You Never Sausage a Place {beef stroganoff}

There’s a magical place in south Georgia where our family has been stopping for years as we burn up the asphalt along the Georgia-Florida Parkway.  We measured the distance from our doorstep to the parking lot (100 miles, almost on the nose) and figured that Cordele was just about the middle point between Tallahassee and Atlanta, at least time-wise if not by mileage.  We would outfit the main event of our family reunion with a pork butt from this meaty nirvana, fill up on gas and beef jerky and of course, gather our rations that would hold us over until our next trip through.

I’ve found that in most people’s cars you will find a tire iron, an umbrella and perhaps a roadside assistance kit should any emergency befall him or her.  Not me.  On road trips, I always make sure to have an emergency meat receptacle, ready to be packed with Black Angus rib eyes, bacon, hot pan sausage and smoked pork chops from Striplings.  They’ve moved locations over the years (still on highway 300 though, thankfully) and have expanded a bit and marketed themselves properly to garner the attention they deserve, but even with all these changes (and recent competition from Salt Lick, the Florida Gators to my Seminoles of meat-heavy general stores) they remain knowledgable purveyors of pig unlike any other.

On my last trip through, I ended up buying one of these aforementioned ribeyes (who could resist at $6.99/lb) and popped it, along with the sausage and pork chops, in my freezer until this week when we decided not only to bring out the steak, but have also eaten half the sausage and have designs on those pork chops for tonight. Meat-week in our house, evidently.

Since the meat was already frozen, I thought that beef stroganoff would be a good idea.  Meat for dishes like this is a lot easier to slice when it’s on the semi-frozen side, so what the heck?

Most stroganoff recipes call for a filet or some other cut of meat (or even ground beef when you’re being liberal with tradition, which I enjoy) but I really like an untrimmed ribeye for all the tasty fat that you can render and cook your mushrooms in.  Whatever meat you decide to use is fine; it’s all the same as far as the instructions below go.  This recipe comes together rather quickly so have a stock pot filled with water on hand so you can throw in your egg noodles during the last 10 minutes of cookery.

For the stroganoff, you’ll need:

  • 1 – 1.5 lbs of meat of your choosing (sliced thinly if not using ground beef)
  • 24 oz. mushrooms (white and/or cremini)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup shallots, diced
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons brandy (you’re a fine girl, what a good wife you would be)
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • egg noodles

I presume you’ve sliced your meat, so go ahead and prep your mushrooms and shallots. I like my mushrooms quartered if they’re big because I like big bites of them. You can slice them to your liking.  While you’re slicing and dicing, heat a large skillet over medium high heat.

Go ahead and throw the beef into the skillet to brown for about 2-3 minutes (season with salt and pepper while you’re at it). You don’t want to over-cook the beef so you’ll really just be throwing it in to give it some color and pull out some of that fatty goodness for your mushrooms.

Pull the meat out of the pan and set it on a plate to hang out for a while.  Put the skillet back on the heat and add a tablespoon of butter to the pan.  Toss in the shallots and brown for about a minute, then add the mushrooms.

Add the thyme and about 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt and cook the mushrooms for about 10 minutes until all the liquid has evaporated and they have some nice color.  Keep the heat up to medium high and add the brandy and beef stock and cook for another 5 minutes until the sauce begins to reduce. It is also at this point where you want to make sure your water is coming to the boil so you can cook your egg noodles.

Add the dijon mustard and sour cream into the sauce and cook for a couple minutes before adding the beef and any juices that collected on the plate back to the pan.

The sauce and meat can hold momentarily while you drain the noodles and get everything ready to go.  I serve this with a salad and bread. I serve everything with a salad and bread (including salad and bread).  I’m sure the steak would have been outstanding grilled with a baked potato but this was pretty damn tasty and I’m sure I’ll be heading down south again soon and can grab another one.  And let’s just say you’re not one of those people who keeps a cooler in their car to stock up on beef and pork and shies away from the whole “eating animals” thing – I think this recipe would still be good if you left out the beef part of the stroganoff all together and made mushroom strogi instead. Not AS good… but still good.

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