It’s been a year since I helped my daughter Faith with her confinement, a period of rest after having her baby. Back in Sydney to celebrate Felix’s first birthday, I cooked one of Faith’s favourite comfort foods, a recipe that she’s appropriated for herself and her little family. That’s a photo of my sous-chef who will soon be given a potato to peel :-). Now you may be thinking it is Hainanese chicken or some other chicken and ginger recipe, but wait … it’s Russian Beef Stroganoff, with a multicultural twist.
I was hoping that this would tempt Felix who’s turned out such a picky eater. Does he take after his father? Nope, his dad enjoys food and has an adventurous palate. Bring on haggis, snails and sashimi. And mum? Faith has a famously healthy appetite and has beaten hefty men in many eating competitions. She was like that as a little tot as well. We were all hoping that Felix would inherit these qualities from both parents and keep his fat rolls. So, would Felix be tempted by stroganoff ?
This recipe is simple, nutritious and can be made with less expensive cuts of meat.
“Russian” Beef Stroganoff
1 kg topside fillet (you can use cheaper cuts such as chuck steak or skirt steak and I actually prefer the latter)
2 oz butter (can substitute with other oils)
1 can tomatoes (diced); 2 tablespoons tomato puree
300 gms mushrooms
¼ pint light sour cream
½ onion roughly chopped (I’ve used up to 2 large onions for flavour)
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda, paprika(either mild or hot to taste)
Preparation time about 30 minutes, cooking time about 30 – 40 minutes
Serves 4 with a green salad, rice or brown bread.
- Slice beef into thin strips. Dissolve bicarbonate of soda in about 2 table spoons of soy sauce (or hot water), work it into the meat with a little salt + black pepper. Leave aside for at least 30 minutes while you cook rice and make the salad.
- Heat large frying pan, add butter, fry onions till it slightly browns, then add meat until it turns colour.
- Add 1 tsp paprika. Stir well.
- Stir tomato puree, can of tomatoes, let it cook gently for 20-30 minutes.
- Add sliced mushrooms. Cook for 5 minutes.
- Stir in sour cream, add salt and pepper.
Because I was hopeful that Felix would eat this, I held back on the paprika. As an additional step, I dished out some stroganoff into a separate saucepan, before adding the paprika and sliced mushrooms to the main pot. Then I cooked baby’s portion longer to soften the meat. And did it work? Pfft! Felix spat it right out.
Please share your comfort food recipes. If you have any ideas on how to manage a picky eater, Felix’s parents would love to hear them! Please post online in the comments section so that we can all benefit.