My best Stroganoff recipes include recipes for beef Stroganoff, chicken Stroganoff, mushroom Stroganoff and meatball Stroganoff and they’re all deliciously comforting. While probably considered a wintery dish – and Stroganoff is wonderfully warming with mashed potatoes, fries or pasta – Stroganoff can be lightened up with a salad for a summer meal.
My best Stroganoff recipes are some of the most popular recipes on Grantourismo so I thought I’d gather them in a single place for your convenience as much as for my own. I’m currently developing two new Stroganoff recipes, which I’ll publish next month and add to this collection.
Before I share my best Stroganoff recipes, I have to confession or two. I’ve been sharing my Russian family recipes here with a heavy heart since Putin invaded Ukraine. You should also know that while I’ve long called my family recipes ‘Russian recipes’ or ‘Russian-Australian recipes’, my mother’s heritage is Russian-Ukrainian.
When my grandmother was born in Odessa during the Russian Empire on the eve of the Revolution, Ukraine didn’t exist as a nation; my grandfather was always more vocal about his Russian identity – to which baboushka often responded with an eye-roll; and ‘Russian-Ukrainian-Australian’ seemed like such a mouthful, so I’ve just used ‘Russian family recipes’.
When Putin invaded Ukraine, I’d been working on a cookbook-cum-history of my family and Russian-Ukrainians in Australia for a few years. While I was distressed by the cancelling of Russian culture – this is Putin’s war and that of his cronies, not ordinary Russians – I felt ashamed I’d taken for granted part of my grandmother’s heritage, hyphenating it rather than distinguishing it in the way I do when writing on Cambodia’s mixed culinary heritage.
I’m in the process of revisiting my research and writing, and my baboushka’s recipes, which in some cases are a fusion of sorts, and, as I stand with Ukraine and Russians against Putin, figuring out what I can do from Cambodia to help. Until then, one way that food lovers can help is to donate to the website of #CookForUkraine, a global movement of supper clubs, restaurants and chefs, supporting Ukraine, inspired by the #CookforSyria movement.
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Best Stroganoff Recipes for Beef Stroganoff, Chicken, Mushroom and Meatball Stroganoff
Best known as a retro classic of the 1970s, beef Stroganoff is an old aristocratic Russian dish that is rich in history. Democratized and popularised in the cafeterias of the Soviet Union, beef Stroganoff travelled the world with Russian émigrés, exiles and World War II refugees. It’s a dish that’s incredibly comforting – a dish that we all need to make right now.
With my best Stroganoff recipes, I recommend traditional Russian accompaniments such as mashed potatoes, crispy shoestring fries and buckwheat kasha. Stroganoff began to get served with noodles during the Soviet era and when Russian émigrés took the dish with them to China and Hong Kong, they’d typically serve it with rice at their Russian restaurants.
It’s rare that Russians would eat a dish such as Stroganoff alone, even when it was individually served rather than a shared family-style meal at the centre of the table to which we helped ourselves. So, at the very least I recommend a Russian garden salad on the side, as well as dishes of homemade Russian dill pickles and sour cream.
When all the family gathered for a weekend meal or holiday feast, baboushka would prepare a whole spread of dishes, such as my baboushka’s borscht, piroshki, Russian pelmeni and Ukrainian areniki, stuffed cabbage rolls, a beetroot potato salad, and chicken kotleti.
While Stroganoff is a warming and filling dish when served with mash and pasta, I’ll happily tuck into a smaller serving during the hotter months when I’ll do as the Italians do with Italian-style meatballs or polpetti, eaten with little else but a side of rucola, and I’ll have this with a garden salad.
Best Stroganoff Recipes for Beef Stroganoff, Chicken, Mushroom and Meatball Stroganoff
Authentic Russian Beef Stroganoff Recipe from a Saint Petersburg Palace Kitchen
The best of my best Stroganoff recipes is this authentic Russian beef Stroganoff recipe, which makes the deliciously rich and creamy braised beef dish cooked centuries ago in the grand kitchen of St Petersburg’s glorious pink Stroganov Palace in the late 1700s.
I like to think of beef Stroganoff as an aristocratic Russian dish with peasant roots. There were mushrooms and beef stews centuries before this Russian beef Stroganoff recipe was said to have been invented by a French chef in the Stroganov dynasty’s palace kitchen.
There are detailed instructions for preparing beef stews using every bit of the cow in Domostroi: Rules for Russian Households in the Time of Ivan the Terrible, first published in 1533 – and mushrooms feature heavily in the book, served fresh, dried, pickled, boiled, baked, and fried in butter; in pies, pastries, patties, fritters, tarts, dumplings, soups, and stews.
While mushrooms and onions could well have featured in the beef Stroganoff dish served in the St Petersburg palace dining room, they didn’t appear in the early beef Stroganoff recipes. My beef Stroganoff recipe is based on a combination of my family recipe, a beef Stroganoff I fell in love with in Moscow, and the earliest documented beef Stroganoff recipes by Elena Molokhovets in A Gift to Young Housewives, dating to 1861, and Pelageya Aleksandrova-Ignatieva in Practical Basics of Culinary Arts, dating to 1899.
As tasty as it is, Molokhovets’ recipe for Govjadina po-strogonovski s gorchitseju or beef in the Stroganoff style with mustard, includes little more than the tender beef, allspice, butter, salt, flour (to coat the beef), sour cream, bouillon, pepper, and Sareptskaja mustard. You can buy it online, but we can’t get Amazon here so I use wholegrain mustard. Her recipe didn’t list paprika nor the condiments I love to include. They would come later.
Creamy Mushroom Stroganoff Recipe for a Vegetarian Take on Beef Stroganoff
This creamy mushroom Stroganoff recipe makes a deliciously-rich vegetarian version of my beef Stroganoff recipe, and it’s another of my best Stroganoff recipes. It’s worth noting that historically beef was a luxury for most Russians, eaten mainly on Orthodox holidays, feast days and special occasions.
While Russian nobles in the palaces of St Petersburg and Moscow might have feasted on beef, along with roast lamb, veal, ham, venison, peacocks, swans, cranes, roosters, chickens, ducks, quails, tortoise, and so on, Russia’s peasants mostly ate fish, grains and vegetables, and a lot of mushrooms.
Beef Stroganoff would travel the world with Russian émigrés and World War II refugees like my Russian-Ukrainian grandparents, becoming popular everywhere from Harbin and Shanghai in China and Hong Kong – where ‘white’ Russians who opposed the ‘red’ communists, settled and opened restaurants, tea rooms, cafés, and bars – to Australia and the Americas.
My mushroom Stroganoff recipe doesn’t stray too far from the original – apart from a few additions, including fish sauce (I use Megachef), which isn’t such an odd inclusion, considering the journey of the dish through Asia. It was also in China and Hong Kong that tomato sauce or tomato ketchup was added to beef Stroganoff. Allspice was aleady in the Molokhovets recipe and I especially love it in this mushroom Stroganoff recipe.
Chicken Stroganoff Recipe for a Rich, Spicy, Tangy Old Shanghai Style Stroganoff
My Russian chicken Stroganoff recipe makes another of the best Stroganoff recipes. Inspired by the old Shanghai-style of Stroganoff, it’s incredibly rich, redolent of spices, and slightly tangy due to the addition of Worcestershire sauce, which, while included in the early recipes, was bumped up in the Russian restaurants in early 20th century Shanghai and Harbin.
In each of those cities, exiles established vibrant Russian communities with Russian bakeries, Russian delis, Russian tea rooms and, of course, Russian restaurants. While most of those establishments have long gone and those that remain open are no longer owned by Russians, Stroganoff still appears on menus everywhere from Shanghai to Hong Kong.
You’ll find a beef Stroganoff in Hong Kong that’s redder in colour than the traditional Russian Stroganoff. It’s heavy on ketchup, which was invented in China, and includes Worcestershire sauce, which, with its fermented fish, tamarind, chilli pepper, soy, and cloves is distinctly Asian.
But I liked the sound of the Stroganoff that was served in Old Shanghai, which was said to have included soy sauce along with the Worcestershire sauce. I’ve bumped up the spice and along with the Worcestershire, tomato sauce and soy sauce, I’ve added fish sauce again.
Meatball Stroganoff Recipe for Juicy Meatballs in a Gently Spiced Mushroom Gravy
This meatball Stroganoff recipe makes another of my best Stroganoff recipes, combining two of my favourite Russian dishes, my spicy mushroom Stroganoff and juicy Russian meatballs called tefteli. My mother and grandmother did not make meatball Stroganoff. I take full responsibility but I’m certain baba would have approved.
In 1899, Pelageya Aleksandrova-Ignatieva’s beef Stroganoff recipe in her Practical Guide to the Basics of Culinary Arts called for beef tenderloin, butter, tomato paste, sour cream, beef broth, fume (an aspic-like bone broth), sausage, onion, salt, pepper, and Kabul sauce. But still no mushrooms – nor meatballs.
Kabul sauce was described as a sweet and sour, umami-rich condiment likened to Worcestershire sauce. While ingredients varied between recipes, they typically included any combination of ‘soy’ or fermented soya beans, mushrooms, spices, peppers, cayenne, and anchovies. Later recipes substituted Kabul/Mogul sauce for soy sauce.
During the mid-20th century, the sauce was renamed or substituted for Yuzhny or South Sauce or Southern Sauce, recipes for which typically called for tomatoes, onions, garlic, salt, distilled vinegar, spices, and raisins or other fruit.
The sauce is remarkably like ketchup or tomato sauce, which typically includes tomatoes, onions, garlic, salt, vinegar, sugar, and spices, among other ingredients. And that’s my justification for more spices, fish sauce, dark soy sauce, and tomato sauce in my meatball Stroganoff recipe.
Please do let us know in the comments below if you make any of my best Stroganoff recipes as I’d love to know how they turn out for you.