Growing up, my mom did most of the cooking. On the rare occasion that she didn’t, and my step-father cooked, which meant we were in for one of 2 meals: meatloaf or beef stroganoff. I can’t say that either dish was mind-blowing, but I do remember him fishing out a tattered yellowing 3 x 5″ recipe out of a metallic green box, and the anticipation as the smell of cooking onions and mushrooms wafted out of the kitchen. Since leaving the house, I often find myself craving both dishes… like today.
I never did ask for the recipe, but after years of experimenting, I’ve come up with something that sates my cravings, and is a bit healthier to boot. This version uses chicken instead of beef, olive oil instead of butter and yogurt instead of sour cream. I find that the mushrooms give it a nice meaty flavor without the beef, but if you’re in the mood for beef, by all means, substitute away (hint: I’ve found that quickly seared strips of fillet mignon work the best). I’ve also cut out a step of making a roux by dusting the chicken in flour first.
4-5 skinless boneless chicken thighs washed, dried, trimmed of excess fat and cut into bite size pieces
sweet hungarian paprika
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbs flour for dusting
1/2 medium onion diced
8 oz. mushrooms cleaned and sliced
1/4 C vermouth or sherry
1/2 C chicken stock
1 Tsp tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1/4 C plain yogurt
salt and pepper to taste
chopped parsley (optional)
Prep the chicken then sprinkle with salt, pepper and a generous amount of paprika. Dust with flour.
Get a heavy bottomed stainless steal saute pan hot over medium high heat then add some olive oil. Use tongs to place a layer of chicken down (you might need to do in two batches). And allow the chicken to brown before attempting to turn over (this makes some great fond and prevents the chicken from sticking to the pan). Flip the chicken and brown on the second side before removing to a plate. Repeat with a second batch if necessary.
Add some more oil if needed then add the onions and mushrooms. Get these nice and brown tossing to make sure nothing gets burned.
Deglaze the pan with the vermouth then add the chicken stock, tomato paste, and bay leaf. Turn down the heat a bit and let the chicken cook, stirring to mix the coating on the chicken with the liquid to help it thicken.
Once the chicken is done and the sauce is nice and thick, turn down the heat to low and add the yogurt. Taste it and add some more salt and pepper if you like.
Finish with some chopped parsley and serve over egg noodles.