Saturday, 1 March 2014

Mushroom stroganoff

It's finally March, I can't express how much I have been waiting for February to be over, done and dusted. It feels like spring is coming, and also a change I have been awaiting for the last three months is finally here. One more week of wonderful, relaxing holiday and then a new job. Whether it's a good one or not remains to be seen... But at least I feel like it can't be worse than my previous one. I am so relieved that is all over. Sad to leave my wonderful colleagues behind though. I can't believe such a wonderful bunch of people can all work in the same place, it has been such a pleasure to work with them. But onwards and upwards, and hopefully our paths will cross in the future. 

For now, I have been enjoying the most beautiful sunny Saturday. We spent a good few hours in the garden with the Culinary Consultant enjoying the wonderful sunshine. I'm hoping the weather will turn a bit drier soon, as everything was so muddy. I cleaned up some flower beds, it looks so much nicer now with last year's dead and dry bits cleared away and so much more light and space for the new buds to grow. I cleared out the strawberry patch as well, the strawberries are getting a bit old, so I will grow some new plants from seed as well. And we cleared out the bits that will make my herb garden. There already is a great selection of herbs growing, but I removed a big patch of celeriac (I'm sorry, I just can't stand that stuff...) as well as a huge patch of parsley. I use very little parsley, so I wanted to only keep a tiny little bit of it, making much more space for the other herbs. I am planning to shoot off to the garden centre to buy a few plants and then grow the rest from scratch. So tomorrow I will try to get the seeds going, they should be all right in the greenhouse and I will hope for an early spring and no cold or frost anymore. I just can't wait to get all of those herbs growing, although I have to say, this has been such a mild winter that my parsley and chives have been growing all through the winter. Who would have thought, fresh herbs all year round from my own garden!

Finally on to the main subject... today's recipe. I have tried to cook one vegetarian dish every week lately. I seem to be able to get away with cooking non-meat for our weekend lunches as there will be a meaty dinner later. I try to make big servings so that there is enough for both the Saturday and Sunday lunch and some leftovers either for me to take to work for lunch or for us to have as sides with our weeknight dinners. I was thinking about what I wanted to cook this week and for some reason thought of an old friend who I used to discuss plenty of cooking with and he said he makes a mean mushroom stroganoff. I can't for my life remember his recipe, but I did some research on the Interwebs and after combining from different recipes came up with the following which I think turned out rather nice.

Mushroom stroganoff (serves 4-5):
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
3 onions
4 cloves of garlic 
2 tbsp paprika (I used 1 tbsp sweet and 1 tbsp hot)
1kg mushrooms (I used half button and half chestnut)
1 green pepper
2 tbsp tomato puree 
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 beef stock cube
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
15 g flatleaf parsley
pepper and salt for seasoning
300 ml sour cream (I used half fat)
My lovely jars of sweet and hot paprika from our
trip to Hungary last summer.
The howto:
Slice the mushrooms. Chop the onions, garlic and green pepper. In a large saucepan, melt the butter and add the oil. Cook the onions until they start to soften. Add the garlic and paprika and cook for another minute or two. Add the mushrooms and cook on medium to high heat for about 5 minutes. Add the pepper, the tomato puree, mustard stock cube and Worcestershire sauce. My stroganoff had enough liquid from the mushrooms so I didn't need to add any water, but if yours is dry, add some water. It should not be a soup, but there should be a little bit of sauce. Let cook for 20-30 minutes. Season and add the parsley. Take off the head, and add the sour cream. Serve with your carb of choice, or just with a side salad for a low carb option.

The verdict:
I wasn't quite sure whether this would work or not, but it turned out to be a really tasty meal. My meat eater ate it without complaints. I think the mushrooms makes this dish filling enough to work well as a main course. I served it with rice, but for me no extra carbs would have been required, it would also work great with a side salad. The dish was warm with just a little bit of kick from the hot paprika, but also creamy from the sour cream. There are plenty of flavours from the different sauces and spices but they go well together. Definitely worth a try, and I will be making this again because I really liked it.

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