Thursday, April 30, 2015

Beef & Tomato Stroganoff Casserole

I'm allergic to mushrooms, however Beef Stroganoff without them is one of my favorite foods. I tend to make my Beef Stroganoff with ground beef because I think the texture of it is better with a rich sour cream sauce is better than that of traditional sirloin cuts. Now, you may think this all sounds crazy - eliminating one of the main ingredients and using ground beef, but I promise you that there's nothing lacking when you combine the flavors of beef and sour cream on their own. The combination is heavenly, flavorful and comforting to say the least.

This recipe is a bit different… There's a hint of tomato thrown in and the dill gives it a hint of sweet & sour flavor, taking it one step further. This pasta casserole boasts a warm orange color and is warm, flavorful and comforting. It's a nice way of enjoying pasta that doesn't have even the slightest Italian food flavoring. If you bake this in a cast iron casserole with a lid, you can keep it warm for hours, making it perfect for pot luck dinners or drop-in diners that come and go at different times. 

500g dried fusilli pasta
450g ground beef
1 banana shallot, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
50g butter
3 tablespoons plain flour (all-purpose flour)
2 tablespoons tomato puree (tomato paste)
500ml beef stock (made with a stock cube)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
300ml sour cream
1 tablespoon horseradish (from a jar)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
Fresh dill, snipped for sprinkling

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and cook the pasta according to package directions, checking it about 2 minutes before it's supposed to be done. You want the pasta to be a little al dente for this dish. When straining, reserve 1 cup of the starchy cooking water.

2. In a large non-stick frying pan, brown the ground beef, using a wooden spoon to break up the meat. When the meat is fully cooked, strain it over a bowl and reserve the juices, then put in a covered bowl or dish to keep warm.

3. Using the same large frying pan, melt the butter over medium heat and cook the shallots, stirring occasionally. After about 5 minutes, add the garlic and cook for another minute or two, or until tender.

4. Using a wire whisk, stir in the flour first, followed by the tomato puree, trying to keep it from being lumpy. Continue stirring while adding the beef stock and reserved beef juices. Stir until completely combined.

5. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce, smoked paprika, salt and a few grinds of fresh black pepper. Continue to cook and stir until the mixture bubbles and thickens a bit.

6. Reduce the heat to medium-low and stir in the horseradish and sour cream. Continue to cook and let it bubble away for about 2 more minutes and then add the pasta and ground beef to the mixture and toss to coat. If the mixture is a bit dry, add some of the pasta cooking water 1 tablespoon at a time, so that you can coat all of the pasta and meat in the thick sauce.

7. Spray a casserole dish that has a lid with a bit of non-stick cooking spray and transfer the mixture to the dish. Cover and bake for 30 minutes.

8. To serve, remove the lid and sprinkle with a few grinds of fresh black pepper and a sprinkling of snipped, fresh dill. 

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