I love my Saturday mornings. I can sleep in as long as I want, Mike gets up and gets us coffee at the nearby Mercury coffee hut, I drink my cappuccino in bed and call my mum in Germany. That always makes for a great start into a relaxed weekend. This morning’s routine got changed a tiny little bit by Mike tapping on my shoulder and saying: call Alfred (my dad in Germany) I need to talk with Alfred. Usually I call my mum and chat with her between 30 minutes and 1,5 hours and Mike might chat with my dad for 1 or 2 minutes after my 1,5 hour conversation with my mum, but today Mike wanted to speak with Alfred right away and I knew what it would be about.
8 days ago my dad called us and left a message on our answering machine:
Hallo, hier ist der Alfred, Heuer geht’s wohl nicht so gut fuer die Amerikaner in der Olympiade…
Translated: Hello, this is Alfred, it’s not going so well this year for the Americans in the Olympics …I had to laugh so hard when I listened to the voice mail, I had to play it several times for Mike. What made it so funny is that my dad rarely calls but with Germany leading in Gold medals and total medal count gave him incentive enough to call and proudly state that this year around the “small country of Germany” beat the “almighty US”. This moment though was short lived with Germany now being way behind the US and Mike made sure he returned the favor of a call and rubbed in the defeat – my poor dad – we have a saying for when you have something one day and then it’s gone the other day…”Wie gewonnen so zerronnen” , I think in English you say: Chicken one day, feathers the other. Mike immediate made it clear what he thinks about Germany’s chances to win any medals in the summer Olympics: Alfred, he said the Germans are better on skis than sneakers – ouch who beats an old man when he is already down? Those two for sure enjoy their little country rivalry. Good that the German’s are unbeatable in the fine and pure art of brewing Mike’s favorite beverage (beer) as well as their engineering of superb sports cars. Thankfully my dad and husband re-unite when it comes to beer and Currywurst (the German take on a hot dog) and both are looking forward seeing each other this year in July when we are visiting my parents in their new home in Moenchengladbach.
With the Sochi Olympics ending, I will honor our little German/US Olympic rivalry by cooking a hearty Russian Dish – Beef Stroganoff. You can easily cook this dish during a weeknight and serve it with a simple mixed salad and it will make for a very exquisite meal.
- 2 cups of beef stock
- 1 can of cream of mushroom soup (I know its not very “gourmet” but I have found that it adds a very rich and flavorful taste to the dish, more than if you are only adding in sour cream)
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 pounds of TriTip cut into thin strips (if you can’t find TriTip you can also use Top Sirloin)
- 1 – 1½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon onion power
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons cognac
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 pound mushrooms, sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- Dash of garlic salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons sour cream, plus more for garnish
- 1 (1-pound) package wide egg noodles
- Rinse off the beef, pat it dry and cut it into thin strips (not too thin though).
- Season the meat with salt, pepper and onion salt and sprinkle 2 tablespoons of four over the meat and massage everything in.
- Heat 2 tablespoons oil and 2 tablespoons of butter in a large heavy bottomed skillet over high heat. Fry the meat in batches so that it is browned on all sides. To ensure the meat doesn’t turn out chewy, fry the meat on high heat so that the pores can close and keep the juices in. If you put all the meat into the pan at once the temperature drops immediately and you have a lot of water come out of the meat and it will cook rather than fry. It’s a little bit more work to fry the meat in batches but it makes a huge difference.
- When all the meat is fried up, lower the heat to medium and return all the meat to the pot. Pour in the cognac and cook until the alcohol has burned off, about 5 minutes. Add the beef stock, cream of mushroom soup and time springs, cover the pot and let the meat simmer on low for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile cook the noodles in a large pot of boiling water and also work on the mushrooms.
- Heat the 5 tablespoons of butter in a pan on medium heat and sauté the mushrooms. Add the 3 garlic cloves, a dash of pepper and garlic salt. The trick to make mushrooms tasty is a) to use a lot of butter and fresh garlic (Garlic salt will do too) and b) to really fry them up, I like to get them really brown; they almost shrink to ½ of their original size. I would say fry them on medium to medium high for 5-8 minutes. Watch out though not to burn the garlic. Then pour the entire batch of mushrooms into your meat mixture. Taste if the dish needs more seasoning. I like to add a little bit of spice and season with a little bit of cayenne pepper.
- Serve the stroganoff over the noodles; garnish with more sour cream and chopped parsley.
Guten Appetit and hopefully Germany will tie the US in Gold medals!