Beef Stroganoff is a Russian dish and I'll be the first to admit to know nothing about Russian cuisine or whether my version is authentic. Probably isn't? I use flank steak in mine which deviates from the sirloin, tenderloin or chuck I typically see in recipes. After having tried all of those cuts for Stroganoff at some point in the past, I stand by flank steak as the ideal cut to use in this recipe.
No, flank isn't a cheap cut like chuck but for good reason. A quality piece of flank steak has tons of marbling. For a quick weeknight meal like this where the beef is quickly seared rather than slow-braised, the lean and tougher chuck is just not ideal. Tenderloin and sirloin are similarly expensive cuts of beef, have the tenderness thing going for them but I personally find the former a little lacking in flavor generally, and the latter still a tad too chewy for this dish. I am very intentional when using grass-fed, pricier cuts of beef. I slice it super thin so that it distributes more and gives the eyes and tastebuds the impression there is more of it. When sliced uber thin that way, the melt-in-your-mouth flank pieces are at harmony with the sauteed soft mushrooms and tender egg noodles.
Authentic or not, this is a recipe my family adores. It's a fantastic weeknight meal because it's quick to make (all in one saucepan! rejoice!) but I also think it's a great dish for a casual dinner party. Serve it with a side of greens such as steamed beans or broccoli to check off the 'eat your greens' box like a responsible adult. Or not. I'm not the veggie police ;)
Especially if I happen upon super fresh and well-marbled meat, I will buy 2-3 meals worth (in this case 2-3 lbs of meat), divide them up and slice all up at once. Each portion is wrapped well in plastic food wrap and then inserted in a zip-top freezer bag. Stored in the freezer like that, it keeps well for at least a month or two. Front-loading the meat preparation makes pulling off a quick weeknight stroganoff so much easier.
§ Remember to label it "sliced flank" along with the date it went in. This is the easiest way to keep track otherwise everything frozen solid beings to look the same!
§ When wrapping the sliced portions up for freezing, pile the meat into a thin package no more than 1/2" thick. A thin pack of meat defrosts a lot faster than a thick hunk of it.
§ To defrost a pack of frozen meat in a jiffy (after work!), keep it wrapped up inside the freezer bag and submerge the entire thing inside a large bowl of cool (not warm) water for about an hour.
Easy Beef Stroganoff
Recipe serves 4.
Grapeseed oil or other neutral tasting oil, for browning
1 lb well-marbled flank steak, preferably grass-fed if you can get it
1 lb cremini or white button mushrooms, sliced thin (about 6-6.5 cups)
1/2 large white onion, chopped small 1/2" pieces (about 1.5 cups)
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce (optional)
1 3/4 C bone broth either beef or chicken, homemade or store-bought low sodium
2 tbsp arrowroot starch or corn starch for thickening
3 tbsp sour cream + more for garnish
340g package of egg noodles (I like the No Yolks brand extra broad noodles)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Chopped parsley for garnish
1. Prep your ingredients:
- Flank - depending on the width of your flank steak, cut them lengthwise along the grain into approx 1.5-2" sections. Then taking the sections one at a time, slice the steak across the grain into super thin slices...as thin as your knife skills enable! Allow it to sit at room temperature if you're planning to brown it within 20 minutes (otherwise keep refrigerated until ready to cook).
- Mushrooms - wash, drain well and slice thin. (By the way, 100% acceptable to wash shrooms under running water despite popular wisdom, as long as you drain them well and saute them in a hot pan to evaporate the water. SOOO much faster than an individual wipe down seriously who has time for that??)
- Onion - chop onions into small 1/2" pieces. Onion googles optional for you, but not for me!
2. Heat a large pot of water for the egg noodles on the back burner. On the front burner, heat a large cast iron or heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add a drizzle of oil and brown the flank pieces in batches. I can't stress enough how important it is to brown any meat in batches so as not to overcrowd the pan. When you put too much into the pan at once, the heat drops quickly and instead of getting a lovely brown sear, the meat releases water and stews in it's own juices. While that almost sounds good, it's actually yucky. Very yucky. Adjust (turn down) the heat if the pan is getting too hot. Once all flank strips are nice and brown, season them liberally with salt and pepper and set them to the side.
3. Next up, saute the sliced mushrooms. If you hadn't already, reduce the heat to a medium. Add just a drizzle of oil to the pan and toss in all the mushrooms. Do not add any salt YET. If you want a nice brown on your mushrooms, hold off salting until the very end. Adding salt draws water out of the mushrooms and prevents proper browning. Once the mushrooms are soft and browned, about 8 minutes, season them with some salt and set them aside too.
4. Finally, add the onions into the pan. With onions, salt them immediately to enable a nice caramalization. Opposite of mushrooms. :) Saute until softened or about 4 minutes.
5. Push the onions to the sides of the pan and add the tomato paste into the middle of the pan and let it cook a minute. Then as it's getting a bit dry from the heat, just smoosh the tomato paste around with the onions and allow it to cook another minute to develop flavor.
6. Add your broth, dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce (if you're using) and bring it to a simmer. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Meanwhile, put the arrowroot starch or cornstarch (whichever you're using) into a small bowl and scoop some of the hot liquid from the saucepan into it, stirring well with a small whisk to make a smooth slurry. Add it into the saucepan and stir it in. Add back the steak and mushrooms and allow everything to simmer for a few minutes to thicken up.
7. Meanwhile, the pasta water should be at a boil. Add a liberal amount of salt (start with just a little first and be careful of boil over). Remember you want the pasta water to be as salty as ocean water. Add egg noodles into the pot and cook according to package instructions.
8. Give the sauce a taste and season further with salt and pepper if needed. Take the saucepan off the heat first and add the sour cream so it doesn't curdle. Stir it in well and let the residual heat warm it through.
9. Serve over the egg noodles, another little dollop of sour cream if you wish, a nice crack from the pepper mill and garnish with chopped parsley.