Wednesday, December 7, 2011

(Dreaming Of) A Tree Trimming Party...Beef Stroganoff

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I don't know why I am writing a post about a tree trimming party that is so off the charts it's not even funny.  We have a tree, bought this weekend from our friends at the Kinsley Family Farm, and we certainly have enough friends to invite to a party.  I just don't have the energy nor the enthusiasm at this point to think of such an event, particularly when my mother is arriving in less than two weeks! She calls every day to find out how the move is going when I know, deep down, that what she really wants to know is if I'm completely unpacked!   What is it about mothers that can put the fear of God in daughters of any age?! Lordy be, I am a mother and a grandmother and still,  just the thought of Mother coming over to a disorganized house is enough to send shivers up my spine.  So I unpack boxes and more boxes and dream of a party that will never be.

A tree trimming party is the perfect excuse for a holiday get together.  Not only will you be paying back all those invitations, but you will be also getting ornaments for your tree...for free!  Talk about killing two birds with one stone...

A classic of the 1950's,  Beef Stroganoff is the perfect recipe for a holiday buffet where you want guests to drop in and share in the fun of helping to decorate (and finance!) your tree.  If you still have a silver chafing dish buried somewhere in the attic, this is the time to bring it out.  It is something that is easy to prepare and can be made early in the morning and heated in the chafing dish or on top of the stove.  Just be careful warming it up or the meat will overcook. Now if only I could find mine....

Sterling Chafing Dish - Tiffany's

I would serve a  simple green salad afterwards with some fantastic cheeses (Stilton a must!)  and nuts.  Follow with homemade Christmas cookies for dessert. A nice Burgundy would go rather well with this menu.


1 2 1/2-pound piece beef tenderloin, well trimmed, meat cut into 2x1x1/2 inch strips
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter 
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
1 pound small button mushrooms, thickly sliced*
1 cup canned beef broth
2 tablespoons Cognac 
3/4 cup sour cream 
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill

12 ounces wide egg noodles 
1 tablespoon paprika


Pat meat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat oil in heavy large skillet over high heat until very hot. Working in batches, add meat in single layer and cook just until brown on outside, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to rimmed baking sheet.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add chopped shallots and sauté until tender, scraping up browned bits, about 2 minutes. Add button mushrooms. Sprinkle with pepper and sauté until liquid evaporates, about 12 minutes.

Add beef broth, then Cognac. Simmer until liquid thickens and just coats mushrooms, about 14 minutes.

Stir in sour cream and Dijon mustard. Add meat and any accumulated juices from baking sheet.

Simmer over medium-low heat until meat is heated through but still medium-rare, about 2 minutes.

Stir in chopped dill. Season to taste with salt and pepper
Meanwhile, cook noodles in large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain.

Transfer to bowl. Add remaining 4 tablespoons butter and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper.

Divide noodles among plates or transfer to chafing dish. Top with beef and sauce. Sprinkle generously with paprika

*I use a mixture of wild mushrooms

Adapted from Gourmet Magazine
Images Getty (top) and Google


  1. i've been making this for years via and it's always a hit! my secret ingredient? not so secret, since it has been suggested by another epicurious reviewer...add an equal amount of pinot noir (or any dry red wine) with the beef broth. it will double the amount of time it takes to reduce the broth...but soooo worth it! love your blog...all the way from australia.

  2. Keep dreaming! Sounds wonderful and reminds me of the beef stroganoff my mom would make in the 50's!! Such a treat... Chafing dish may pose a problem, but we sure had one three, too! Good luck with the unpacking. Your mom will be so happy to see YOU and the grand kids and great-grandchildren!!! Merry Christmas!

    Laura & Snowy

  3. I love your illustration -such control, elegance, calm. Life is full of contrasts. Something tells me you'll have things all pulled together in 2 weeks.

  4. This reminded me that this is a great dinner classic that I've not made in "forever" -- Thanks --

  5. I was thinking about a Beef
    Stroganoff when the weather changed!!
    I'm going to say your Mom will not mind a few boxes etc if she knew you didn't stress before her visit.. but like you I would be cleaning up a storm behind the cleaning people if my mom was arriving.
    Have a wonderful visit with her and fabulous Holidays.

  6. You know, m'dear, I have always wanted to learn to make a good Strogie, and now you've given it to me! Last year's Christmas was made perfection with your crown roast and yorkshire pudding recipe, the ten pounds of which I gained from I'm STILL carrying loe these many months later. . .


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