Classic Comfort Food:: Beef Stroganoff


Beef Stroganoff

Beef Stroganoff is a dish that always reminds me of home  – my mother used to make this on cold winter nights as a special treat for my Dad who is a total ‘meat and potatoes guy’ – obsessed with anything including beef, noodles and gravy. Maybe it’s a German-Polish thing?? She oftentimes prepared this dish with ground beef for a quick and easy dinner, but I’ve adapted her recipe a bit by adding a few extra ingredients to make my own savory version by adding some wine, fresh garlic and thyme. True comfort food for a chilly night, just like Mom made it.

Ingredients:

½ lb. fresh white mushrooms, sliced (2 cups)
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 tbsp butter
¼ c. flour
2 lbs. round steak (sliced ¼”-1/2” thick)
1 tsp kosher or sea salt
fresh ground pepper to taste
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1/3 c. red wine
1 1/2 c beef broth
1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped fine
1 c. sour cream
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped fine
1 package wide egg noodles

Preparation:

Boil a large pot of water and cook egg noodles per directions. While water is boiling, heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Saute onion, mushrooms and garlic until soft in 2 tbsp butter and remove from pan. Cut steak into strips 2 ½” long and ¾” wide. Melt remaining 2 tbsp butter in pan. Toss steak strips in flour and coat. Brown meat in butter until well browned on both sides. Add salt and pepper, worcestershire, wine and broth. Simmer on low, stirring occasionally, until meat is tender (about 1 ¼ hours). Add mushrooms, onion, garlic, thyme and parsley and cook approximately 7 mins, until sauce thickens. Add sour cream, stir until smooth and remove from heat. Serve over hot buttered egg noodles and garnish with more parsley. Enjoy with some crusty bread, a green salad and a glass of red wine.

To make a casserole: combine beef stroganoff mixture with cooked egg noodles with butter and spoon into a greased casserole dish. Bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees in the oven and then top casserole with crunchy fried onions and bake 10 mins more until onions are crunchy and golden brown.

Serves 6-8.

Other Beef Stroganoff Recipes you may enjoy:

Epicurious Beef Stroganoff

Rachel Ray’s Beef Stroganoff

Williams Sonoma Beef Stroganoff 

 

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Italian Frittata Recipe


Frittata

Potato and Pepper Frittata with Cheese and Bacon

Yes Christmas is over but the cooking is not! As a tradition, I always make breakfast for the family and this year decided to make a delicious recipe for a Potato and Pepper Frittata from my new Williams-Sonoma cookbook Comfort Food: Warm and Homey, Rich and Hearty. Frittata is similar to a French quiche without the crust or a breakfast casserole but cooked in an ovenproof pan on the stove and then finished by broiling in the oven and served directly from the pan. This recipe calls for eggs, roasted red peppers and onions with Parmesan cheese and fresh chopped Rosemary which is a delicious Italian style Frittata. You can also modify it by adding cooked bacon, ham, shredded cheddar, asparagus and shallots or crumbled feta or goat cheese. I changed it up a bit by adding some shredded cheddar cheese and chives to the eggs and served it with a side of bacon and some Almond Butter Christmas Stollen (a German holiday bread). The possibilities are endless because Frittatas are so versatile and easy to make..it’s a simple and hearty breakfast or brunch you can make anytime of the year and deeeelish!!

Ingredients:

Yukon Gold Potatoes, 2 med or large

Olive Oil, 2 tbsp

Yellow Onion, 1/2 c. chopped

Orange or Red bell pepper

Large eggs, 8

Fresh Rosemary, 1 tsp minced

Kosher Salt, 1/4 tsp

Fresh Ground Pepper

Parmesan Cheese, 3 tbsp

Preparation:

Thinly slice the unpeeled potatoes. In an ovenproof frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the potatoes and turn to coat with the oil. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until almost tender, about 20 minutes. Uncover and stir in the onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is tender and the potatoes are lightly browned, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the broiler. Place the pepper on a baking sheet and broil, turning occasionally, until blackened on all sides about 12 minutes (you can also do this on a gas stove directly over the flame burner if you prefer). Transfer to a work surface and let cool until easy to handle. Leave the broiler on. Peel off the blackened skin, discard the stem, seeds and ribs; and chop the pepper.

Stir the roasted red pepper into the potato mixture into the frying pan. In a bowl, whisk  together the eggs, rosemary and salt and pepper. Pour the egg mixture into the potato mixture and cook over medium heat until the edges are set. Using a heatproof spatula, lift the cooked edges of the frittata and tilt the frying pan to allow the liquid egg on top to flow underneath. Continue cooking, occasionally lifting the frittata and tilt again, until the top is almost set about 4 minutes more.

Sprinkle the top of the frittata with the Parmesan, place under broiler for about 1 minute or until the top is golden brown. Cut into wedges and serve hot, warm or room temperature.

Makes 4-6 servings

Easy Pierogie Casserole


Polish Pierogie Casserole Recipe

Pierogie Casserole

This is a yummy Casserole recipe that my family used to make around the holidays. Traditional Pierogies are like Polish or Ukrainian Ravioli, filled with potatoes and cheese, meat and/or Sauerkraut. They are usually made fresh and either boiled or sauteed in butter with onions. This recipe takes the main ingredients (butter, mushrooms, sauerkraut and bacon) and mixes them together with spiral noodles in a casserole dish and then the casserole is baked for a delicious one-pot dish, perfect for Winter! Serve with Kielbasa Polish Sausage or Pork Chops and some Polish Rye bread and butter. Yummo!

Ingredients:

2 onions, chopped
1/4 lb. butter
3-4 oz. cans mushrooms, drained and chopped
6 strips bacon, fried and crumbled
1 lg. can sauerkraut, rinsed well
1 lb. spiral pasta
2 cans Cream of Mushroom soup
1 can condensed milk or 1 c. 2% milk

Preparation:

Boil pasta and drain, fry bacon and crumble. Reserve 2 tbsp of bacon fat and sauté onions in bacon fat and butter. Add mushrooms and sauté 15 mins. Mix all ingredients together, adding soup and milk, pasta, sauerkraut with the sauteed onions and mushrooms, add salt and pepper to taste. Pour into a greased rectangle or round casserole dish, cover with foil. Bake at 375 for 45 mins. Let cool before serving. Enjoy!

Here is another version of this recipe using potatoes, cheese and sour cream. Haven’t tried it yet, but looks delish!

If you’re ever in Upstate New York and in the mood for some fresh, authentic pierogies, check out The Pierogie Guy. They have a variety of unique yummy flavors like Sauerkraut and Mushroom, Garlic Smashed Potato, Cheesy Spinach, Buffalo Chicken, and Potato, Cheddar and Bacon..the list goes on! Read more about them and where to find them in my previous blog post “A Taste of Rochester – Top Picks“.

Moussaka + Memories of Greece


Classic Greek Moussaka

moussaka

Classic Greek Moussaka, (pronounced moos-sah-KAH) is one of the most well known of all Greek dishes and a staple “comfort food” and main course meal in Greece (as is Lasagna in Italy) and is a culinary experience to those who sample it for the first time. I first sampled this dish while waiting tables in a downtown Buffalo Greek diner during college, and then once again on a trip to the Greek Islands to Mykonos, Santorini and Athens. Needless to say, the real Greek Moussaka blew the Buffalo diner version to pieces, and I decided to take a stab at making it for my Big Fat Greek Birthday party last year.

One of the most delicious versions of Moussaka I tasted was in Santorini, it was served in a glazed clay pot, and had a perfect mixture of spicy meat at the bottom, layered with potatoes and tender eggplant, and tons of béchamel and gooey cheese on top. The vegetables were steaming as I dug into this gorgeous meat and vegetable pie and my mouth watered at the sight and smell of it.

Moussaka can be made in many variations, but the classic recipe uses layers of eggplant, potatoes, a spicy meat and tomato sauce with a touch of cinnamon and a rich and delicious béchamel sauce and bubbly kefalotyri cheese on top. Other variations are Moussaka with Zucchini or Artichokes instead of Eggplant, ground lamb instead of ground beef, or Vegetarian style with Zucchini, Eggplant and Potatoes without the meat. Either way you make it, with its warm and rich flavors and gooey cheese you’ll be hooked.

I made the Moussaka with Zucchini and Potatoes, as I prefer this combination to the eggplant version and it tastes just as good when all the spices from the meat and seasonings soak into the vegetables and are melded together by the creamy béchamel and gooey cheese on top. Be careful to pat dry the vegetables though before layering in the baking dish, as you don’t want the liquids to make the Moussaka too watery as they are cooked down in the oven.

You’ll need a lot of time and kitchen space to make this dish, and if you’re cooking for a crowd, you’ll be safe to double the recipe and make 2 large rectangular baking dishes of it, as it won’t last long. This dish was the hit of the party and I didn’t have one square left at the end of the evening, amongst all the other Greek goodies we had spread out on the table! It’s also a very heavy filling dish, so you may want to serve it alone as the main course, and accompany it with some Stuffed Vine leaves and tzaziki for a light and fresh side dish along with some garlic lemon hummus and grilled pita. Top it off with a light red Greek wine and a shot of Ouzo as an aperitif and you’re on your way to a classic Greek culinary experience and tasty delight from this ancient land.

Greek Moussaka Recipe

Yield: 6 Servings

Ingredients:

3 md Eggplants or Zucchini

1/2 c Vegetable Oil

3 lg Onions; chopped fine

2 lb Ground lamb; (or beef)

3 tb Tomato paste

1/2 c Red wine

1/2 c Chopped parsley

1/4 ts Ground cinnamon

Salt

Black Pepper freshly ground

1/4 lb Butter

6 tb Flour

1 qt Milk

4 Eggs; beaten until frothy

Grated nutmeg

2 c Ricotta or cottage cheese

1 c Fine bread crumbs

1 c Grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions: Peel the eggplants and cut them into slices about 1/2 inch thick.
Brown the slices quickly in 1/4 cup of the oil. Set aside. Heat the
remaining oil in the same skillet and cook the onions until they are
brown. Add the ground meat and cook 10 minutes. Pour off excess fat.

Combine the tomato paste with the wine, parsley, cinnamon, salt and
pepper. Stir this mixture into the meat and simmer over low heat,
stirring frequently, until all the liquid has been absorbed. Remove the
mixture from the fire.

Preheat the oven to 375F. Make a white sauce by melting the butter
and blending in the flour, stirring with a wire whisk. Meanwhile,
bring the milk to a boil and add it gradually to the butter-flour mixture,
stirring constantly. When the mixture is thickened and smooth, remove
it from the heat. Cook slightly and stir in the beaten eggs, nutmeg and
ricotta.

Grease an 11×16-inch pan and sprinkle the bottom lightly with
crumbs. Arrange alternate layers of the eggplant and the meat sauce 
in the pan, sprinkling each layer with Parmesan and crumbs. Pour 
the ricotta sauce over the top and bake 1 hour, or until top is golden.
Remove from the oven and cool 20 to 30 minutes before serving. Cut
into squares and serve. The flavors in this dish really improve if you 
make it a day ahead.

Enjoy with a side of Greek Salad and a medium bodied red wine. Opa!

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