Mushroom stroganoff

Mushroom stroganoff served with rice and fresh coriander
Stroganoff is a traditional Russian stew consisting of chunks of beef cooked in a stock and sour cream sauce flavoured with mustard or tomato paste or both. Nowadays it’s usually flavoured with a generous sprinkling of sweet and smoky paprika – though I’m not sure how traditional this is, it certainly adds a beautiful depth of flavour to the sauce. The warm, creamy sauce makes this a lovely dinner for a chilly autumn evening, piled on a hefty serving of carbs (rice, pasta, mashed potato, thickly cut sourdough toast….wait, where was I?).

Autumn is also the time of year that many varieties of wild mushrooms are in season. I absolutely love mushrooms, and I don’t believe that you’re missing out on anything by substituting the usual strips of beef with mushrooms in this recipe, especially if you can find a mix of different types that are both meaty and packed with flavour. I used a combination of Portobello, chestnut and chanterelle mushrooms, the latter of which were a very exciting find in the local organic grocers. Chanterelles can be found in the UK from late summer all throughout autumn, and I think they are just as exciting (and expensive…) as a piece of good quality steak. You can use whatever variety of mushrooms you prefer or which are available in the shops. Of course if you dislike mushrooms then you can switch back to the traditional beef – use a cut suitable for quick cooking such as rump or sirloin.

One year ago:
Steak pie with puff pastry
Toad in the hole with onion gravy
Easy apple tarts
Ingredients for wild mushroom stroganoff
Ingredients (serves 2)
400g mixed mushrooms
1 tbsp olive oil
25g butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed or finely chopped
1 tsp paprika
¼ tsp hot chilli powder
½ tsp Dijon mustard
½ tbsp tomato puree
Splash of white wine
100ml vegetable stock
3 tbsp sour cream
Salt and pepper
Fresh parsley to garnish
Rice to serve

Method
1. Prepare the mushrooms. Lightly rinse them if you feel like they’re very grubby, but a wipe with a damp cloth and a quick dust of the gills with a pastry brush should do the job. Slice or halve any large mushrooms so that they are all in similar bite-sized pieces.
Mixed cleaned and sliced mushrooms
2. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large pan until the butter begins to bubble.
Heating butter and olive oil in a large pan
3. Tip in the onion and garlic and mix well in the olive and butter. Cook over a medium heat for about five minutes until the onion has softened.
Frying onion and garlic in olive oil and butter
4. Turn up the heat and add the mushrooms, mixing well again. Fry quickly until the mushrooms begin to brown, adding a little extra butter if necessary.
Adding mixed mushrooms to the onions and garlic
5. Stir through the paprika, chilli powder, mustard and tomato puree, then add the white wine and allow to bubble for a few minutes.
Adding white wine to the mixed mushrooms
6. Add the vegetable stock and sour cream and stir well. Reduce the heat and cook for another few minutes until the sauce is well combined and the mushrooms are cooked through. Season to taste with salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper.
Adding sour cream to the mushroom stroganoff
Finishing the mushroom stroganoff with seasoning
Serve the stroganoff with rice, or pasta such as tagliatelle if you prefer, and top with fresh parsley.
Mushroom stroganoff served with rice
Mushroom stroganoff served with fresh coriander

Beef shin and mushroom casserole

Beef shin and mushroom casserole served with homemade bread and red wine
Happy New Year gorgeous readers! I hope your festive break was filled to the brim with your favourite people, your favourite food and drink, and your favourite films, music, books and games. I know mine certainly was, and so much more. I can’t remember the last time I laughed so much. You know that kind of laughter that makes your stomach and throat hurt and your breathing difficult? Yeah, that.

And so now it is January. The fruit bowl has been piled high, the vegetable drawer in the fridge is stuffed full and gym memberships have been renewed with gusto. I have just discovered Yoga with Adriene’s 30 Days of Yoga and what a revelation it is. I had forgotten how amazing just a short yoga practice every day is, plus there is the bonus that Adriene is an absolute babe. Serious babe crush going on.

But on the other hand, we are still in the depths of winter. The days may be getting gradually longer, but it really doesn’t feel like it right now. So let’s all agree that we still need some comfort food every now and then, yeah? We can stick to stir-fry and steamed vegetables and baked fish during the week, but on a Sunday night let’s snuggle up together on the sofa, wearing our comfiest pyjamas, with steaming bowls of stew and glasses of red wine. Cheers to that.
Ingredients for beef shin and mushroom casserole with parsnips
Ingredients (serves 2-3)
1 generous tbsp dried ceps (aka porcini mushrooms)
2 small onions, finely chopped
1 large clove of garlic, finely chopped
2-3 small carrots, cut into chunky wedges
2 medium parsnips (or in my case, one daddy, one mummy and one baby parsnip), cut into chunky wedges
350g beef shin
180g mushrooms, either cup or button
Large glass of red wine
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp redcurrant jelly
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 160C/140C fan/Gas mark 2. Lightly crush the dried ceps in a mortar and pestle.
Dried ceps in a pestle and mortar
Dried ceps lightly crushed in a pestle and mortar
Cover with a few tablespoons of hot water and leave to soak.
2. Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a casserole pot or pan and gently fry the onion and garlic over a low heat for 5-10 minutes until soft and just beginning to brown.
Sautéing finely chopped onions
3. Turn the heat up so the onions sizzle and add the carrots and parsnips, mixing well to coat them in oil. Allow the vegetables to cook for another 5 minutes.
Adding carrots and parsnips to the onion
4. Remove the vegetables from the pan and set aside. Add a little more olive oil and wait until very hot. Generously season the beef shin with salt and pepper and add to the hot pan. Fry on a very high heat for a couple of minutes until brown and caramelised on both sides.
Browning the seasoned beef shins
5. Pour the wine into the pan and bubble for 3-5 minutes to reduce the liquid by about one third.
Adding red wine to the beef shin
6. Add the vegetables back into the pan, along with the now-rehydrated ceps (including the soaking water), and stir. Season and tuck a couple of bay leaves into the stew, pop the lid on the pan and put into the oven.
Adding the vegetables back into the casserole
7. Remove the stalks from the mushrooms, peel and cut in half. If you’re using button mushrooms then skip this step and use them whole! Ain’t nobody got time for that.
Peeled and chopped mushrooms
8. After an hour and a half remove the stew from the oven and stir in the mushrooms and redcurrant jelly. If necessary add a splash of water to the stew.
Adding mushrooms and redcurrant jelly to the beef shin casserole
9. Continue to cook the stew in the oven for a further 30-60 minutes. The meat should be beautifully tender and the relatively large amount of fat in the cut of beef shin should have melted away into the sweet, rich liquid.
Beef shin, mushroom and parsnip casserole
Serve with potatoes, cooked in the style of your choice, or some lovely fresh bread which you can use to mop up the delicious sauce. And of course, since it’s January, I suppose some steamed vegetables on the side will help to make us feel that little bit more virtuous.
Beef shin casserole served with green vegetables and homemade bread