Beef stroganoff is a staple in our household. Everyone in the family from my kids to my husband devours this dish and asks for seconds–and sometimes thirds and fourths! We had to avoid it for a few months when the mangy munchkin was healing her leaky gut (she had a sensitivity to dairy and gluten that has now cleared up) but it’s finally back in the rotation and making everyone smile–especially me because it’s so easy to make!
My basic recipe incorporates the following ingredients:
- 1 pound ground beef (preferably grass fed)
- 10-15 crimini mushrooms, chopped (any small mushroom is suitable)
- 8 tablespoons butter (also grass fed)
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (use a full teaspoon if using unsalted butter)
If you prefer a thicker sauce, you can also add 1/4 cup of flour to the list, stirring it into the butter/cream mixture at the end. I leave the flour out because we try to minimize sources of starchy carbohydrates in our diet. In fact, we often eat this dish without the bed of pasta underneath, supplementing the meal instead with sides of squash and veggies, which are healthier sources of carbohydrates that contain other important nutrients as well.
To make the stroganoff, begin by melting the butter over low heat in a saucepan. While the butter is melting, begin browning the ground beef along with the mushrooms in another pot or pan (I use my cast-iron frying pan). Once the butter is melted, add the chopped onion and turn the heat up to medium-low, allowing the onion to turn translucent before adding the garlic. In the meantime, continue browning the beef until it is thoroughly cooked, stirring occasionally. Once the onions are translucent and the garlic has been added, stir in the heavy cream, pepper, and salt, continuing to stir until all is well blended with the butter. Combine the sauce with the ground beef and mushrooms and serve.
If you’re worried about the calories in this dish … don’t be! Butter is actually an extremely healthy source of essential fatty acids as well as vitamins A and K. Ground beef, when sourced from grass-fed steers, is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids as well as important minerals such as iron.
Every cell in our body requires fat in order to carry out its functions, and our brains are actually 50% fat. Young children, whose brains are developing rapidly, especially require healthy portions of fat in their diets, including saturated fat. More and more evidence is coming to the fore that the low-fat fad of the 1980s and 90s was in fact terrible for our health and has only contributed to the rise in diet-related diseases rather than ameliorated them (carbohydrates, especially refined ones, are turning out to be the real villains). Furthermore, fat is necessary for the absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, K, and E. According to Dr. Mercola,
In order to absorb fat-soluble vitamins from our food, we need to eat fat. Human studies show that both the amount and type of fat are important. For example, one study showed that absorption of beta-carotene from a salad with no added fat was close to zero. The addition of a lowfat dressing made from canola oil increased absorption, but a high-fat dressing was much more effective.
So smother your salad with dressing, butter up your bread, and enjoy a handsome helping of rich, creamy stroganoff every so often. Every cell in your body will rejoice!