Hearty for the holidays

CHRISTMAS TIME – IS HERE. It’s amazing to me how the older we get, the more our priorities change when it comes to the holidays. As kids, we want what we want – we can’t wait for it to be Christmas Eve so we can wake up and see what fabulous goodies Santa Claus brought for us during the night. As we become adults, we shift into the mindset of the holidays’ joy and happiness being focused on everyone else, especially our own children. I know this is the way things happened for me at least. And it is undeniable that with the holiday get togethers and celebrations comes an abundance of food. We have already touched on how food equals family, and the importance of the things we eat to the relationships in our lives. Today I’d like to share my mom’s recipe for beef stroganoff. I can remember eating this dish all throughout my childhood, and how it now equates to true comfort food for me. Bites of succulent meat are smothered in a rich gravy and served over that most comforting off all the foods – cooked noodles. For a twist, you could try using chicken instead of beef, or serving over rice instead of noodles. I make this meal exactly as my mother always has. My father loves it to this day and so does my husband. Let it be a hearty addition to your winter-time meal rotation. ~Sam~

Mom’s Hearty Beef Stroganoff
– 4 packets brown gravy mix
– 5 cups beef broth
– 2 ½ tbsp corn starch
– 1 ½ cups sour cream
– 1 top sirloin steak, about 1 ½ – 2 lbs, trimmed and cut into ½” chunks
– 2 small onions, diced
– 1 10 oz pkg mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
– 3 tbsp butter
– 1 tsp dried thyme
– I tsp garlic powder
– Salt and pepper to taste
– 1 pkg egg noodles, cooked according to package directions

1) Pour the gravy mix packets into a large saucepan. Add beef broth and stir to combine. Bring to a slow boil over medium-high heat, whisking until smooth. Add corn starch and whisk until incorporated. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the gravy to cool slightly. Once cooled, two spoonfuls at a time, whisk in the sour cream until smooth.

2) In a large nonstick skillet, melt 1 tbsp butter. Add the chunks of beef and season with salt and pepper. DO NOT over crowd the pan – this will cause the meat to boil instead of brown. If you need to brown the meat in a couple of batches, do that; just remember to season each batch with salt and pepper. When the meat is evenly browned on both sides, add it to the gravy.

3) Melt another tbsp butter in the same skillet. Add the onions and season with salt and pepper. Saute until light golden brown and add to the gravy with the meat. Repeat with the remaining tbsp. butter and the mushrooms. Stir in the garlic powder and the thyme.

4) Serve over cooked noodles. If you are not ready to serve immediately, refrigerate the gravy in the saucepan and heat it up slowly on the stove.

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