Mushroom Stroganoff

One of my favorite meals as a kid was beef Stroganoff. The creamy, yummy sauce was perfect on the egg noodles my mom always made with it. At the time, I picked out the mushrooms and onions and ate only the beef. Now, I make it only with mushrooms and onions! This is simple, rustic and doesn’t take long, but is so flavorful and rich, it seems much harder than it is. There are many variations on this recipe and I have no Russian heritage, so I cannot claim that this is authentic, but it is tasty!

As with any of my recipes, the measurements are somewhat approximate. This is easily made for a crowd or for two, so just adjust accordingly. You could, of course, add strips of beef, which is what the original recipe calls for or tempeh or other meet substitute.

You can use any type of mushroom you want and a combination is great. For the one I made today, I just used baby Bellas. Large Portobella mushrooms are quite chewy and can be good if you are craving the “bite” of meat. Oyster, morel, Shitake and others can all be used based on what you have and what you like. There is one called ‘monkey head‘ that seriously tastes like meat and king oyster mushroom have a very meaty texture. Experiment with your fungi! Nerd alert: if you are interested, there is a film out now all about fungi! I am planning on watching it tonight as I dine on some fungi.

Ingredients

Mushrooms (For this recipe, I used one of those cartons of baby bella mushrooms.)
1 onion (I used one medium sized one)
1-2 cloves of garlic. (Add more to taste, but you don’t want it to overpower. You can skip.)
3/4 cup vegetable or mushroom stock
1 T tomato paste (can substitute ketchup)
1/4 cup red wine (something earthy like a Pinot Noir, Carbernet Sauvignon, red Bordeaux, Cabernet Franc, or a really old world wine from say Georgia or Albania because they are very earthy.)
Dill (fresh or dry)
1/4-1/2 cup sour cream (You could use a vegan alternative. You can used Greek yogurt, but whether you use yogurt or sour cream, it must be full fat. If you use reduced fat, it will separate and look curdled.)
Butter (optional)
Olive oil
Salt & pepper
Optional secret ingredient: Vegemite or Marmite

Cooked egg noodles or other pasta

Recipe

Cut your onion in half and then slice it across to get short slices of onion. Cut up your mushrooms. I sliced these, but they could be quartered. If you are using large portobellas, I just cut them into strips and then maybe in half, so they are bite sized. Mince the garlic.

Put some olive oil and butter in a pan large enough to hold your batch. Add the onion and saute with a bit of salt.

Once your onions are translucent and maybe even taking on some color, add your mushrooms. I might add a touch more salt here. Once they are cooked, add the garlic, so you don’t burn it.

Cook that all until they are fully cooked and even taking on some color. If you have a stainless steel pan, they may stick, and that’s okay because those bits will help flavor the sauce.

Your pan should be hot–medium-high. Add some wine. It will sizzle and deglaze any bits off the bottom. For my batch, I added 1/4 cup. You may need more for a larger batch. You can skip the wine, but it really adds depth of flavor, which in this meat-free version is crucial. I would not use too light a wine or a low quality wine because you will taste it. Plan to drink from the same bottle with the meal. I used a Bulgarian wine.

Let the wine cook off. I then added about 3/4 cup of stock with 1 tablespoon of tomato paste. Add fresh black pepper.

Let that simmer to develop the flavor and evaporate a bit. You want sauce, but you don’t want it too soupy. There is no flour or thickening agent in this recipe. Taste it at this point to see if it needs more salt or pepper.

Optional secret ingredient: When I was living in London, my British roommates had Marmite on hand and my Aussie roommate, Vegemite. There is a sharp divide among them over which is better. I have no preference, and spread on toast, as they do it, I think it is terrible. However, a teaspoon of it in a dish that was traditionally made with beef, does wonders for it! It adds an earthiness, maltiness and saltiness that nothing else can do. I don’t have any right now, but if you do, add it! It is salty, so be aware of that and maybe reduce your salt elsewhere.

The final two ingredients are the chopped fresh or dried dill and the sour cream. You want a heavy hand with the dill: a heaping tablespoon of dry and more if it is fresh. Stir that in and then last add 1/4-1/2 cup sour cream (or full fat Greek yogurt) and gently stir it in. Just let it warm through and turn off the heat to avoid it separating.

Serve it over the pasta or bread or mashed potatoes if you prefer! I had spiral lentil noodles, so that’s what I used.

The whole dish can be done in less than 30 minutes, and it is great leftover, so it is a nice hearty meal for a weeknight and perfect comfort food on a fall night. Enjoy!

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