With all eyes on Russia for the 2014 Winter Olympics, there is a spike in learning about Russian culture and cuisine throughout Wilmington and the Brandywine Valley. As with many sporting events both on TV and on the playing field, tailgating and sports parties are in vogue for the Olympics in Wilmington.
Russian cuisine is a collection of the different cooking traditions of the Russian people. Its foundations were laid by the peasant food of the rural population in an often harsh climate, with a combination of plentiful fish, poultry, game, mushrooms, berries, and honey. Crops of rye, wheat, barley and millet provide the ingredients for an overabundance of breads, pancakes, cereals, beer and vodka. Soups and stews full of flavor are centered on seasonal or storable produce, fish and meats. This wholly native food remained the staple for the vast majority of Russians well into the 20th century.
A Russian theme tailgating party in front of the TV might consist of Beef Stroganoff, a warm and hearty dish perfect for the cold of Wilmington Delaware. While it is snowing out, keep warm with this dish and cheer on your favorite Olympic team. Beef stroganoff, the most well know of Russian dishes, consists of strips of lean beef sautéed and served in a sour-cream sauce with onions and mushrooms. The recipe, which is of Russian origin, has been known since the eighteenth century, but its name appears to come from Paul Stroganoff, a ninetieth-century Russian diplomat. Legend has it that when he was stationed in deepest Siberia, his chef discovered that the beef was frozen so solid that it could only be coped with by cutting it into very thin strips.
2 1/4 lb beef (boneless)
4 Tbsp flour
4 Tbsp ketchup
5 oz sour cream
2 cup broth
1 Tbsp flour pounded with butter
1 small onion, chopped
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
Chop the meat long wise fibers and beat the pieces a little. Cut the meat pieces into thin strips. Season and roll them in flour. Fry the chopped onion and mushrooms in the pan and when it is gold brown, add the beef stripes to the pan. Fry on a high heat until the meat is light brown.
Make a sauce: fry 1 Tbsp flour pounded with butter for few minutes, add sour cream, ketchup, salt. Pour the sauce over meat and stew on a low heat during 15-20 minutes. Don't let the sauce come to a boil; otherwise the meat will be hard and tough. Beef Stroganoff is served with egg noodles and fried potatoes.
Tip: Pair the dish with an old fashion dry vodka martini or a dirty vodka martini. Start the party off with a bit of Russian caviar, smoked salmon, a variety of cheeses and toasted baguette slices.