Beef Stroganoff or Beef Stroganov (UK: /ˈstrɒɡənɒf/, US: /ˈstrɔːɡənɔːf, ˈstroʊɡ-/; Russian: бефстро́ганов, romanized: befstróganov, IPA: [bʲɪfˈstroɡənəf]) is originally a Russian dish of sautéed pieces of beef served in a sauce of mustard and smetana (sour cream). From its origins in mid-19th-century Russia, it has become popular around the world, with considerable variation from the original recipe. Mushrooms are common in many variants.
The dish is named after one of the members of the influential Stroganov family. A legend attributes its invention to French chefs working for the family, but several researchers point out that the recipe is a refined version of older Russian dishes.
Recipe from A Gift to Young Housewives (1887 edition)
Elena Molokhovets’s classic Russian cookbook A Gift to Young Housewives gives the first known recipe for Govjadina po-strogonovski, s gorchitseju, “Beef à la Stroganov, with mustard”, in its 1871 edition. The recipe involves beef cubes (not strips) prepared in a dry marinade of salt and allspice and then sautéed in butter. The sauce is a simple roux mixed with prepared mustard and broth and finished with a small amount of sour cream: no onions, no mushrooms and no alcohol.
In 1891, the French chef Charles Brière, who was working in Saint Petersburg, submitted a recipe for beef Stroganoff to a competition sponsored by the French magazine L’Art culinaire. This led Larousse Gastronomique to assume that he was the inventor of this dish, but both the recipe and the name existed before then.
Another recipe, this one from 1909, adds onions and tomato sauce and serves it with crisp potato straws, which are considered the traditional side dish for beef Stroganoff in Russia. The version given in the 1938 Larousse Gastronomique includes beef strips, and onions, with either mustard or tomato paste optional.
After the fall of Tsarist Russia, the recipe was popularly served in the hotels and restaurants of China before the start of World War II. Russian and Chinese immigrants, as well as US servicemen stationed in pre-Communist China, brought several variants of the dish to the United States, which may account for its popularity during the 1950s. It came to Hong Kong in the late fifties, with Russian restaurants and hotels serving the dish with rice but not sour cream.
In the 1960s United States, several manufacturers introduced dehydrated beef stroganoff mixes, which were mixed with cooked beef and sour cream. It was also available freeze-dried for campers.