Beef Stroganoff

Beef Stroganoff is a dish of Russian origin, most likely named after the Stroganov family, whose last member died in 1923. Members of the Stroganov family were some of the most successful merchants and businessmen in the Russian empire from the 16th to 20th centuries (think of them as enduringly popular Kardashians, albeit with a bit less drama). It’s hard to say how long this dish has been around, but the most popular Russian cookbook from the early 20th century, A Gift to Young Housewives (Подарок Молодым Хозяйкам), contains one of the oldest recorded recipes in its 1907 printing.

This is a dish I first tackled nearly four years ago, but my old version never sat well with me – the sauce was too thin, and used a bit too much sour cream. So I set off to redevelop the recipe by keeping it fairly close to the original (putting my Russian translation skills to the test, see my notes below the recipe); at the same time, I kept the modern American interpretation of the dish in mind, which uses wine, mushrooms, and onions (in my case, shallots) to add some complexity to the dish.

A stainless steel or cast iron skillet will work better than non-stick for this recipe; you want a develop a nice crust at the bottom of the skillet while browning the steak, as pictured above, which will be incorporated into the gravy once you add some liquid to the pan.

Beef Stroganoff (Gluten-free, Paleo, Primal, Perfect Health Diet friendly)

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 20 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

1 lb strip steak, trimmed of excess fat, sliced
salt and black pepper to taste
2 tbsp rice flour, divided (cassava flour or coconut flour okay, see note below)
3 tbsp ghee or butter, divided
1 shallot, diced
8oz white mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp ground mustard
1 pinch ground allspice
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 cup beef broth
1 tbsp sour cream (coconut cream okay)
chopped parsley to garnish

1. Pat the steak strips dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper and toss with 1 tbsp of the flour to give the pieces a light dusting.

2. Heat 2 tbsp of the ghee in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering, about 2 minutes. Add the steak and pan-fry, in batches to avoid overcrowding the skillet, until each side develops a nice crust, about 2 minutes per side. Set the steak aside.

3. Reduce heat to medium, then add the remaining 1 tbsp of ghee and the shallots. Saute until softened and translucent, about 3 minutes, stirring often. Add the mushrooms and saute until they start to release their liquid, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until aromatic, about 30 seconds.

4. Add the ground mustard, ground allspice, and the remaining 1 tbsp of flour to the mixture, then toss until evenly distributed and aromatic, about 1 minute. Add the white wine and broth; stir and simmer until it starts to thicken, about 1 minute, then add the steak and any accumulated juices. Simmer until the steak is warmed and the sauce is about as thick as gravy, about 1 minute.

5. Remove from the heat and stir in the sour cream. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed, then garnish with chopped parsley and serve. Some folks serve it with rice, while others, especially in the US, serve it with egg noodles.

** A note on flours: I typically use rice flour to thicken my sauces, because I feel that it best mimics the texture of a wheat flour roux. For those who avoid rice (it’s a contested ingredient in the Paleo community), cassava flour or coconut flour will work fine. For the photos in this recipe, I used Otto’s cassava flour, which thickened nicely but has a gummier consistency than rice flour. Likewise, coconut flour is usually a bit grittier than rice flour, and will sometimes tend to clump (but won’t be gummy).

** If using butter instead of ghee, be sure to watch the butter so it doesn’t burn while browning the steak, and adjust the heat as needed; there is a fine line between delicious browned butter and bitter burnt butter. One option would be to mix the butter with an oil like olive oil or coconut oil when browning to prevent the milk solids from burning. Ghee doesn’t contain milk solids, so there is no danger of it burning.


image courtesy of Wikipedia

Above is the original recipe, from 1907. It’s so old that it uses the pre-revolution Russian script (modern Russian was standardized in 1917). Beef Stroganoff has been modestly altered over the past 108 years; this original ingredients list includes cubed beef, allspice, butter, salt, pepper, flour, sour cream, mustard, and tomato paste.

47 thoughts on “Beef Stroganoff

  1. I so love Beef Stroganoff I’ve a similar recipe on my blog using scotch fillet or tenderloin steak and a lot more sour cream – being paleo with cream ;)

    I am certainly going to try your recipe with the addition of wine and broth.

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    1. Hi Astrid, good question. Arrowroot powder (which is the same thing as arrowroot flour / starch) won’t work in the same context as this recipe, because the powder is basically dehydrated starch, like potato starch and tapioca starch. Rice flour, cassava flour, and coconut flour all have the fiber incorporated into the powder, which allows it to expand like wheat flour when toasted before adding the liquid, like in this recipe (and traditional rouxs).

      Starches are generally combined with cold water to form a slurry, which is then poured into the hot liquid to thicken, but will have a gummy texture and sheen to it (like the coating on Sweet and Sour Chicken). So arrowroot starch, just like tapioca starch and potato starch, will be even gummier than using cassava, rice, or coconut flours, which is good in some contexts (like Asian sauces/glazes) but not necessarily for a Western-style gravy. Hope that makes sense!

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  2. Love how you incorporate healing broth into so many of your recipes – we don’t always have to have soup this way!

    I have now made so many of your recipes from Paleo Takeout that my husband repeats like a robot -“Is that another recipe from that book?” Then I say yep and he says, “Another keeper”!

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  3. If we choose to use coconut cream, how would you best recommend getting that sour bite back into this so that it would mimic sour cream better? Would a vinegar addition of some sort be best? My son and I have severe food allergies – with dairy, rice and gluten included – so I’m anxious to try this with your amendments! It looks delicious!

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  4. Made a double batch to ensure we had leftover. Served with rice and home-made sour kraut. Definitaly putting this in the rotation.

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  5. I made this tonight and the sauce didn’t turn out thick like a gravy. I can’t figure what I did wrong. I even used the same brand of rice flour that you linked :/

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    1. Jade, sorry to hear that, in my experience it’s always thickened well when using this technique. The only suggestion I can make is to toast the rice for a bit longer before adding the liquid in step 4. Hopefully it still tasted pretty good!

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  6. I have beef heart thawing and am on the hunt for a good recipe…. Any thoughts on using heart instead of steak? Am thinking it could amp up the ‘beefiness’ in a good way, but concerned that heart may be too tough. What think?

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  7. How do you think ground mustard would work in this recipe? BTW……made the general tso chicken from paleo takeout last night and it was AWESOME!!!!!!

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  8. It looks so good! My mom used to make it when I was a kid and we always ate it with roasted potatoes. It was a surprise for me to find out that here, in US, people eat it with noodles. I will be making it next week! Thank you for wonderful recipes. :)

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  9. Yumm! Just made this and as I was out of broth, I added a scoch more wine and sour cream. It definitely was a hit . I hadn’t used mustard or allspice before, as I was taught to use nutmeg, salt and pepper as a child. Thanks, Russ. I’ll be making this again. I appreciate that it uses just a modest amount of dairy.

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