There are those who believe you shouldn’t tinker with ‘classic’ dishes like mushroom stroganoff, but I would like to remind these naysayers that mushroom stroganoff itself is a derivative of the original – beef stroganoff. However, strips of beef in a creamy sauce isn’t much use to a Jewish vegetarian (Jewish dietary laws prohibit consumption of meat and milk together). And the mushroom one just wasn’t interesting enough. I mean, I like mushrooms as much as the next person, but just mushrooms? No. My stroganoff needed added oomph. Just as well I had a bag of organic spinach.
I’ve never actually made a stroganoff before, but having been a vegetarian through the 1990s, when mushroom stroganoff was the default vegetarian option in restaurants that clearly felt they had to make some sort of gesture towards non-meat-eaters, I have eaten my fair share of them. They ranged from overly creamy but otherwise tasteless, to really quite spicy and not very saucy. I suspect that none of them were particularly authentic.
Mind you, neither is this version, if we’re being completely honest.
A little research suggests that the classic stroganoff sauce contains fried onions, paprika, and either cream, soured cream, or yogurt. I’ve included all of the above, and added a squeeze of lemon to blur the distinction between cream and the sour alternatives. The resulting sauce was very flavoursome, and creamy without being cloying.
DH was quite taken with it, as was Kipper. She’s been going through a non-mushroom-eating phase recently, but enthusiastically tucked into this. And while her cutlery skills often leave something to be desired, she showed just how deft she could be with a spoon, scooping up the rice and the lovely paprika-y sauce.
This made enough for two generous servings, or three small-normal sized ones. DH and I could have polished off the lot, but felt compelled to share it with Kipper 🙂
Serve with rice for a tasty family meal.
- 1 medium onion
- 20g butter
- 300g mushrooms
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 tsp paprika
- 100ml vegetable stock
- 250g spinach
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 75ml double cream
- Peel and slice the onions. Cook in the butter over a medium heat for 4-5 minutes until softened.
- Quarter the mushrooms and add to the pan with the crushed garlic and paprika. Stir and cook, covered, for a further 4-5 minutes.
- Wash and shred the spinach leaves. Add the stock and spinach to the pan and cover. Cook for a few minutes to allow the spinach to wilt, then stir into the vegetable mixture.
- Finally, add the lemon juice and cream, allow to heat through, and serve.