Where’s the (local) beef?
Local fillet steak is very good, but you seldom see it in restaurants. Reasons given to me usually run like this: “Local is OK, but the sizes of the pieces are often different. You can’t rely on it”. The restaurateur doesn’t add that it’s easier to keep frozen imported steaks of uniform size in his freezer. When I have suggested that dishes like Boeuf Stroganoff (below) use little slices and not big pieces, a shrug of the shoulders is a frequent response. I would much prefer “odd” slices of fresh local fillet to great chunks of de-frosted New Zealand, Australian or Argentinean, which are short on flavour.
So, save money this week. Eat your “Bon Filet” at home and support the local meat industry. Of all beef steak recipes, in my view, Boeuf Stroganoff is one of the best. It isn’t difficult either. It is said to have been invented in the mid-1800s by one Count Paul Stroganoff, a Russian diplomat. It is also recorded that an 1861 Russian cook book called “A Gift to Young Housewives” was published, including the recipe called “Beef à la Stroganov, with mustard”. This called for lightly floured beef cubes (not strips) sautéed, sauced with prepared mustard and bouillon, and finished with a small amount of sour cream. Note there were no onions, or mushrooms.
After the fall of Tsarist Russia, the dish seems to have migrated eastwards, to be found in the hotels and restaurants of China before the start of World War II, presumably for the foreign community. A further migration in the 1940s and 1950s took it to the United States, where it evolved into the “classic” international favourite, consisting strips of beef filet with a mushroom, onion, and sour cream sauce, and is served with rice or pasta. Anyway, “Boeuf Stroganoff” has a lovely
to it and if in fact it was invented by a genuine Russian Count, then all praise to him. Whoever he was, his name lives on. thinly sliced sweet pickled cucumbers (German are recommended) at stage (9). Either way, this is delicious! Now, for a simple steak dish which brings out the full flavour of the meat. You’ll need a bunch or two of the large spring onions (scallions).