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~ A Creamy, Weeknight Beef Stroganoff Casserole ~

IMG_2219Fall is a beautiful time here in Happy Valley, especially when the leaves begin to turn color. Today is not such a day.  It is dark, cold, windy and raining.  My natural foodie instincts have kicked in:  I want to watch old movies on the kitchen TV (Goodfellas is on), pour a G&T (or three), relax, and, cook something really warm, super-easy and yummy for dinner.  I have no intention of going to the grocery story for ingredients either, so it has got to come out of my refrigerator and pantry.

What's my "go-to" source for super-easy, yummy recipes?

A few years back, my nextdoor neighbor Gabriella asked me if I would complile her mother's recipes into a small cookbook.  Gabriella's mother, Gizella, had recently passed away and she wanted to give the books to family members for Christmas.  I had had the pleasure of meeting Gizella on several occasions.  Besides being a lovely woman, she was a wonderful cook, and, was always willing to share a recipe with me.  Over the years, Gabriella and her husband Bill have invited Joe and I for dinner many times.  More often than not, when one of us is complimenting the cook,  Gabby will say, "this is another one of my mom's easy recipes.

I had a great time putting that book together (and I learned a lot too).  Gizella and her husband Tibor immigrated to the USA from Hungary after WWII and settled in Connecticut, where Tibor started his own business.  Gizzella's collection of recipes (150-200), to my surprise, was completely eclectic. There were a few classic Hungarian dishes (written in her hand), but, many were clipped from the pages of magazines and newspapers.  After she clipped them, she had rewritten them, duly noting the changes (improvements) she had made to each one.  What they did all have in common was:  they really were all, tested, delicious and easy.

A Stroganoff recipe using ground beef?  Really?

IMG_2218Well, that's what I thought too. Coming from Russian heritage, I'm used to Stroganoff being:  An expensive, time-consuming dish made from thinly-sliced beef tenderloin, onions, mushrooms and carrots sauteed in butter, combined with a rich sour cream and wine sauce, served over homemade egg noodles.  Like many of Gizella's recipes, this is her '50's era spin on a classic dish, using inexpensive cuts of meat, and '50's era pantry staples, like Kitchen Bouquet, which is a gluten-free, vegetable-based browning and seasoning sauce.

You betcha -- and it's delish! 














4  tablespoons salted butter

3  pounds extra-lean ground beef (93/7)

1  pound diced yellow or sweet onion

1  pound diced carrot

1  pound sliced white button mushroom caps

1 1/2  teaspoons dried thyme leaves

1 1/2  teaspoons garlic powder

2  teaspoons sea salt

2  teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper

4  cups beef broth

4  tablespoons Kitchen Bouquet Browning & Seasoning Sauce

4  firmly-packed tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 1/2 cup water

1  12-ounce bag wide egg noodles, uncooked

1  cup sour cream

additional sour cream, for dolloping on each bowl

parsley, for garnish

IMG_2123 IMG_2120~ Step 1.  In a 14" chef's pan, melt the butter over low heat. Add the ground beef, onions, carrots and mushrooms.  Season with the dried thyme leaves, garlic powder, sea salt and black pepper. Using a large spoon or spatula, stir until ingredients are thoroughly combined.

IMG_2129 IMG_2127~ Step 2. Adjust heat to medium-high and cook, stirring frequently, until meat has lost all of its color, is steamed through, and carrots are softening nicely, about 30 minutes.  

Note:  There will be about 1/4" of liquid/juices in bottom of the pan -- that's what you want.

IMG_2141 IMG_2142~ Step 3. Add the beef stock, followed by the Kitchen Bouquet.

Stir to combine all ingredients and adjust heat to a steady simmer.


Note:  Taste and adjust seasoning, adding a bit more salt and/or pepper, only if necessary. 

~ Step 4.  In a 1-cup measuring container, using a fork, thoroughly combine/whisk the cornstarch and water until smooth and drizzly.

IMG_2158~ Step 5. Return to a gentle but steady simmer and allow to cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly, to give the cornstarch time to work its magic.

Note:  It's important to know that cornstarch will not thicken any mixture until it comes to a simmer.

IMG_2171 IMG_2160~ Step 6. Add all of the noodles and stir to thoroughly combine.  Bring to a boil stirring constantly.  Adjust heat to a slow but steady simmer.




~ Step 7.  Cover the pan and continue to simmer very gently for about 12-15 minutes, stirring frequently.  

IMG_2177Turn the heat off and allow the mixture to sit, covered, for another 12-15 minutes, for the noodles to absorb most of the remaining liquid, stirring occasionally.

IMG_2190 IMG_2187 ~ Step 8. Add the sour cream.  Stir to thoroughly combine, until the mixture is uniform in color.

Cover and let sit for another 12-15 minutes, to allow mixture to absorb all of the tangy sour cream flavor. Portion into bowls and serve with a dollop of sour cream and a sprig of fresh parsley on each.

Simply.  Amazing.  Comfort. Food. 

IMG_2201A Creamy, Weeknight Beef Stoganoff Casserole:  Recipe yields about 10, 2- cup servings. This might sound like a lot, but if you pack a lunch and have a microwave in your office, leftovers make a great lunch.

Special Equipment List:  cutting board; chef's knife; vegetable peeler; 14" chef's pan w/straight, deep sides & lid; large spoon or spatula; 1-cup measuring container; fork

6a0120a8551282970b014e86a75acc970d-800wiCook's Note:  To try my family's traditional recipe for ~ Veal Stoganoff Casserole ~, which will require a bit more time and effort on your part, just click into Categories 3, 12 or 19.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2012)


Good to know Chris!

LOl...I think this recipe would be a great way to sneak veggies into kids diets.

One other minor modification I made was to use less ground beef. I made 1/2 a batch so should have used 1.5 lbs. but decided on 1 lb. for reasons of economy. There was still plenty of beef in every spoonful.

Chris -- I think celery would be a delicious addition to this recipe, and, it is indeed better than other recipes containing "cream of" anything soup!

OMG! This is good. Perfect for a cool wet day like today. The only modification I made was to add a cup or 2 of chopped celery because I had it on hand and wanted to use it up.

This reminds me of an upgraded version of a 1970's recipe that used condensed cream of celery and mushrooms soup.

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