Monday, February 6, 2017

Quick and Easy Beef Stroganoff Meatballs over Egg Noodles

Life keeps us all busy, so when it comes to weeknight dinners, Mrs. Awesome and I are always looking for simple recipes to make a delicious meal in 30 minutes or less. We created this beef stroganoff recipe for those cold winter nights when you want a rich and filling meal, but don't have the time to slow cook tougher cuts of beef which would typically be used. Using hamburger instead of flank steak or another cut gives you fantastic results in a fraction of the time. The mushrooms lends an earthy meatiness as well and as everything cooks in a single pot, the cleanup is quick and easy too. The egg noodles are cooking alongside the stroganoff, so everything is ready at about the same time. Toss in a vegetable side or a quick tossed salad and you're sorted!

I love ground beef. Seriously. It is such an underappreciated, versatile ingredient often relegated to tacos, chili, meatloaf and, of course, hamburgers. We support a fabulous local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm near our home, which provides us with some of the best beef I've ever eaten. Each week, we receive a pound of ground beef as part of our membership.   The inspiration for Beef Stroganoff Meatballs came from Mrs. Awesome as we drove to our local public library. 

Originally intended for Tamale Pie, we began to talk about other ways to prep are the beef as neither of use were in the mood for Mexican.

"Your Grandmother's meatball recipe?" I offered.

"We don't have the ingredients, but with the snow and cold, something good with those egg noodles we have like Swedish meatballs or Beef Stroganoff would be good."

"But that's usually made with flank steak?"

"We could just make Beef Stroganoff Meatballs," Mrs. Awesome replied.

"We have onions at home, I could slice and saute those to go with the meatballs."

"I think mushrooms would be better," Mrs. Awesome answered, her mind already putting this delicious and easy dish together.

Pure genius. 

Because are smitten with our electric pressure cooker, I decided to make the entire dish in a single pot using it. Let me say, it worked magnificently in the stainless steel insert we picked up a few weeks ago. Of course, a pressure cooker isn't needed for this recipe, I just love the brown feature as well as the slow cooker feature it has. 

Beef Stroganoff Meatballs (Serves 4)

For the Meatballs: 
1 lb. Ground Beef
1/2 cups Breadcrumbs
1 Tbsp Mustard
1 Tbsp Ketchup
1 tsp Beef Base, or 1 crushed bouillon cube
1-1/2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Black Pepper
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder (Not Garlic Salt)
1/2 tsp Dried Thyme
2 Tbsp Oil (canola, olive, coconut- your preference), for frying

For the Sauce: 
8 oz. Sliced Mushrooms
2-1/2 cups Beef Broth
1/2 tsp Dried Thyme
2 Tbsp Cornstarch
3 Tbsp. Sour Cream
Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder to taste

1 pound Egg Noodles, cooked al dente

Fresh Parsley, minced

Start the water for the pasta and when it comes to a boil, cook noodles per their instructions.

Whilst the water is heating, begin making the meatballs. Combine the first ten ingredients in a bowl and mix until thoroughly mixed. Roll into desired size and set aside.

In a medium, heavy bottomed pot, over medium high heat, heat the oil. When it is hot, add the half the meatballs and brown them nicely all around. They may stick at first, but be patient, they will release as they cook. Once browned, transfer to a clean plate and brown the remainder of the meatballs. Don't worry if bits stick to the bottom of the pan, we'll deal with those flavor bombs in due course!

In the same pan, add the mushrooms and saute for 4-5 minutes, until softened. Transfer those to the plate that has the browned meatballs on it. Now for those delicious flavor bombs I was talking about. The culinary term for those caramelized bits is "frond". Pour about 1/2 cup of the beef broth into the pan and deglaze the pan by scraping up the frond and incorporating them- they'll dissolve into the stock. They're packed with flavor, and we want that! Once you've scraped the pan clean, add the meatballs, mushrooms and whatever juices have collected on the plate back into the pan, and use a silicone spatula to scrape the drippings into the pan as well. Add the dried thyme, crushing it in the palms of your hands, and the remainder of the beef stock. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and let cook for 10 minutes or so to cook the meatballs all the way through. Put the cornstarch in a small bowl and whisk in a ladle or so of the hot beef broth to make a slurry. Once it's incorporated, add it to the pot, mixing it in and bringing the sauce back to a boil. It will thicken, and should coat the back of a spoon. Reduce heat to low and put the sour cream in the bowl you used for the cornstarch. Temper the sour cream by adding a little of the thickened sauce to it and whisking it in. If you add too much hot liquid to the sour cream it will curdle, so take your time. Add a little, maybe a half ladle at a time, whisk and add some more. Once you've added 2 or so ladles of sauce to the sour cream, you can stir it into the main pot without fear of it breaking. Check and adjust seasoning.

Serve over egg noodles and garnish with minced parsley.

Bon Apetit!

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