Nothing said comfort food to me like a steaming hot bowl of mom’s stroganoff growing up. I don’t know what she put in hers, but more than likely it was a couple cans of cream of mushroom soup and some beef chuck. It wasn’t something we’d have every week, but it was definitely in the line up here and there. What I really remember was that it was good stuff.
Now, in my kitchen, I typically save making heavy dishes for the deep fall or winter, when fresh mushrooms are unavailable. With all the hunting I do during the growing season, I’m probably not going to go out of my way to buy mushrooms in the off season when I already have a ton of them dried at home. With that in mind, I set out to build a dried wild mushroom strogranoff designed by the mushroom hunter, for the mushroom hunter that I could refer back to here and there to riff on.
Each blend will give you a different flavor. I used a mix of dried black trumpets and porcini mushrooms.Most recipes will focus on the meat here. I used venison, and it’s great, but any red meat will be fine. Our strogi here is all about the shrooms. The only problem, is that unlike cream of mushroom soup, different species of dried mushrooms will give you completely different results here, so it’s important to take that into account. For example, if you go to the store and buy dried porcini that were picked in Europe, the proportions below will make a stroganoff that tastes very strong, even for mycophagists like me.
The same could be said for using dried black trumpets, since large amounts of them can give food a bitter taste. If you want to use black trumpets, I would start on the small side, using about 10 grams (roughly a cup of small dried trumpets) and go from there, until you’re pleased with the taste. Using dried chanterelles or hedgehog mushrooms will give you chewy pieces of leather unless you cook them for a few hours beforehand. Some mushroom species are nearly interchangeable in their deliciousness though: morels, boletes and good tasting porcini-oid mushrooms, as well as black trumpets will all make excellent stroganoff.
Other than that, this is pretty self-explanitory, but, for posterity, I’ll highlight a few ingredients I think are important:
- Booze. Sherry, or if you’re in a pinch, brandy. Sure, it’s hard to make cream and mushrooms taste bad, but going the extra mile will give you the plate-licking status you want here.
- Shallots vs onions. Most recipes call for onions, I reach for the shallots, since they just make a richer, deeper end product, and the cost is negligible.
- Herbs to finish. Dill, cilantro or chives–take your pick. There’s really nothing like something fresh to lighten it up at the end. I used cilantro since it was what I had on hand.
Dried Wild Mushroom Stroganoff
- 1 ½ lbs venison or beef shoulder chuck or leg roast, cubed for stew
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt plus more to taste
- ½ cup dry sherry or brandy
- 3 cups meat stock water is ok in a pinch, but not as good
- ½ cup sour cream
- 10-20 grams dried wild mushrooms depending on species and how many mushrooms you’re trying to get rid of this is about 1-2 cups of sliced dried mushrooms
- 1 Tablespoon minced or pressed garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground caraway (optional)
- 4 large shallots diced ½ inch, about 2 cups (yellow sweet onions can be substituted)
- ¼ cup lard preferably from the meat you’re cooking, or use unsalted butter
- 1 cup sour cream at room temperature
- 2 Tablespoons all purpose flour or equivalent plus more for dredging
- Cooked egg noodles or mashed potatoes for serving
- Chopped fresh dill or cilantro
- Chives or sliced green onion
- Finely diced gherkins or tart pickles
- Fresh cracked black pepper
- Soak the mushrooms in the stock to cover for 15 minutes, then swish them around to remove grit. Remove the mushrooms, squeeze dry, chop very coarse (you want to bite into pieces here) and reserve. Strain the liquid to remove any sediment.
Meat and building the stew
- Season the venison or other meat with the caraway and 2 teaspoons of salt and pepper, then allow to marinated overnight, or at least a few hours. Heat a 1 gallon or similar capacity soup pot with the lard, toss the meat in flour and brown deeply, working in batches. Be patient, and do not allow the bottom of the pan to burn.
- When the meat is browned, add the garlic, onion, and dried mushrooms add a little extra fat if needed and sweat for a few minutes to cook off moisture, then add the extra two tablespoons of flour and stir, cook for 2 minutes more. De-glaze with the sherry, stock and reconstituting liquid, and bring the mixture to a simmer, turn the heat down to as low as possible, and simmer very gently for 1 hour, covered. Add a few tablespoons of cooking liquid to the sour cream and stir well to loosen it.
- When the meat is tender and tastes good to you, turn the heat down to low, stir in the sour cream, making sure it dissolves nicely, then warm the sauce back up, but don't boil. Taste the sauce, adjust the seasoning as needed, and serve over egg noodles or mashed potatoes. Garnish with fresh chopped dill, cilantro, generous amounts of fresh cracked pepper and diced gherkins if using.