Skillet Beef Stroganoff
Why This Recipe Works
Beef stroganoff is more often associated with bad banquet fare than with a hearty, satisfying dinner. But originally, this dish was quite elegant and was even made with filet mignon. Our goal was twofold: find a less expensive option for the beef to turn it into a within-reach weeknight supper, and bring the too-rich, often gloppy sauce back to its refined roots.
We started with the beef. Blade steaks shrank too much during cooking; sirloin tips became tender and held their shape well, but the pieces of meat crinkled up oddly. We solved that problem by pounding the meat before cutting it into strips. We first seared the meat and removed it from the pan, then sautéed mushrooms and onion in the same pan. To finish cooking the beef, we built a braising liquid with equal amounts of chicken and beef broth (beef broth alone tasted flat) and a little flour to thicken the sauce. We didn’t want to overload the dish with seasonings—they would mask the flavor of the beef and mushrooms—but we found that some brandy was essential. We then returned the meat to the sauce to cook through.
To avoid cooking the noodles separately, we borrowed our method of cooking pasta directly in sauce and added the egg noodles to the braising liquid. When the noodles were tender and the beef was cooked through, we added the final touches, sour cream and lemon juice—but off the heat so that it wouldn’t curdle.