce is the cremini mushroom, which has many other names and is most often referred to here as baby portabello or brown mushrooms. You can probably substitute with other varieties of mushrooms as well; we actually used some shiitake.

Braised Beef

beef short ribs (bone removed) , onions , carrots , leeks , shallots , garlic , mushroom stems , thyme , parsley , bay leaves , one bottle of red wine , beef stock , salt , whole black peppercorns , flour
beef short ribs (bone removed)
['beef short ribs']
mushroom stems
['mushroom stems']
bay leaves
['bay leaves']
one bottle of red wine
['one bottle of red wine']
beef stock
['beef stock']
whole black peppercorns
['whole black peppercorns']
Chop up onions, carrots, leeks, shallots and mushroom stems into small slices. Add half to a large oven-proof pot (big enough to hold the short ribs). Crush half of the garlic and add it in as well, and then some thyme, parsley, two bay leaves, and some whole black peppercorns. Add the bottle of red wine, and heat the pot till it starts to simmer. Simmer for about an hour, till the wine reduces to a glaze.

In the meantime, generously season the short ribs with salt and pepper (add more salt than you think necessary, it will leach out into the braising liquid). Coat it lightly in flour.

Heat up some oil in a frying pan, and then brown the meat on both sides, around 3-5 minutes per side. Keep a close eye on the heat to make sure you don't end up burning the flour coating. Once browned, remove from the pan and put aside.

Preheat oven to 350°F (around 177°C). When the red wine reduction is ready, add the remaining onions, carrots, leeks, shallots, mushroom stems, more thyme, parsley, 2 bay leaves, and the remaining garlic (also crushed). Stir everything together.

Put a layer of moistened cheesecloth slightly larger than the diameter of the pot; this will keep the vegetables from clinging to the meat when we add it in. Place the short ribs on top of the cheesecloth, and then pour in the beef stock. There should be enough liquid to just cover the short ribs.

Cover with a parchment lid (a circle of parchment paper with a hole in the centre, slightly smaller than the diameter of the pot).

Place pot into the oven, and reduce the heat to 325°F (163°C). Let the meat braise for 1.5 to 2 hours, till it is very tender, but not yet falling apart.

Transfer meat into some container for storing. Strain the braising liquid, skim off the fat, and pour on top of the meat.

Keep overnight in the fridge for best results. It can be stored for up to three days, or used immediately if desired.

Cream Sauce

cremini mushrooms , unsalted butter , chopped onion , kosher salt , black pepper , heavy cream , bay leaf , thyme , creme fraiche
cremini mushrooms
['cremini mushrooms']
unsalted butter
['unsalted butter']
chopped onion
['chopped onion']
kosher salt
['kosher salt']
black pepper
['black pepper']
heavy cream
['heavy cream']
bay leaf
['bay leaf']
creme fraiche
['creme fraiche']
Process the mushrooms in a food processor, until finely chopped. Transfer to a bowl.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent. Season with salt and pepper. Add the chopped mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until all the liquid has evaporated, 10 to 15 minutes.

Pour in the cream, add the bay leaf and thyme, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to keep the cream at a simmer and simmer for about 35 minutes until the cream is reduced by about one-third and infused with the mushroom flavour.

Remove the bay leaf and thyme, pour the sauce into a blender, and blend until smooth. Strain the sauce into a medium saucepan, set over medium-low heat, and stir in the creme fraiche until incorporated. Keep warm on the back of the stovetop or on a diffuser over very low heat.

Beef Stroganoff

braised beef , cream sauce , pappardelle , cremini mushrooms , unsalted butter , canola oil , salt , pepper
braised beef
['braised beef']
cream sauce
['cream sauce']
cremini mushrooms
['cremini mushrooms']
unsalted butter
['unsalted butter']
canola oil
['canola oil']
Trim and slice the mushrooms one-quarter inch thick. Heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the butter and canola oil and heat until the butter melts. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pper, and cook, without stirring (to prevent mushrooms from steaming rather than browning), for about 3 minutes, until the first side is golden brown. Turn the mushrooms and cook for another minute or two, until golden brown.

Preheat oven to 350°F (around 177°C).

Cut braised beef into cubes (its easier to cut when still chilled). Heat an oven-proof frying pan over medium-high heat. Add oil, and when the oil is hot sear one side of the beef cubes. Try to sear only the sides that are against the grain of the meat (i.e. like a steak), to prevent the meat from sticking too badly and coming apart.

When well browned (around 2-3 minutes), turn to sear the other side, then place into the oven for around 10 minutes to heat through.

Boil water, heavily salted. Add the pappardelle to the boiling water and cook until al dente. Drain. Toss the noodles with the cream sauce. Plate with the mushrooms and beef cubes, and garnish with parsley if desired. You can also add a sprinkle of salt on top of the beef cubes.
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