I remember saying that this blog will be all about food and foodies. So this time I decided to let another foodie share his gastronomic secrets with us. Today’s entry comes from the kitchen of the Sardar who likes all things Latin.
I remember a trip to Seattle in the summer of 2006. It was a memorable one for me, my first trip to the US and that too with a special someone by my side. What followed was a week-long tryst with the road and some excellent food on the way. It was during that jaunt that I actually discovered a new flavor, rosemary.
After a long day’s drive, we had stopped along the way at a nameless, inconspicuous place where the hosts made the most fabulous stroganoff with some plain rice, which was my first time with beef and that amazing flavor. It was such an amazing experience that I had to implore our hosts to part with the recipe which saved the day for me not long ago. There was some bit of experimentation involved on my side, which, as most who’ve seen me cook know, is inevitable and usually produces quite good results. I did two versions of the same recipe, one with veggies – due to the presence of strict vegetarians among the crowd that day and another with lamb.
Lamb – ½ kg
Prefer it with bone, it tastes better that way and leave some of that fat on it. We’ll be using some wine with it, goes well with it.
White wine – 2 cups
Whatever tickles your fancy, be it chardonnay or riesling, sauvignon blanc or chenin or any other. We had a 2006 Chardonnay from Sonoma during the crisis few weeks back.
Oil – 2 tea spoon
I used refined olive oil (don’t use virgin or extra virgin, they don’t like the heat in the pan). But really, anything will do, you just need to sautè the veggies a bit.
Butter – 50-60 gms
Refined flour/corn flour – 2 tea spoons
Just to thicken the sauce.
Black pepper – just a few corns and just a pinch of crushed (if possible, not essential)
Rosemary – fresh or dried, any which way. Just a large pinch.
Thyme – same as the rosemary
Sour cream – 1 cup/200 gms
We did not have this at all and there was no way you could find sour cream in Noida at 10 in the morning. So, improvisation was the order of the day. We replaced this with a rather generous helping of mayonnaise (1 cup/200 gms). Almost the same ingredients anyway. To add the sourness, use 2 tea spoons of plain white vinegar.
Salt – to taste
Mushrooms – just a few buttons, cleaned and halved or quartered
Carrots – 2 will be enough, chopped rather gingerly into cubes. I prefer the ones that have an orange hue, just coz that color looks much better with all the red meat.
Broccoli – just a handful of flowers, diced in half or quarters.
Baby corn – 5-6 or whatever makes you happy
Spring onions – 5-6 or whatever makes you happy
Bell peppers (capsicums) – 1 small bell each of red, green and yellow
Parsley – chopped up
Even coriander will do the trick, just some garnish. Coriander adds that citrusy zing to things which sadly, I find not so much in parsley.
- In a cooking pot, add ½ a cup of the wine and a few gingerly crushed corns of black pepper, half a pinch of rosemary and thyme. Add the pieces of lamb to it, roll them around to cover them in the wine and spice mix. Leave it for about 30-45 mins and in the meantime make the remainder of the preparation with the veggies, clean’em, cut ‘em, dice ‘em.
- Heat up the rest of the wine and bring it to a sort of a boil. Put in the veggies to poach ‘em a bit, 3-4 mins is just fine. Take them out and put in the lamb-wine-spice mix through the same process. Add some more wine to the 2 cups mentioned above if you feel you’ll be running low on the stock. Keep that stock to cook the rice in.
- Melt the butter in a pan or a skillet and put in the lamb. Move it around a bit. You won’t need more than 50-60 gms of butter for ½ kg of lamb as it has some of its own fat which can be used up good. Let there be an evenly laid out light brown color on the lamb.
- In another cooking pot, heat the oil and start to sautè the vegetables as the lamb gets done. Add the lamb to the veggies and add the remainder of pepper corns, rosemary, thyme and some salt. Add half of the stock to this.
- You could make the sauce separately and add it to the veggies/mutton later. But I prefer to cook it with the sauce, to infuse every part of the dish with that lovely flavor of the herbs. Now, if you have sour cream, good. If you don’t, you can make use of the mayonnaise and vinegar like I did. Tip in the sour cream/mayo before the stock starts to disappear. If you are using mayonnaise, add a couple of tea spoons of plain white vinegar. You should have a rather thin consistency of the sauce at this point which can be taken care of easily by adding a tea spoon of corn flour. If you feel you need more, you can add the second tea spoon too, but one should do the trick.
- Let it simmer away till you get a thick consistency in the sauce and the veggies (especially carrots) and the lamb are thoroughly cooked.
- Oh! You’re done. Just garnish with chopped up greens of spring onions and parsley/coriander.
P.S. – Just leave out the mutton/chicken/beef for a vegetarian version of it.
For the rice
Like she said about the pulow, sizzle the cumin seeds, some bit of spring onions, add the washed and soaked rice, fry it around a bit. And when it’s time to add water (twice as much as the rice), add in the stock from earlier. Just make sure, the amount of water/stock (or a combination of both) is twice the amount of rice. When the water comes to a boil, reduce the heat to minimum and cover the pan. Cook away!
- Stroganoff has its roots in 19th C Russia
- There is a chance that the dish owes its name to some member of the large and important Stroganov family