Tue, 12 March, 2019
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’.
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. I’m shooting myself in the foot here again? Beef fillet – how much more special does it get?
It doesn’t as its price testifies. Beef fillet costs between forty and FIFTY pounds in England and we are talking about ordinary, even if free range Aberdeen Angus rather than wagyu (ten times as much). 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.
All of the above is the reason why I’m proposing pork stroganoff. Pork fillet, or tenderloin, costs about £11-15 even if 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 making the proper stroganoff sauce with the meat juices – rather than having cooked chicken floating about in a creamy concoction.
pork stroganoffServings: 4Time: 30 minutes
- 500g (just over 1 pound) pork tenderloin, trimmed
- salt and black pepper
- 30g dried porcini mushrooms
- 1 tbsp.oil
- 1 tsp butter
- 120ml (½ cup) double cream
- 1 tsp corn flour
- 1 heaped tsp wholegrain mustard
- ½ bunch flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1. Slice the tenderloin into strips about 1 cm thick and 4cm long. Season generously with salt and pepper and set aside.
2. Soak the dried mushrooms in boiling water for at least 10 minutes. Drain, reserve the soaking liquid, and roughly chop the mushrooms.
3. Heat the oil in a large skillet or a deep frying pan over high heat. Add the pork and sear it briefly on all sides; so the pieces are browned on the outside but not much cooked inside. Transfer to a plate.
4. Add the butter and the mushrooms to the same pan; season with salt and lots of black pepper. Stir and gradually add the soaking liquid; let it absorb before you pour in more. Do it in three or four goes.
5. Mix the corn flour and mustard with the cream in a cup. When the last of the mushroom liquid has cooked off, turn down the heat and add the cream mix; stir, bring to a simmer and add half the chopped parsley.
6. Cook the sauce for a few minutes, adding some water if it’s too thick or cooking down a bit longer if it’s very runny. Return the meat to the pan and simmer for a minute or two to heat it up.
7. Serve, sprinkled with the remaining parsley, over gnocchi, pasta or noodles.