Beef stroganoff

Biff stroganoff

This is a famous Russian dish, but given the proximity of Sweden and Russia, it is no wonder that it is also very popular in Sweden. Young Swedes probably prefer sausage stroganoff (korvstroganoff), but beef is also widely used.

It isn’t really clear who invented this dish. Some people attribute it to Alexander Stroganoff and others to Count Pavel Stroganoff. All agree that it was originally based on sauté beef and onions with soured cream. Most recipes also include mushrooms and paprika or nutmeg, but there are many variations.

My version uses a generous portion of wild mushrooms, but you can easily substitute cultivated mushrooms and reduce the quantity of mushrooms. Stroganoff is usually based on 125 g (4½ oz) of beef and 50 g (2 oz) of mushrooms per person. John



  • Although traditionally made with fillet steak, I prefer other cuts which, although not as tender, have more flavour. If using a cheaper cut be sure to cut the meat across the grain when slicing it up.
  • Look out for Galloway beef. The cattle are able to withstand cold climates so are common in Sweden, Scotland, Canada and New Zealand. The meat has been rated by the US Government’s National Livestock and Meat Board as first for flavour and first for juiciness.
  • If you are cooking a larger quantity, fry the beef in batches.
  • Serve with rice or pasta and a salad with a walnut oil dressing.


250 g (9 oz) beef (fillet, sirloin or rump are good choices)
3 tbsp   butter
1   small onion, peeled and thinly sliced
¼ tsp   freshly ground nutmeg, or less
    salt and freshly ground black pepper
200 g (7 oz) mixed wild mushrooms (or 100 g (4 oz) cultivated), sliced
120 ml (½ cup) soured cream
1 tbsp   brandy or sherry (optional)


1. Cut the beef into thin strips about the width and length of a finger.

2. Melt a tablespoon of butter in a large pan on a medium heat. Increase the heat to high/med-high and add half of the strips of beef. You need to cook the beef quickly, browning on each side, so the temp needs to be high enough to brown the beef, but not so high as to burn the butter. While cooking the beef, season it with some salt and pepper. When both sides are browned, remove the beef to a dish and keep warm. Repeat with the remaining beef.

3. Reduce the heat to medium, add another tablespoon of butter and the onions to the pan. Cook until transparent and softened, ensuring that the meat juices are soaked up. Remove the onion to the same dish as the meat and keep warm.

4. In the same pan, melt another tablespoon of butter. Increase heat to medium high and add the mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 4 minutes. While cooking, sprinkle on nutmeg, salt and pepper.

5. Reduce the heat to low; add the soured cream to the mushrooms and stir thoroughly. Do not let it boil or the soured cream will curdle. Stir in the beef and onions. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the brandy if desired.


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