I'm a little reluctant to post this dinner because, well, it doesn't look pretty. But shouldn't it still be invited to the dance? It has other charms, cross my heart. What it lacks in good looks, it makes up for in inner beauty: Think hearty beef and mushrooms in a creamy sour cream sauce made extra savory with dijon mustard. And it's easy on the pocketbook too. Normally beef stroganoff is made with the most supple cuts of fillet mignon. My Miss Congeniality stroganoff is made from humble stew meat, made lovingly tender by a long simmer. (If you're around the house you can simmer it in on the stovetop; if you'll be away, the crockpot works just as well. ) See, it's a cheap date, fun, and full of tender loving kindness.
Friday, February 6, 2009
And, ahem, contributing to dinner's unassuming appearance: that pile of timid lima beans. An explanation: my boy charge had a science experiment involving four lima beans this week. Unless you are like Jack in the Beanstalk, you will not have four beans lying around the house, and you will have to buy the whole bag of limas. And then what will you do? So after we scientifically identified the cotyledon, future plant, and seed coat we cooked up the rest and ate them alongside our bashful stroganoff. And the charges ate them too. Whaddya know? Maybe next we should do a science experiment with brussel sprouts....
Have a great weekend!
Money Saving Tips:
Stew meat is a great way to savor tender beef on a budget. Stroganoff is traditionally served over egg noodles, but you could use pasta, couscous, or brown rice, as I've done. Button, cremini, or portabello mushrooms would work well here, so choose whichever one you can find the cheapest this week.
Dijon Beef Stroganoff-Penny Pinching Style
Estimated Cost: $7.00 for four hearty servings
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large onions, chopped
1 lb. stew meat, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 tablespoons flour
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 cups beef broth
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoon dijon mustard (my favorite is horseradish Dijon)
rice or noodles, for serving
In a large pot, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the onions and cook until softened, about four minutes. Add the beef and sprinkle over the flour. Cook, stirring until nicely browned. Add garlic, mushrooms, and thyme. Saute for 2 minutes. Stir in beef broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 2 hours. (The mixture can be transferred to a crock pot. Cook on low for 4-6 hours-or longer if you'll be away.) Just before serving, stir in the sour cream and dijon. DO NOT BOIL. Warm through and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve over rice or noodles.
Getting Started with Valentine's Day Dinner