This dish, of Russian origin, has been adopted by chefs the world around, and with good reason. The combination of the tender beef and the creamy sour cream is a heavenly pairing, and if prepared carefully, a masterpiece of cow cuisine. My personal preference for Stroganoff involves making sure the strips of beef are still medium-rare when they are served, a feat accomplished easily if you follow my simple instructions. Cognac raises the stakes just a bit, separating the dish from run-of-the-mill comfort foods. But don’t be fooled: Stroganoff is every bit the kind of meal that hits those comfort zones in the brain and makes you feel warm all over.
3 tablespoons + 1 tablespoon + 2 tablespoons butter
1 pound beef tenderloin, trimmed & cut into 1/2-inch x 1-inch x 2-inch strips
8 ounces white button mushrooms, sliced thin
8 ounces shallots, peeled & sliced thin
2 tablespoons Cognac
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups beef stock
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Heat 2 tablespoons butter in 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until almost smoking, then add half of beef strips to pan, flat side down, and sear until brown, about 30-45 seconds. Flip strips and repeat on other side. Remove to plate and set aside. Do not clean pan.
Add 1 tablespoon butter to pan and return to high heat. When butter is very hot, add mushrooms & shallots, toss with butter and sauté until browned, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Remove pan from heat, add Cognac, and flame. Remove to plate and set aside. Do not clean pan.
Add 2 tablespoons butter to pan and heat over medium heat until butter starts to sizzle. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add stock & wine, stir well, and simmer over medium-low heat until thickened, about 15-20 minutes. Add sour cream & Dijon, stir to combine, bring back to simmer, then add onions & mushrooms, bring back to simmer, then add beef. When hot throughout, taste for salt and serve over egg noodles.