Beef Stroganoff – Sautéed Beef Served in a Sauce

It is important to bear in mind the following points:
(a) Once the meat has been shallow fried on no account should it be allowed to boil in the accompanying sauce as this makes it tough, dry and tasteless. It should be tender, moist and full of flavor.

(b) Once cooked quick sautéed dishes must be consumed as soon as possible.

(c) Because the sauce is made in the same pan as the meat has been cooked use a shallow tin lined copper pan and not a frying pan. It is prudent to produce several small batches rather than one large one.

(d) The meat should be shallow fried quickly in either melted butter or oil or a mixture of equal quantities of oil and butter.

(e) When quick sautéing make certain the fat is hot and do not overfill the pan as this will immediately bring down the temperature of the fat. In these circumstances the fat takes a long time to reheat which results in the extraction of water and juices from the meat so that it boils rather than fries. If this should happen, drain the commodities into a colander and begin again in a clean hot pan.

(f) After the initial coloration and cooking of the item drain off all excess fat and place the meat in a dish to keep warm before returning the pan to the stove in order to make the sauce.

(g) Items should always be slightly underdone when served so an allowance must be made for finishing off in the sauce even though it does not boil. The period between the completion of the dish and service to the customer must also be borne in mind.

(h) Care, however, must be taken that the meat is evenly colored.

Makes: 10 portions. Cooking time: 10 minutes.

Ingredients:

— 1 kg strips of tail end of fillet of beef (5 cm long x 1 cm)
— 2 dl melted butter or oil
— 50 grams chopped shallots
— 6 dl cream
— 1 juice of lemon
— seasoning

Method:

(1) Heat a thick bottomed shallow sided pan and add the oil or melted butter to a depth of not more than 5 mm.

(2) Season and add the strips of fillet. Quickly shallow fry, keeping them on the underdone side. Remove the beef and retain in a warm place.

(3) Return the pan to the stove, add the shallots and cook without coloring them. Drain off any excess fat.

(4) Add the cream, boil and reduce by half. Add the previously cooked and drained meat and incorporate the two by gently tossing. Do not boil.

(5) Add the lemon juice, season to taste. Neatly arrange in an earthenware dish and serve.

Notes:
(1) This dish is Russian in style and may be finished in the typical Russian way with sour cream.

(2) There are several different ways of dealing with the meat and these have a direct effect on the thickness of the sauce and certainly the colour and flavour of the dish.
(a) the strips of beef may be shallow fried without any coating;
(b) the strips of beef may be passed through seasoned flour before shallow frying;
(c) the strips of beef may be passed through a mixture of flour and paprika before shallow frying.

(3) Sliced mushrooms are sometimes included in the recipes. It is usual to finish the dish with chopped tarragon.

(4) If the sauce is a little too thick it may be thinned with a little dry white wine or white stock but care must be taken not to unbalance the flavor.

Assessment of the completed dish

(1) The sauce should be off white or slightly coffee colored; if made with paprika it will be pinkish.

(2) The sauce should have a creamy consistency so that it lightly coats the meat.

(3) The flavor should have a slight hint of lemon juice.

(4) The meat should be moist, tender, slightly undercooked and full flavored.

Possible problem, cause and solution:

(1) During frying the strips of beef begin to boil in their own juices:
— fat was not permitted to reach a high enough temperature before adding the meat.

— pan was overfilled with strips of beef.

— once the beef was added the fat did not reheat quickly enough.

-> solution for above problems; drain the pan immediately, reheat a clean pan, add a little oil and continue to fry for a very short period.

— too much oil or butter was used in the bottom of the pan; care must be taken to avoid this as it cannot be rectified.

(2) The meat is tough and dry and lacks flavor:
— meat was fried slowly; care must be taken to sauté the beef quickly as this problem cannot be rectified.

— meat was boiled in the sauce; care must be taken to avoid this happening as it cannot be rectified.

— dish was held for too long before being served; the dish should be prepared as close as possible to the time it is required to avoid the problems caused by prolonged retention which cannot be rectified.

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