Tuesday, September 03, 2019

Rainy Labor Day Cooking Post - Venison Stroganoff!

This was a really interesting experiment. I think that for a lot of us middle-class suburban Generation X kids, stroganoff was a dish made with an inexpensive cut of beef and a can of Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup.

 My mom is an excellent cook in the hearty Pennsylvania Dutch tradition - she learned at her mom's elbow and then passed it on to me. Outside of baking, where there's some precision required, recipes are more suggestions than rules, and with the exception of foods I just plain didn't like (like succotash, lima beans kinda just suck) I don't remember her ever serving us something that wasn't basically yummy.

The Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup was definitely part of her repertoire. She made stroganoff and also a chicken dish, both of which I loved as a kid, both of which I cooked for myself for quite some time when I was starting out on my own, and both of which I would enjoy if my mom made them sometime when I was visiting them in NC.

But as cooking got to be more and more something I would do for fun (my mom enjoys cooking but she was feeding the family every day, so shortcuts made life easier), and as I started to get better about reading nutrition labels and realized that there was a lot of sodium in the canned soups, I got away from having them as a cabinet staple.

 I haven't made stroganoff since then, but recently, when I was thinking of something other than chili (good, but I'd done that a couple of times and was ready for something different) to do with some of my prized Jonesville venison (hunted by my own cousin Sharon's husband Scott on the farm that's now been in the family for two generations), stroganoff just sprang to mind. So that's what I did with my lovely free and unplanned day today!

 Not the Campbell's Soup version though. Not for the venison. This was entirely from scratch. Instead of the canned soup, there was heavy cream, homemade stock, a bit of brandy, and 2 kinds of mushrooms (the fresh oyster mushrooms I'd gotten yesterday and then some very expensive dried morels that jumped into my bag while I was waiting out a rainstorm at the Flatbush Food Co-op, a dangerous place to wait out a storm, especially if your last meal was a few hours ago). Which I think is basically your cream of mushroom soup right there. Only with way better mushrooms and a lot less salt. And then of course some spices, and thickened up with sour cream and yogurt at the end (that stayed the same). 

Ingredients on hand in the morning - just needed to get sour cream and yogurt

Perfect rainy day cooking project and came out absolutely delicious. TQ loved it too. Neither of us are sure that we've ever had a stroganoff that didn't involve Campbell's but I will definitely do this again!

BTW, like my mom taught me, I didn't really follow a recipe, but I did look at the one in my Grandma J's Fanny Farmer cookbook and then also a few on line just to plan out what I was going to do with the ingredients I had to create something stroganoffish. This one had a lot of the elements I was looking for. 

Early in the cooking
Dinner is served!

 ps the asparagus jumped into the bag at the co-op too. It was flavorsome but disappointingly stringy. Must be past asparagus season.

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