What do you do when you buy cream for a dish and you only need about a third of it? Well, you embark on a two day preparation of beef stroganoff of course. I know that's not what most of you were thinking but perhaps next time you have leftover cream, you will...
Lately, I've been trying to cook intuitively; you know, think about what's in the fridge and pantry and bang out a really good dish. It's been going well, hopefully you'd agree with me since the products most often end up here, in the blogosphere. I decided that I need to mix it up a bit and execute some recipes from my favorite chefs. In my opinion, an experience even the best home cooks need to do on a regular basis. So the first in my recipes entries is, Beef Stroganoff by Thomas Keller. For those of you that don't know who he is, let me first say that I have a bit of a man crush on him. Not only did he lead the only west coast three-star Michelin rated French Laundry in Napa, he has his prints all over several other culinary creations ranging from cook books to television to other restaurants. Never have I executed a recipe more intricate and detail meticulous than one of Kellers. I have his Ad Hoc at Home book; he claims that it is a gourmet interpretation of classic home-cooked favorites. When I hear, "home-cooked favorites," I picture tasty one pot, rustic dishes that get right to the flavor point. The recipes in Ad Hoc are as complicated as the blueprints for a nuclear reactor. Okay, I exaggerate a bit but they are intense. I'll get right to the point, here is my execution of his stroganoff.
Add leeks, mushrooms, onions, carrots, garlic, thyme, and bay leaves to a bottle of red wine and reduce until the wine is a glaze.
Meanwhile sear the beef (should have been boneless short rib, I used boneless chuck roast instead) in oil and set aside
Chop up more aromatics and spices (leeks, carrots, onions, thyme, and bay leaf), add them to the wine glaze and cover with cheese cloth to create a pillow for the beef to rest upon.
Add beef broth to the pot.
Create a parchment lid, cover the braise, and place in oven for about two hours.
Remove beef, strain, and reserve braising liquid.
The ingredients for the rest of the dish are below. I told you Keller was intense. It's no wonder The French Laundry can get away charging a minimum of $240 for a prix fixe dinner, without wine. Cream, creme fraiche, mushrooms, butter, bay leaf, thyme, peppercorns, cubed braised beef, parsley, canola oil, noodles (pappardelle preferably).
Add cream and sachet of bay leaf, thyme, and peppercorns.
Meanwhile brown mushrooms in butter and canola oil. Keller instructs to turn each mushroom over after three minutes to brown both sides.
The same goes for the braised beef, browned and flipped. Then into the oven for about ten minutes.
The cream sauce is blended and strained and put back on a low flame. The browned mushrooms are then added.
The finished product was as good as it looks. The beef would have been much more tender had it been short rib but I did enjoy the chuck roast for it's deep beefy beefiness. The preparation of the beef, while labor intense and time consuming, left a nice little crisp to the browned bits. The mushroom cream sauce is the true star of this dish though. The processing and later blending of the mushrooms embedded the essence of mushroom deeply through the layers of silky cream, tangy creme fraiche, and peppery thyme. Seasoned with gray or sea salt and chopped parsley, the dish is as visually stunning as delectable.
Paired nicely with a dry red, in this case a Barbera.
You can see the pictures of each step on my blog!