One snowstorm, three days, four recipes (six, in reality).
I bought Ad Hoc towards the end of December. With some time off from work beginning and a snow storm on the way, I chose the beef stroganoff as my hibernation project. Keller bases his recipe on his nostalgic memories of his mom’s stroganoff made with Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup. But honey, this ain’t your mama’s Campbell’s stroganoff!
Day 1: I braved the ranks of snowsterical shoppers to buy the ingredients. Don’t these people know I was on a mission? One neat thing about this recipe is that it calls for a boneless chuck short rib roast which is cooked whole. This was much more economical than buying individual short ribs. You can be flexible with the size of the roast. The recipe calls for a 2 1/2 lb. roast but I wanted leftovers, so I chose about a 5 lb. roast.
Once home, I started with the easy part. I made some crème fraiche. For something that’s pretty pricey at my local grocery store, this is ridiculously easy and inexpensive to make. You’ll need a clean jar with a lid, some buttermilk, a small amount of heavy cream, and time. That’s it. See for yourself.
Then I was off to make some cookies with my little nephew, work on a jigsaw puzzle, and rest up for day two.
Day 2: I made the Braised Beef Short Ribs recipe, which is actually two recipes in one: A red wine and vegetable reduction and the braise itself.
The red wine reduction took about 1 1/2 hours, including prep and reduction. This gave me time to work on the braise, which meant dicing and slicing more vegetables and browning the meat.
Once the wine reduction was done it was really a straightforward pot roast recipe. Except that Keller wraps his roast in cheesecloth to keep bits of vegetable from sticking to it. I’ll skip this step next time. Sometimes his fussiness is a little over the top for me.
This was the point where I discovered an error in the book. The instructions to make a parchment lid to cover the braise were missing a step. What’s really amazing is that this technique is used in multiple recipes and that the full page of step-by-step photos accompanying the instructions were also missing the step. You can read more about it here.
I fell back to Alton Brown’s instructions, made my parchment lid, braised, and refrigerated for day three.
Day 3: Home stretch, right? It slipped my mind that I was going to make the pappardelle, so I got a late start on that. So I’m cranking and cranking and cranking out pasta. I always wonder why I ever think it’s a good idea to make homemade pasta. But when I taste it, I realize it IS worth it . . . when I have the time.
The mushroom cream sauce has the most concentrated mushroom flavor I’ve ever tasted. It is so wonderful. The base of the sauce is 1 lb. of mushrooms simmered with cream and aromatics for about 35 minutes. Another pound of sliced mushrooms is sauteed separately and added at the end.
It’s also a very versatile sauce. I would make the sauce, without the beef, to serve over pasta. It would also pair with chicken and pork; how about Eggs Keller, with poached eggs and sausage on an English muffin, topped with this cream sauce?
Anyway, enough daydreaming. To complete the stroganoff, the chilled beef is cubed and pan-fried to caramelize one side, turned, and then finished in the oven. Spoon sauce onto the pasta, top with beef cubes, and sprinkle with some gray salt and parsley.
My son is already asking me to make it again.