Teen Chef – 14 Sept 2019

By request – this week we will be making – Beef Stroganoff.

A dish of sautéed beef, in a piquant creamy sauce.  The onions adding sweetness, as a counterpoint to the tangy cream and the mushrooms giving it a savoury depth.

The dish dates back to the mid, 19th century, and is named after a member of the Stroganov family, who were a group of highly successful Russian merchants and landowners: the richest businessmen in Tsarist Russia.

The first known recipe shows up in the mid 1800’s in a Russian cookbook.  It became an iconic dish especially in the US however the dishes image became tarnished by those pouring canned cream of mushroom soup over poor cuts of meat.

The best cut to use in beef stroganoff is a cut that works well with quick cooking. That means you need something that is tender to start with that you cut across the grain to further tenderise.

In Russia, you will most often find traditional beef stroganoff served over fried shoestring potatoes (French fries). In the US with pasta and the UK, with rice.  All as a way, to soak up the delicious sauce.

The key to a good Stroganoff is the steak an expensive ingredient and thus important to get the cooking technique right, making this a key focal point of this week’s class.

Points to consider;

type of pan to use

when to season

length of cooking

resting time

One of the most important things to remember is the need to remove steak from the fridge at least an hour before cooking this allows the meat to cook much more evenly, resulting in a better finish. An optimum thickness for a steak is between 3cm and 4cm, any thinner results in overcooking.

Season liberally just before it goes in the pan, and avoid peppering as it will burn leaving a bitter after taste. Season to far in advance with and you will draw moisture from the steak.

Ensure a heavy based pan gets very hot before the steak goes in, so oil (neutral- no flavour with a high smoking point) is almost smoking, and only cook one steak at a time to avoid loss of heat.

The heat is important in ensuring that the Maillard reaction takes place where the exterior of the meat browns and creates a wonderful roasted flavour.  A knob of butter at the end of cooking will add both richness and flavour.

The length of time you cook your steak completely depends on personal preference. A 3-4cm thick steak cooked from room temperature will take a minute or so on each side with a few minutes in the oven to warm through the middle – the most important thing is to get a good sear on the exterior without overcooking the inside.

Resting time is very important when steak is cooked it needs time for the muscle fibres to relax – cutting into it straight away will result in a loss of moisture and unattractive blood spilling out into your sauce.

It is very hard to achieve any degree browning on slices of meat, so for this recipe we will sear as a steak and then slice after resting.

In this week’s dish we will be using the following skills: Weighing, measuring, chopping, cutting, slicing, mixing/combining, blending, simmering, boiling, straining, searing and resting.

See you Saturday Teen Chefs.

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