Stroganoff gone sour (cream)

At many supermarket meat displays you will encounter pre-sliced beef destined for stirfries or lesser versions of beef stroganoff.

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You may save time using pre-cut beef but it may lower the quality of the final outcome. Instead buy a good piece of rump and cut it into generous slices. The advantage here is twofold: first, the beef is unambiguously rump steak and second, thicker slices are more moist and hence contribute to a finer flavour.

Bring a 2â„“ saucepan of lightly salted water to a rolling boil, then have it standing by for later in the proceedings. Cut the brown mushrooms into quarters. Select a heavy-bottomed frying pan and pour in a tablespoon or two of extra-virgin olive oil.

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Bring to medium heat and fry the quartered mushrooms for as long as it takes for the white bits to turn brown. Remove from the pan and reserve under cover.

Using the same pan with the same residual oil and mushroom fragments, raise the heat and swiftly stirfry the freshly cut strips of rump steak. About 40 seconds or so per side should brown them nicely without overcooking.  At this point, reduce the heat and return the mushrooms to the pan. Add the four tablespoons sweet sherry.

The meals works just fine without the dop, while not denying the pleasing overtones the sherry adds to the final flavour. Bring the water back to a rolling boil and cook the pasta for as long as the package instructs. When ready, drain and reserve under cover.

Sour cream with attitude
Meanwhile, back in the frying pan, add the entire 250ml crème fraiche. If this is a new cooking ingredient for you, note that crème fraiche is best described as sour cream with attitude. And one hell of an attitude at that, bringing with it a series of top-end flavour frequencies that give the meal added complexity.

If there’s no crème fraiche at your corner store, standard sour cream does powerfully good work. Let the crème fraiche or sour cream mix well with the meat and mushrooms and bubble away for a minute or two. Stir in the ground paprika and season to taste with black pepper and a little salt.

Serve this over the ribbon pasta or alternatively with mashed potato or rice. A green salad on the side adds balance and flavour, while an ultra-chilled Windhoek lager gives new meaning to personal happiness. – David Basckin     |fw

This is just one of a thousand ways to enjoy a good steak without the intervention of a raw fire damped down with lager.
Just who Mr Stroganoff was is of little interest. What really matters is the fine food invention he created, which not only tastes
superior to many beef dishes but is also a cinch to make.

To make Beef Stroganoff for four, you will need:
800g rump steak
250g brown mushrooms
250ml crème fraiche or sour cream
1 tablespoon (T) paprika
4T sweet sherry (optional)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper on demand
Extra-virgin olive oil
500g ribbon pasta