I grew up in a place and an era that allowed me enormous freedom. After breakfast we would leave the house and return briefly for lunch and then eventually for dinner. Our back yard stretched beyond the confines of our actual home to the bush; farms, paddocks, dams and eventually the Murrumbidgee River (after a good hours walk). We had cubby houses and forts underground, up trees and built into boulders that protruded from the sides of hills.
In Summer we ran, berry brown, through the long grass, terrified of the snakes but loving the thrill, and in Winter our cheeks were whipped by the wind to a ruddy red as we tore over hills and down into the valleys. It was a wonderful childhood experience.
So, as you can imagine, after all that activity we were starving. Our favourite dish to come home to was Beef Stroganoff and we loved our mum’s version. There was never as scrap left – aside from us being growing children with insatiable appetites, it was the pinnacle of good, wholesome dinner time food.
I have done my best to re-create this best EVER version, although I must say it is not as perfect as my mum’s – lucky for me I am heading back to Australia for Christmas and some good home cooking!
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
800 grams/1.7 pounds fillet steak, trimmed, cut into thin strips
2 tablespoons butter
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
500 grams/1 pound, button or cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup tomato passata
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2/3 cup crème fraiche, or sour cream
Salt and pepper
a dash of paprika
1/3 cup flat-leaf parsley for garnish, roughly chopped
Season beef strips with salt and pepper. Heat a large, heavy-based saucepan over medium/high heat. Add the oil and a quarter of the beef strips and lightly brown. Remove to a plate and cook the remaining beef in batches until it’s all browned.
Place the butter in the pan, reduce heat to medium, then add onion and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes until onion is soft. Add the mushrooms, thyme and stir to combine. Add tomato paste and passata and cook for a further minute. Season with salt and pepper.
Return beef strips to pan and stir in the mustard. Remove from heat, allow to cool for half an hour and fold in crème fraiche or sour cream and a dash of paprika.
Re-heat the stroganoff over a low heat, and serve on top of thick ribbon noodles tossed in butter and parsley, scattered with some chopped parsley if you wish.
Yield: serves 4
Source: my mum
© 2011, Michelle. All rights reserved.