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Boeuf Stroganoff

Boeuf Stroganoff is one of the more famous dishes of international cuisine. The dish goes back to 19th century Russia, and both the recipe and the name come up in a lot of variants. The French boeuf turns up as beef, or more specifically beef ragout, beef filet or just filet. Count Stroganoff is also spelled with a "v" (Stroganov), or sometimes a single "f".

The core of the recipe is the combination of bite-sized pan-fried pieces of high-quality beef with sour creme and pickled cucumber. This may sound weird, but is actually a very satisfying combination.

My inspiration for this particular version comes from the (German language) cooking book Die russisch-baltische Küche, which lists a number of different variants. However, I mostly developed this following my own feeling and reverse-engineering a number of good Boeuf Stroganoff's I have eaten over time.

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 500-750g (around one and one half pound) filet of beef (in a pinch, use good, lean steak)
  • 300g (2/3 of a pound) mushrooms (Champignons)
  • 100g (no ounces in my life ;-) pickled cucumber (cornichons)
  • 2-3 medium-sized onions (reds look nicer)
  • 75ml (about 1/4 cup) sour creme (try to get real sour cream, without gelantine)
  • 100ml (about 1/3 cup) plain cream
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • About 50g (2 table spoons) butter
  • Concentrated tomato puree (1 table spoon)
  • Dijon mustard (1 table spoon, any medium hot variety will do if Dijon is not available)
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Some neutral vegetable oil (peanut or sunflower seed is fine)
Ingredients for Boeuf Stroganoff


Finely dice the onions. Cut the pickled cucumber into approximately 5mm (0.2 in) approximate cubes. Chop the garlic as finely as possible. Clean the mushrooms and cut them into 5mm (0.2 in) slices. Cut the meat into bite-sized pieces (about the size of an average thumb).

After these preparations, cooking will take about 15 minutes. Keeping the finished Boeuf hot is a bad idea - the meat is bound to overcook and get tough. Hence now is the time to start the side dishes. Suitable are pasta (very good for a first try - it allows you to concentrate on the main dish), boiled potatos, or, most classical, fried potatoes. I like my own rosemary fried potatoes (German link).

To continue the boeuf: Fry half the diced onions on medium high in butter until they are lighly browned. Add the garlic and keep striring for 20 seconds. Then add the mushrooms and 1/2 cup of water. Reduce heat to low medium and cook, covered, for 3 minutes. Then reduce heat to low. Blend the sweet and the sour cream with a table spoon each of mustard and tomato puree, and add it to the mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper, then let it simmer on the lowest heat setting.

In a second frying pan, heat up a few table spoons of oil and quickly sear the beef on high heat. After about one minute, add the remaining onions, and season with salt and pepper. Keep stiring for another minute or so. The beef should be browned on the outside, but still slightly bloody on the inside (if you want it well done, go to for instructions). Deglace the pan with a very small amount of water (i.e. add a few table spoons of water and keep stiring to free the tasty bits of caramelized meet and onions that stick to the pan - they give taste to the sauce).

Now add together diced cucumber, meat, and mushroom sauce. Add the lemon juice, mix, and season to taste. Let the ragout simmer for two minutes, then serve soon.

Boeuf Stroganoff Boeuf Stroganoff over pasta