Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Sour Cream Beef Casserole aka Oven-baked Stroganoff

Sour Cream Beef Casserole
Home Cooking

My neighbor recently acquired a Le Crueset round French Oven from his grandmother. After the initial euphoria at receiving this coveted piece, he grew wary at the notion that perhaps the said grandmother would be disappointed by his use. Determined to prove himself wrong, he set about making a beef creation that turned out so amazing that it was labeled 'the tastiest thing I ever made'. I didn't want to sound too skeptical since I benefit from his cooking all the time and the last thing a sensible person does is bites the hand that feeds them... so my reply was simply 'best is a big call'.

The prompt response to that was 'I'll prove it to you'.

So there it happened.

On the morning of Chinese New Year, we made a trip to the grocery store to stock the necessary ingredients.

I didn't know what to call this dish but it's a bit like a beef stroganoff without mushrooms. Also, rather that being cooked on the stove, the meat is sealed off and everything is finished in the oven. A French oven is basically a casserole dish so you could substitute with that. This dish is in effect, a beef and veggie casserole with strog-inspired flavors.

Sour Cream Beef Casserole

Serves 3-4

  • 500g chuck steak, cut into cubes
  • 2 onions, cut into wedges
  • 4 potatoes, cut into even, bite-sized chunks
  • 3 carrots, sliced 1cm thick
  • 3 rashes of bacon, rind removed and diced
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp barbecue sauce
  • 1/4 cup of red wine
  • 1/2 cup beef stock (we used stock powder dissolved in water)
  • 125ml sour cream (we used light sour cream)
  • 2-3 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley

1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Seal the steak with the butter. Set aside in the casserole dish.2. In the frying pan, saute the onion, potato and carrot. Add the tomato once everything else is browning. Scatter all the veggies in the casserole dish.3. In the meantime, make your sauce by combining the barbecue sauce, wine and beef stock in a small saucepan or frying pan. Bring to the boil and reduce the heat to thicken slightly. Taste and season accordingly.3. Pour the sauce over the veggies and beef. Pop the lid on the casserole dish and place in the oven.
4. Bake for 20-30min until the meat is tender.5. Stir through the sour cream. Taste and adjust seasoning if required.
6. Serve with a sprinkling of chopped parsley.

True to his claims, this was a delicious creation. You know when someone states that anything is the 'best of', you automatically get skeptical. The usual sequence of events is that your subconscious expectations rise so high that you'll almost get disappointed by default. As we figured out once (whilst discussing this very topic), it's highly, highly difficult for a human food product to match something your mind fabricates.

That aside, I was loving this dish after one bite. The sour cream really pulls everything together and makes the sauce thick and creamy with a slight tang but not at all heavy or cloying.

I'm the kind of person who 'thinks' a lot when they're eating, especially if it's something good. By that I mean, I'll stage the components so that I'll be alternating between bitefuls of the 'good stuff' with bitefuls of the 'less good stuff' and I always try to end on something good. With this, I was hard pressed to find anything less good.

Saucy close-up

Oh, and I ended up spooning bits of sauce greedily from the plate.

It should also be mentioned that the leftovers were fab too.

The potato here provides your starch but if you like, you could omit that and instead serve a saucier version of this dish over rice or pasta.

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