A lot of kids clamor for pizza or McDonald’s on their birthdays. I always requested beef stroganoff. Far from resembling the gluey monstrosities rendered infamous by hospital cafeterias and pre-microwave era frozen dinners, my mother’s stroganoff was a creamy delight consisting of slender morsels of beef and onions in a lightly creamy, slightly spicy mushroom broth. Her secret? Dijon mustard.
Unfortunately, it was not exactly the healthiest dish in the world. (Hence the special birthday status.) So in the 36 years or so I spent avoiding cooking, I made one exception in the form of my search for a recipe that would permit me to have my (birthday) cake and eat it too–i.e. a recipe so healthy I would not need to wait until my birthday to indulge. I started by swapping out the beef and beef broth for chicken and chicken broth and using light sour cream. It worked just fine. Because one of my best friends is a vegetarian, I went a step further tonight. I eliminated the meat entirely. The result retained virtually all of the stroganoff flavor in a dish that is light enough to eat more than once per year. In fact it was so good I might have to make it again this week. Unfortunately, stroganoff is not terribly photogenic so hopefully you will believe me when I say it tasted much better than it looks in the my worse-than-amateur photo.
Adapted from epicurious.com
In a large pan or Dutch oven that can accommodate your enormous pile of raw mushrooms, melt butter over medium high heat. (Don’t worry, the mushroom pile will evaporate before your eyes as it cooks down.) Sauté garlic for a few seconds. Add onions. Sauté 2 more minutes. Add mushrooms. Cook for about 10 minutes or until most liquid in the pot evaporates. Turn heat down to medium. Add flour and stir for one minute. Add white wine. (For a saucier stroganoff, add additional wine and/or vegetable broth.) Cook about three more minutes. Turn off heat. (This is very important because the cream will curdle if it gets too hot.) Add sour cream and mustard.
As kids, we ate stroganoff over plain white rice so that’s how I like to serve it. (It’s also a good way to use up leftover Chinese rice.) However, epicurious suggests mixing the sauce with 12 ounces of freshly-cooked linguine.