Beef Stroganoff has had its heyday: terribly popular with both restaurant chefs and dinner party hostesses of the 1950’s to 70’s, I can’t remember the last time I saw it on a menu or dinner table. It’s been relegated to buffet dishes and ready meals, beige and bland, insipid and gloopy. It sits in canteen chafing dishes, or is blitzed in the microwave, until it’s rubbery, grey, congealed. No wonder we don’t think of it fondly.
Of course, that’s not how it should be.
True beef Stroganoff is a treat: punchy and rich, with a silky brandy-spiked sauce made from beef stock, sour cream and mustard, covering sautéed onions and mushrooms and impossibly tender, rare meat. It’s a luxury dish, made with expensive cuts. But then, it should be, as it has lofty heritage.