Home Food DigiBites: After A Week Demanding Comfort Food – Here’s One From Mum

DigiBites: After A Week Demanding Comfort Food – Here’s One From Mum

Photo: Epicurean Exchange

My mom passed away nearly 23 years ago, just as I was starting my culinary career. She saw me graduate from culinary school and observed the beginnings of my fledgling business. I know she would be happy with what I have created. I often kid publicly that my mom wasn’t the greatest cook – she had a repertoire of a dozen core recipes that she would rotate on a weekly basis – but we were well-fed and all of her children cook very well – maybe due to what she lacked in the kitchen!

Chef Charlie

This is one of the first dishes my mom ever taught me to make. This is my variation, but when I make it, it takes me back to fond memories of my mama. She had a solid repertoire and her white sauce was the “glue” that held many of her meals together. I love cooking with her on my shoulder!
Sautéed beef rib eye, sliced onions and crimini mushrooms in a vermouth – béchamel sauce.Served over wide egg noodles along side sautéed spinach and white corn (another of my mom’s contributions!)

Beef: I used rib eye steak, thinly sliced. This tender cut remains so with minimal cooking. You can also use other cuts of beef – New York, sirloin or even ground beef. Because the beef is only slightly cooked, and not marinated or tenderized with longer cooking, it’s best to use a better cut of beef so it is tender in the final dish.

Béchamel sauce. One of the 5 mother sauces of French cooking. The is a solid technique you will want to know and master and can be used for all your cream sauces, macaroni and cheese, etc. This will replace your Cream of Mushroom or Cream of Chicken Soup that is a common base for these types of dishes.
Give it a try…delicious!
– Chef Charlie and Mom!

Chef Charlie’s Beef Stroganoff

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 pound New York or Ribeye steak, thinly sliced across the grain

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

8 ounces brown crimini mushrooms, rinsed, trimmed and sliced

1/4 cup dry vermouth (or dry white wine)

3 cups prepared béchamel sauce (recipe below)

1/2 cup sour cream, or to taste

1/4 cup minced Italian parsley

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

8 ounces wide egg noodles, prepared according to package instructions

For the Béchamel Sauce (makes approximately 4 cups):

2 ounces butter

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

4 cups whole milk
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

To Make the Béchamel:
•     Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat until the butter is frothy. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the paste cooks and bubbles a bit, but don’t let it brown — about 2 minutes.
•     Add 1 cup of the milk and whisk to combine. The mixture will thicken rapidly, but continue to add the milk slowly until it is all incorporated. Continue to whisk until the sauce thickens. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside.

For the Stroganoff:

•     In a large, deep skillet or stockpot, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add 1/3 of the sliced beef, and brown on all sides, about 2 minutes. Remove the beef from the pan and repeat in 2 more batches.
•     Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the onion, and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and sauté until they begin to release their juices, 2 minutes more. Add the browned beef and stir to combine. Add the vermouth (or white wine), prepared béchamel sauce and sour cream. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer until the sauce has thickened, about 5 minutes.
•     Add the beef and the parsley; stir to incorporate, and simmer for 5 minutes more. Season to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

•     Serve over the prepared noodles.

Mom knows best…

Serves 4© 2002, Epicurean Exchange.  All rights reserved


  1. One can substitute 1 can of beef consume for white sauce. 2 tablespoons dry sherry for vermouth and add a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce for a heartier stroganoff.

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