Now that the cold, rainy season has started, my crock-pot has become a permanent resident on the countertop. A hot bowl of something after watching the rain all day is just what we like. An additional benefit is that it makes the house smell heavenly while it’s cooking.
One of my family’s favorites is Beef Stroganoff. My recipe is an adaptation of a recipe I got years and years ago from Mrs. S. McD.
I start by making up a batch of “Onion Soup” mix, if I haven’t already got a few jars sitting in the pantry.
Then I brown my beef in the cast iron skillet, with a little salt and pepper sprinkled on top. I try to get the outside good and browned, to develop the beef flavor. If I put it in the crock pot raw, it wouldn’t be as flavorful as it is when it is browned first.
This time around, I used two pounds of stew meat. We had quite a bit of stew meat from this year’s beef, and as it generally comes from tougher cuts, it usually does well with the long cooking time and lower temps of the crock pot. I’ve also used roasts, and even ground beef with this recipe; they all taste fine. I browned the meat in two batches, in bacon drippings, so as not to crowd the pan.
While the beef browned, I chopped up onions. For this recipe, I halve the onion, halve again, then cut into 1/4″ strips that are about 1 – 1 1/2″ long.
When the beef is browned, I put it all in the crock pot with the onions, my onion soup mix, plus a cup or two of beef broth or water. The crock pot is turned on high (if I’ve only got 4-5 hours till dinner time) or low (if I’m starting the recipe in the morning, and dinner is 7-9 hours away), and it cooks until the beef is done all the way through and starting to be tender, about four hours.
At this point, I fished out all the pieces and chopped/shredded them to bite-size. I also quartered the mushrooms and added them. I also preheated the oven to bake rice, as we like our stroganoff over rice (although I sometimes serve it with noodles instead.)
About an hour later, I stirred in the cream of mushroom soup, and let that come back up to a simmer.
Once it was back to a simmer, and dinner was about 20 minutes away, I stirred in the sour cream. After the stroganoff came back to a simmer, it was done.
This recipe reflects my doubling – if you want to halve the recipe (and thus make a single batch), that works too…
2 lbs. beef (roast, stew, ground)
1 – 2 T. oil/butter/bacon drippings
2 onions, chopped in bite-size pieces
salt & pepper
1 pint beef stock or water
1 recipe Onion Soup Mix (or one package, if you’re using the store’s)
1/2 t. salt (opt.)
1/2 lb. (or more) crimini mushrooms, quartered (optional)
2 pckg/cans cream of mushroom soup
1 pint (although 1 cup would work just fine) sour cream
1. Lightly season beef with salt and pepper. Brown in fat until crust forms.
2. Put in crock pot along with onions, onion soup mix, and beef stock/water & salt. Set crock pot on high (unless you want it to cook for 7+ hours, in which case, use lower setting), and cook for 4+ hours, until beef is tender.
3. Chop/shred beef (if not using ground or pre-chopped) into bite-size pieces. Return to crock pot with mushrooms. Let cook another hour, until mushrooms begin to shrink.
4. Add cream of mushroom soup. Let come back to a simmer (about 30-45 minutes).
5. Stir in sour cream. When stroganoff is simmering hot again (15-20 minutes), it’s ready to serve over noodles/rice/potatoes/whatever suits your fancy.