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How to Spice Up Beef Stroganoff

Updated April 28, 2020
Simple substitutions will make any traditional beef stroganoff recipe explode with flavor.

Let’s face it. Beef stroganoff is really just a bunch of noodles or rice, some ground beef, maybe some mushrooms, condensed soup and a little sour cream. So any ideas for spicing up beef stroganoff are a welcome relief to this bland dish. But, it can still be a family favorite if prepared with imagination.

Beef + Noodles = Stroganoff?

A little research into this dish and you’ll find it was originally made for a Russian count by his personal chefs. A little more research and you’ll find stories that say this rich nobleman had no teeth and bad gums so stroganoff became one of his all-time favorite food choices.

To tempt your taste buds, try one or more of these ideas for spicing up this dish. Forget the bland and move into the 21 century!

Spicing Up Stroganoff

To add spicy flavors that explode in your stroganoff and in your mouth, you can still use the basic recipe, but instead, switch up the ingredients a little. If we take a look at the familiar, let’s see how to change it.

  • 1 Pound of Ground Beef – Instead of the ground beef, try a beef sirloin roast cut into small strips. You can save any extra for sizzling beef fajitas. Coat the beef with flour and fry in sunflower or vegetable oil.
  • Salt, Pepper & Onion Powder – Most recipes call for these not-so-spicy ingredients. While browning your coated beef, throw in some real chopped onions (1/4 cup), a couple sliced cloves of garlic, a little tarragon, sea salt, fresh mushrooms and yes, some hot mustard.
  • Sour Cream and Condensed Mushroom Soup – Skip the sour cream and go for the healthy. Choose plain yogurt instead (1/2 cup) and use some fat-free beef stock or broth (2 cups) in place of the condensed soup. Most traditional recipes for beef stroganoff call for simmering the sauce and adding a ton of butter and flour to thicken—use some cornstarch instead and a tablespoon or so of sunflower oil.
  • Tomato Paste – Skip this and use a cup of canned or freshly chopped tomatoes. Add to your sauce.
  • Egg Noodles – These are downright boring, so instead use Chinese egg noodles steamed in some hot chili oil (found in the Asian aisle). Not only will they offer a little variation, they’re a crowd pleaser and refrigerate nicely.

Cook, Serve & Enjoy

You really only need two skillets and a sauce pot, so forget about turning on the oven. Your sirloin should be cooked through along with your spices. Next prepare your yogurt sauce and beef stock in a sauce pan to desired thickness. Throw those tomatoes in with the meat mixture and let simmer until the sirloin is cooked and the spices have had a chance to wake up that meat.

In your second skillet, prepare the Chinese egg noodles as directed on the package (don’t forget the chili oil)—even a wok works nicely for this. Once the noodles are done, pour your meat mixture and sauce on top of the noodles. Instead of boring parsley, why not use what the Russians use? Try some chervil—it’s a sort of spicy gourmet parsley that tastes much better.

You’ll find many chefs who love serving fried potatoes with this dish, but we think there’s enough starch already in this Russian fave. Instead, try freshly cooked steamed asparagus with a touch of hot mustard or grilled tomatoes with a little Parmesan cheese.