We are sharing our recipe for a Traditional Beef Stroganoff with Brandy. Tender flash-fried sirloin in a silky smooth, creamy and rich sauce flavoured with brandy, paprika and a hint of cinnamon is just perfect! The traditional Russian beef dish tastes luxurious but isn’t difficult to make. Believe it or not, you can make it in just 20 minutes!
Seb has been nagging me for a couple of months now to make my Beef Stroganoff with Brandy. For some reason, we haven’t made it for a couple of years now, although it used to be one of our favourites. It was actually the very first meal I’d ever cooked for Seb. Now that I’ve tasted it again, I won’t let it be that long again. It is simply delicious!
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For me, the very first memory of this Russian classic was going to a fancy restaurant in the old town of Vilnius with my Grandmother when I was about 10 years old. It was always such a special treat. She would take me there twice a year for special occasions. The restaurant was extremely old fashioned, with decor similar to the famous Russian Tea Room, but with a fountain in the corner of the room as well. I would always order a Traditional Beef Stroganoff and my grandmother would have a Chicken Kyiv.
If you are interested in Russian Cuisine, I believe one of the best cookbooks is written by Lynn Visson. You can get it here: The Russian Heritage Cookbook.
When I grew up and moved far away from that restaurant, I still thought about how I could recreate the experience. I made beef stroganoff every time I was homesick, but it was only when I made it for Seb, that this dish was named one of the best things he’s ever eaten.
So here it goes, the best thing Seb’s ever eaten (that may be the reason Seb could never be a full-time vegetarian…).
Ingredients and Substitutes
- sirloin steak: we think sirloin beef stroganoff is the best! The meat is tender and cooks quickly. Make sure to remove any fat or sinew from the edges and then cut the meat into thin strips against the natural grains of the muscle fibres.
- plain flour: helps the meat brown better, stay succulent and thickens the sauce at the same time.
- butter: salted or unsalted – you choose!
- button mushrooms: cut in half, or chestnut mushrooms cut into quarters.
- brown onion: can be replaced with shallots or white onion.
- brandy: or cognac (we love Courvoisier). You don’t need much, but it adds heaps of flavour.
- spices: paprika and ground cinnamon.
- stock cube: stock seasons the sauce in this recipe. Choose good-quality vegetable or beef stock.
- creme fraiche: can be substituted with sour cream.
- lemon juice: ideally freshly squeezed.
- fries, mashed potato, rice or vegetables, to serve.
First, prepare all of the ingredients ready to go. Thinly slice the onions. Wash and dry your button mushrooms. Then halve them. And start cooking whatever you’re going to serve your beef stroganoff with. I love it with french fries, mashed potato or white rice, but I have seen people eating it with pasta too.
The preparation of the beef is of ultimate importance here. Cut the beef into thin strips in the opposite direction to the natural muscle fibres. This way it cooks quickly without being chewy or stringy. Season and sprinkle a tbsp of flour all over. Set aside.
Melt the butter in a large frying pan. Add the onion and saute for 2 minutes. Then add button mushrooms and carry on cooking for another 3 minutes until both onions and mushrooms are starting to soften. Gather onions and mushrooms to one side of the pan.
Increase the heat to high and tip in the beef strips. Stirring, flash fry them for 1-2 minutes until just browned all over. Then add 2 tbsps of brandy and boil vigorously for 10 seconds. Crumble in half a stock cube, add 1/2 tsp of paprika and 1/2 tsp of cinnamon. Then pour in 4 tbsp of water and stir swiftly. Add 70g of creme fraiche and cook stirring until just warmed through.
It is important to add ingredients quickly and stir promptly. You don’t want the beef to overcook, so it should take no more than 4 minutes from the minute the beef hits the pan to serving. Just before plating, add a squeeze of lemon to the creamy beef and stir it in.
We served our Traditional Beef Stroganoff with some french fries (yes, they came from our freezer…) and some simply boiled broccoli. In the words of Seb: “Yes! Epic! Love this meal. Great. Meat! Yes! Legendary!” He said it, not me!
Yes, beef stroganoff with brandy freezes beautifully. Let the dish cool down to room temperature. Then spoon it in an airtight container or a ziplock bag and freeze for up to 3 months. It may form a layer of fat on top when frozen, but it will disappear in the sauce again when you reheat it. Defrost beef stroganoff before reheating in a frying pan.
We love making beef stroganoff with sirloin steak. The reason for that is the speed this beef cut cooks and how tender the meat is after flash-frying. Alternatively, you may use ribeye or even beef fillet. We don’t recommend rump steak in this recipe, as it tends to be chewier.
Side Dishes For Beef Stroganoff
If you are wondering what to serve with Traditional Beef Stroganoff, we have a bunch of ideas for you. We love beef stroganoff with mashed potatoes or french fries. Alternatively, serve it with fluffy white rice. And if you want to add some healthy veggies on the side, try this recipe with:
- Lemon and Garlic Tenderstem Broccoli (Broccolini)
- Spring Greens with Lemon & Thyme
- Perfectly Steamed Green Beans (recipe coming soon)
Other Beef Dinner Recipes
For other meaty dinner ideas, have a look at our other recipes:
- Crispy Chilli Beef | Chinese Take-Away Favourite
- Ropa Vieja | Cuban Beef Stew
- Korean-style Beef Short Ribs in a Slow Cooker (Recipe Coming Soon)
Traditional Beef Stroganoff with Brandy
- 200 g sirloin steak cut against the grain into thin strips
- 1 tbsp plain flour
- 20 g butter
- 100 g button mushrooms halved
- 1 small brown onion thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp brandy
- ½ tsp paprika
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ stock cube + 4 tbsp of water
- 70 g creme fraiche
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- fries, mashed potato, rice or vegetables to serve
- Place your beef strips in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add 1 tbsp of plain flour and mix to coat.
- In a large frying pan, melt the butter. Add onions and fry for 2 minutes on medium heat. Then add mushrooms and carry on cooking for another 3 minutes, until both the onions and mushrooms have softened.
- Gather the mushrooms and onions to one side of the pan. Increase the heat to high and tip in the beef to the other side of the frying pan. Stirring, flash-fry the beef for 1-2 minutes until just browned all over.
- Add the brandy and let most of it evaporate, stirring the beef, mushrooms and onions together (this shouldn't take longer than 20 seconds). Crumble in half a stock cube. Add paprika and cinnamon. Then pour 4 tbsp of water in. Add creme fraiche and mix together. Only cook until it's warmed through, then take off the heat before the beef has time to overcook.
- Just before serving, stir in a tbsp of lemon juice.