Monday, October 19, 2015

Rita's stroganoff to celebrate good things

Estrogonofe da Rita / Rita's stroganoff

I was thinking about 2015 these days and about everything that has happened so far, of how my feelings and emotions fluctuated from one side to another, back and forth all the time. I was sad in the beginning of the year because I’d lost a job I liked and could not find another – the whole country is going through a bad phase and many people are out of jobs.

Then my nephew was born and brought so much love and joy to my life, and exactly because I was unemployed I was able to be around him and help my sister in law look after him ever since his first days of life. We have such a strong bond that he smiles and throws himself at me every time he sees me.

I kept thinking that sometimes what at first might seem like a bad thing might actually turn into something good. And I think about my family, how great it is to have my brother, my sister in law and my nephew so close – it fills me with joy to look at table and see everyone together, sharing a meal, laughing, being a family. I made this stroganoff weeks ago for lunch on a Sunday and it was a hit – when I was cooking I saw this big pot of food on the top of the stove and even thought it was too much for 4 people and that there would be some left for a packed lunch on Monday, but everyone liked it so much it was all gone - we ate it all while talking, laughing and being a family. <3

Rita's stroganoff
from the lovely Rita Lobo

2-3 tablespoons olive oil
700g sirloin, cut into 5x2.5cm strips, room temperature
250g button mushrooms, cut into 3-4 slices each lengthwise
1 onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 ½ cups (360ml) heavy cream
1 ½ tablespoons tomato purée
1 ½ tablespoons ketchup
1 ½ tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 ½ tablespoons cognac – I used sherry
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and add half or 1/3 of the beef – do not fill the pan or the beef will cook in their own juices instead of brown. Brown all the beef in batches, adding more oil after each batch is browned. Set aside.

Add ½ tablespoon of the oil, then the onion and cook until translucent, stirring occasionally to avoid burning – scrape the bottom of the saucepan to remove all the browned bits. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the tomato purée and ketchup and stir to combine. Return the beef to the saucepan, add the Worcestershire sauce and the cognac and stir to combine. Gently stir in the mushrooms.

Drizzle with the heavy cream and season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat for 15-20 minutes or until sauce is slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Serve immediately with rice or pasta.

Serves 4

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