Pork and mushroom stroganoff is more than just another pork casserole: made with pork fillet strips cooked lightly in cream and porcini sauce is a feast fit for a Tsar. With pork tenderloin costing a fraction of beef prices, you don’t need to BE a Tsar to enjoy it.
I am staunchly opposed to substitutes unless for economic reasons, when you simply can’t afford a product. Stevia doesn’t do anything to me: don’t want to eat sugar – go without cake.
Gluten free pasta is not pasta, and tofu is fine as it is rather than made into ‘sausages’, ‘burgers’ and ‘tofurky’.
So why swap beef for pork in a stroganoff recipe? Let me explain.
Is stroganoff always beef?
Beef stroganoff is a wonderful dish originated in mid-19th century Russia, when (and where) they knew how to eat well; at least the 0.1% of the population. It features choice cut of beef, fillet or tenderloin, sliced into strips and cooked quickly so it retained the pink hue inside, with lots of rich cream and flavoursome wild mushrooms.
Now the Tsar is long gone, we fear death by cream and ‘try to’ eat less meat. (That by the by is an expression that fills me with mirth: is the meat attacking us, fighting to jump into our mouths and dance down our throats? No, so why ‘TRY’? Just eat less meat if you choose to.)
So when we decide to have an animal protein-based dish, it should be special. Am I shooting myself in the foot here? How much more special than a beef fillet does it get?
It doesn’t, judging by its price. Beef fillet costs between forty and FIFTY pounds in England and we are talking about ordinary, albeit free range Aberdeen Angus rather than wagyu (ten times as much).
It is eye-wateringly expensive, so no surprise that once you decide to treat yourself and/or others, you tend to cook it as a classic steak with no waste and the cookedness exactly as you like it.
Stroganoff with pork
All of the above is the reason why I’m proposing pork stroganoff.
Pork fillet, or tenderloin, costs about £11-15 even when free range, so however you look at it, and wherever you are (hmm, not so sure about Argentina and of course not addressing those who don’t eat pork for religious reasons), a plate of stroganoff will cost you a quarter of the price with pork instead of beef.
It tastes NOT the same, let’s be clear, but it’s a very good dish. Cream and mushrooms are a treat in itself and the advantage of using pork over, say, chicken is that it can be cooked ever so slightly less (yes it can).
Thus it makes a proper stroganoff sauce with the meat juices – rather than having cooked chicken floating about in a creamy concoction.
How to cook a pork stroganoff?
Just like any creamy casserole, only quicker. The key to excellent flavour is dried wild mushrooms, porcini (ceps) as a preference. No fresh mushrooms will make a sauce so richly rewarding in taste. Dried mushrooms need to soak in hot water for at least half an hour, before they are used.
The meat needs to be cut into chunky matchsticks and seared in the pan quickly. I needn’t be cooked perfectly through as it will continue cooking in the sauce when returned to the pan. For the moment, it goes onto a plate to wait its turn.
Now it’s the mushrooms’ turn to be rehydrated: you can use the same pan to briefly cook drained porcini with a little butter. The soaking liquid will be added in gradually, to be absorbed by – now plumper and plumper – mushrooms.
I add a little flour to the cream before mixing it into the pan, to thicken the sauce. After a minute or two of gentle cooking the meat goes back to the pan with any juices it released. Let it simmer a while to let the flavours amalgamate and mature, and it’s ready, bar a sprinkling of parsley.
More pork recipes
Pork fillet cooked twice, served with mushroom sauce (again). Pork tenderloin is seared whole then browned again in slices; simple and brilliant.
You’d think pork gyros was another street dish impossible to replicate at home but no – perfectly doable in the oven, just watch it because it’s a blink of an eye between crisp and burnt.
It’s not all about fried chicken: buttermilk fried pork is gorgeous. Slices of tender pork fillet marinated in buttermilk become even tenderer, dipped in a cornmeal coating and fried in not a lot of oil.