For well over a year, I had craved a dish of beef stroganoff—admittedly, due to a meme where three anime women cook it horrendously, but the origins are beside the matter. Not only am I a pasta and mushroom lover, the comfort and flavor of such a meal isn’t one I get very often. Unfortunately, I had little chance to get it—the nearest restaurant that serves it decently is an hour away, my parents were hesitant to cook it themselves, and it’s not exactly something one can enjoy out of the frozen meals aisle at the grocery store. But when my birthday dinner came around, and my cooking skills had become adequate, I finally had the chance to make it myself.
The ingredients on the recipe I followed (from GimmeSomeOven) were expansive to me, even when serving five people. A pound of egg noodles, a pound and a half of flank steak, just as much mushroom, and two cups of beef stock, to name about half of the list. Beef stroganoff also always requires a bit of Worcestershire sauce from as far as I can tell, and even though I can actually pronounce the name, I wasn’t too thrilled since I didn’t know what we’d do with the rest of the bottle. As it turned out, the answer was “nothing,” as we already had a bottle in our cabinet that we didn’t use enough for me to know about.
The only help I received from my mother before she left was cutting the steak thinly. The sautéing of the vegetables, the cooking of the noodles, and the mixing of the sauce was all left to me, save a few times one of my guests offered to help with some of the more simultaneous actions (mainly wrangling the pasta when I still had sauce to simmer). The process wasn’t a piece of cake, it was several pieces of beef I swear I ended up overcooking, but I had enough pasta experience to keep my wits and serve it.
It was just as great as I had imagined. The flavors were inviting, yet the kicks of garlic and pepper still kept them interesting, the textures worked well together, and the warmth and savoriness of it all filled my stomach well. My guests were enthused about it too, even if some of them didn’t tell me ahead of time that they didn’t like mushrooms (they just pushed them aside), and I received plenty of compliments about it. While the hefty ingredient list means I won’t be making it often, it’s easily accessible to the home chef, and a meal I think is well worth the trouble.