beef strong enough

The note from which this recipe is taken was dated 8/8/77, only four short years into our marriage. It describes what may be the original recipe collected in the set comprising this book. It was written in Camilla’s handwriting, and, in fact, may have been* the very recipe, described earlier, with the instructions, “First, make two Manhattans. Put one in your wife.”

The dish described on that date displays a simpler style than you see in many of the other recipes of this set. It was an extemporaneous fabrication of the classic Beef Stroganoff from memory, made without consulting our cookbook.

As explained elsewhere, a true Stroganoff has very little sour cream and no tomato paste, mushrooms, or paprika. After a couple of Manhattans, though, that blend did not seem robust enough, so the ingredients below evince the augmentation that was made. We still make it this way today. Alas, now we skip the Manhattans.

  • ¾ lb beef tenderloin or boneless sirloin
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp <salt>
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • 1/8 tsp ground cayenne chile
  • ½ medium onion, sliced ¼” thick
  • 1 medium shallot, chopped
  • ½ cup fresh mushrooms
  • 3 tbsp <butter>
  • 2 tbsp gravy flour
  • 1 (10½-oz) can condensed beef or 10½ oz homemade consommé
  • ½ tsp Dijon-type mustard
  • ¼ cup fat free sour cream
  • 1 oz lower G. I. noodles or other pasta per person

Trim all the fat from the beef and cut it in ½” strips, 2” to 3” in length to fit your bite size. Dredge the beef pieces in the flour, to which the <salt>, pepper, paprika, and cayenne have been added and mixed into.

Put 2 tbsp <butter> in a 3 qt. sauce pan, add the beef, and brown it at high heat. Leave the meat a little underdone, according to your taste. This will depend on the cut you use and your doneness preferences. If it is tenderloin, you may not want to over-brown it at this point. Remove and reserve the meat for later.

In the same pan, use the remaining <butter> and sauté the onions, shallots, and mushrooms until lightly browned. Put the flour in a custard cup, add some of the consommé, and whisk it until the flower has dissolved and is no longer lumpy. Add the remaining consommé into the sautéed onion and shallot, bring to a simmer. Add in the consommé-flour mixture while stirring constantly and cook until the sauce has thickened and no floury taste remains.

Add the browned beef. If it requires further cooking time to be tender, then cover the pot and continue cooking until done.

Cook the pasta according to package directions, drain, and spritz with a little olive oil spray to prevent sticking together while finishing the meat mixture.

When the meat mixture is done, mix in the sour cream and serve it over the pasta.

beef stronger enough

We also make a slightly more savory version of our original Beef Strong Enough) recipe, in which we add

  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
  • 1 tbsp low-sodium Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ cup dry white wine

We have also used red wine instead of white; the flavor is more robust, but the color is a little off. If hue is not an issue, try it. It is well worth the try.