Long day? Need something really quick and easy yet comforting and filling? Stroganoff is just the thing! Often, stroganoff recipes call for a number of steps involving flour and heavy cream, thinly slicing beef, and so on .. but stroganoff doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be a fast, cheap way to feed one person or a whole family at the end of a very long day using sour cream and ingredients that you happened to have on hand. And by changing up the ingredients, you are less likely to hear the family groan “Not again!” Tired of left overs? This recipe is a great way to revamp several types of left overs!
Some (okay, many — if not most) will argue that this recipe (Tam’s Stroganoff Surprise) isn’t really a stroganoff. Most think of beef with mushrooms in a creamy sauce or gravy served over egg noodles when they hear the word stroganoff. However, — and here is the twist– my recipe can made with any number of vegetables and served over whatever pasta, quinoa, or rice you happen to have on hand. It can even be served over many varieties of freshly toasted bread! During my (very much) younger days as a college student long, long ago, I actually pulled a bowl of cold leftover grits (buttered but otherwise plain, unsweetened, unseasoned) out of the refrigerator, warmed the grits up in the microwave, and ladled some reheated stroganoff over top because I was out of pasta. It was actually wonderful and quite tasty!
You can make it really quickly if using already cooked meat/poultry and drained canned vegetables that only need to be heated through. However, you can also use fresh meats and fresh or frozen vegetables although they do require more time to cook and become tender and some — like frozen sliced carrots — should be precooked or steamed before using (a time when it is perfect to use left overs).
A simple quick cream sauce can be made using sour cream with a choice of milk, broth (beef, chicken, or vegetable) and/or canned cream soups.
You don’t even have to use beef! Chicken and ground Italian sausage also work great! It is even a good way to revamp that left over meatloaf (just crumble it up) or any left over vegetables! Or go meatless and just add more vegetables with added herbs and spices!
My recipe is very versatile! You can get really creative and make your very own designer stroganoff. Just be sure to blog about it so others can give it a try! The possibilities are numerous and limited only by the ingredients you have on hand and your imagination.
It can be made ahead, refrigerated, and later reheated then ladled or spooned over freshly made pasta, rice, quinoa, or toasted bread. Yes, even grits!
Also, it can be made ahead then frozen for a future even faster meal. All you have to do if planning to freeze for future use is skip adding the sour cream until after it has been fully thawed and reheated to prevent lots of unsightly tiny sour cream curdles from forming.
To thaw you can put it in the refrigerator the day before or simply toss it into the pan to thaw on a low to moderate heat setting, stirring occasionally until fully thawed. Add a little more liquid if needed (approx. 1/4 cup). Then reheat until nice and hot before stirring in the sour cream. Simmer a couple of minutes more and ladle or spoon over fresh pasta, rice, etc.
Note: If you forget and do add the sour cream before freezing, although not as pleasant to look at, the dish will still taste just as good after thawing and reheating. The addition of a little (about 1/4 cup) milk, cream, or half n half during reheating will sometimes help reconstitute most if not all of the tiny sour cream curdles.
Start by sautéing onions in a small amount of butter or oil until translucent (almost clear, see through, pale). However, if adding, you will want to sauté any fresh bell peppers or finely shredded carrots that take longer to cook for five to ten minutes before adding your onions. If using, you can add fresh thinly sliced mushrooms with the onions. If using canned mushroom, add them after onions become translucent and just heat through.
If prefer, can sauté minced garlic as well as onions (and, if using, mushrooms) separately from those other vegetables and add it to the meat when browning for additional flavoring.
Brown your meat until no longer pink on moderate heat in a large skillet (if increasing size of recipe you should use a Dutch oven pot); or if already cooked (i.e. canned chicken, leftovers) just until heated through. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If desired, you may add Worcestershire sauce (for beef) and seasonings of choice to any meat. (For example, chicken is good with the addition of 1/2 teaspoon or so rubbed sage, thyme, or rosemary).
Drain off any excess liquid or fat.
Stir in any sautéed vegetables not yet added, if any.
Stir in any other chosen vegetables with your choice of either 1/2 cup broth or water.
Simmer until any frozen or fresh vegetables are thawed, tender, and fully cooked to the desired tenderness; or just until any drained canned vegetables are heated through.
If combining fresh or frozen vegetables along with canned vegetables, it is better to wait until fresh or frozen vegetables are fully cooked before adding the drained canned vegetables.
If required, additional liquid can be added just until any fresh or frozen vegetables are tender and cooked but be careful not to drown the dish before the sauce/gravy is even added. You want the vegetables to simmer and steam while the added liquid reduces. If it boils away too quickly though you may need a little bit more.
Now for the sauce/gravy!
Stir in choice of either 1 can condensed cream of chicken (if using poultry) or mushroom soup; AND/OR a choice of 1/2 cup broth (chicken, beef, or vegetable), milk, cream, half n half, or evaporated canned milk. Reduce heat and simmer on low heat for three to five minutes until heated through. Taste and add additional seasonings if needed or desired. You may also stir in additional canned mushrooms if desired.
Stir in 1 cup sour cream (unless making ahead to freeze for later use) and simmer on low two more minutes. If needed, you can now stir in additional sour cream, milk, or broth to develop the consistency and amount of sauce/gravy desired then simmer another minute or two just to heat through (or you can add additional precooked meat and/or drained canned vegetables if there is more sauce/gravy than you care for). Spoon or ladle over choice of pasta, rice, quinoa, grits, toasted bread.
Have some left over bacon from breakfast? Crumble it over top of your serving!
You’ll want approximately 1 to 2 pounds of meat coupled with a total of 1 to 3 cups of vegetables to start with then adjust up or down to suit you or double the recipe as desired.
Examples (which are not limited to):
Meat (sliced, diced, shredded, or cubed):
crumble up left over meatloaf
ground Italian sausage
left over boiled chicken breasts
canned chicken, drained
fresh boneless, skinless chicken
left over beef roast or briquet
drained canned vegetables (such as green peas, whole kernel corn, sliced carrots, black olives)
sliced or diced onions (white, green, yellow, red/purple)
fresh or canned, or both, mushrooms (thinly sliced, diced, minced)
finely shredded fresh carrots
sliced or diced bell peppers
frozen bell peppers with onions
frozen whole kernel corn
frozen green peas
frozen or fresh mixed vegetables*
Normandy blend frozen vegetables
thinly sliced or shredded zucchini or squash
left over steamed broccoli tops
other left over vegetables
*Note: If using fresh or frozen carrots or mixed frozen vegetables with sliced carrots instead of shredded, you may want to precook or steam separately before using.
Tam's Stroganoff Surprise
- approx. 1 to 2 lbs meat or poultry
- approx. 1 to 3 cups vegetables
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup choice: broth (beef, vegetable, chicken) or water
- 1 can condensed cream soup and/or 1/2 cup choice: broth (beef, vegetable, chicken), milk, half n half, cream, or evaporated milk
- salt and pepper to taste
- other seasonings to taste (optional)
- 1 Tbsp (per pound of beef) Worcestershire sauce (optional)
See my blog for the many options available. You are limited only by the ingredients on hand and your imagination!
Basically, melt a little butter in which to sauté onions and things like shredded fresh carrots, bell peppers, mushrooms and set aside. Alternately sauté onions, minced garlic, and mushrooms to add to meat while cooking for extra flavoring. And after meat is cooked stir in any remaining sautéed vegetables.
Brown meat, stir in remaining sautéed and any other chosen vegetables, and add 1/2 cup of either broth or water. Simmer until raw or frozen vegetables are done and tender or canned and previously cooked vegetables or left overs are heated through.
Add your choice of: 1 can condensed cream of chicken (for poultry) or mushroom soup, and/or 1/2 cup choice: broth (beef, vegetable, chicken), milk, half n half, cream, or evaporated milk, season to taste, and simmer for about five minutes.
Stir in 1 cup sour cream and simmer for a minute or two more. Serve over choice of any pasta, quinoa, rice, or any variety of bread that has been freshly toasted, or even grits.